A brand new building is needed to replace Southport Theatre and Convention Centre because of “long-standing structural, mechanical and electrical issues” with the current venue.
The reasons behind proposals for a new ‘Marine Lake Events Centre’ have been revealed in the £50million Southport Town Deal proposals which were submitted to the Government on Friday.
Central to those plans is a brand new, 1,200-seater, first class events space which would create over 230 new jobs in the town plus an additional 160 in its construction.
A design report by consultants IPW suggests that a “make do and mend” approach would not be economically viable.
However Sefton Council says it is keen to restore and incorporate the iconic Floral Hall glass dome into the new design, while a proposed memory would capture the stories of the venue.
Here are some FAQs about the new Marine Lake Events Centre in Southport with responses from Sefton Council.
Read More: Revealed: How new Southport Marine Lake Events Centre to replace Southport Theatre could look
Options appraisal and the work to date
Sefton Council commissioned a sector-leading team in IPW and HOK early in 2020 to evaluate options and provide recommendations on the venue and its future, following closure.
The building has long-standing structural, mechanical and electrical issues which pre-date this year’s closure by some time.
Moreover, the venue has experienced significant deterioration in revenues and in economic benefit to the town over the last decade.
It is clear to the subject matter experts, to Sefton Council and to the Southport Town Deal board, that a new building with a new proposition for customers is required.
The design report and outline business case developed both demonstrate that “make do and mend” will require continued investment over a prolonged period, and will not enable transformation of the offer to meet market demand.
The working title “Marine Lake Events Centre”
A new name for the venue would be determined in through further consultation and engagement with residents, and through discussions with potential funding partners
The new convention and events centre would drive increased visitor numbers, both day and staying, with an increased stay length strengthening the visitor economy. It would have a town-wide economic impact, and would be a major catalyst for further and adjacent development. It would support diversification of the economy by introducing new markets such as E-sports.
Consultation and engagement to date
The importance of conferences and events to Southport emerged strongly through the consultation process, with strong feedback from businesses and residents alike.
The importance of cultural experiences was also prominent in Town Deal consultation.
Consultation with under 18s also resulted in a strong preference for a flexible entertainment space that can hold E-sports events.
The Southport Town Deal board shared an overview of this proposal with Southport’s schools and colleges, and of more than 340 students, all aged 7-18, who responded to a short survey on the project, 78% gave the design and idea a score of 8 out of 10 or higher. The qualitative feedback also included huge emphasis on gaming and e-sports, accessibility for all ages, and suggested the working title of Marine Lake Events Centre.
Heritage and history
The pride and passion for the former Southport Theatre and Convention Centre is shared by all residents, and as the design develops further it will ensure that the venue continues to recognise the history and heritage of the building and of the people of Southport.
Proposals for further development include restoration and incorporation of the Floral Hall glass dome into the new design; the design of the atrium to reflect the structure of Southport Pier; and a proposed memory wall to capture the stories of the venue and of our residents.
Feedback on the Town Deal bid is expected in the New Year, but Sefton Council’s Cabinet processes will continue in respect of review and approval of options for the short- and long-term.
Further review and design development will include evaluation of options for construction sequencing to enable parts of the venue to remain open and operational throughout the build period. This includes continued review of options and opportunities for reopening in 2021, in advance of the new project, when it is safe and viable to do so.
Do you have a story for Stand Up For Southport? Please message Andrew Brown via Facebook here or email me at: email@example.com