The brand new Marine lake Events Centre in Southport is being carefully designed to ensure that the new facility offers “world-class standards relating to inclusivity, accessibility, and wellbeing”.
Sefton Council and its partners have already consulted with local campaign group Southport Access for Everyone (SAFE) about the proposals, and will continue to do so.
New features in the £75million development will include:
- lift access to all public areas
- 12 permanent wheelchair spaces in the Auditorium
- a further 12 accessible seats
- accessible service counters
- enclosed space for storing and charging mobility aids such as mobility scooters
- quiet rooms with storage for sensory elements such as fidget toys and blankets
- Changing Places toilet
“Sefton Council and their project team are committed to creating an events and conferencing space which can be used by everyone and achieve world-class standards relating to inclusivity, accessibility, and wellbeing,” said AFL Architects, in a planning application which was submitted earlier this month.
“An initial consultation meeting was held with Southport Access for Everyone (SAFE) on 21 April 2022, where they provided constructive feedback on the proposals as part of the design process. The consultation with SAFE will continue as the design process develops.
“The proposed MLEC will provide a completed project that will provide accessibility to all elements of the development.
“Whilst the café /restaurant area is shell and core, consideration has been given to the subsequent fitting out of the completed building. The design of the proposed building is intended to provide a high level of flexibility in layout and use.
“The inclusion of lift access to all public areas will ensure access to all levels of the development.”
The detailed design of the Auditorium will be developed during Stage 3 design. At this stage, there is currently provision of 12 permanent wheelchair spaces, 6 at Lower Promenade and 6 at Promenade level (1% of the capacity).
A further 12 accessible removable seats have been identified on the back row of the upper terrace to achieve 2% of the total capacity.
Further detailing of the exhibition space will be provided during later design stages. When the design is developed, the exhibition space will have the capability to comply with accessibility guidance.
There is provision of a lift at the under-stage level to provide step-free access for staff and performers to the under-stage store and orchestra pit.
Service counters are proposed throughout MLEC, operating reception areas, box office, VIP bars, F&B and merchandise provision. These areas will be designed to meet accessibility guidance. This includes, but is not limited to, counters which incorporate a lowered section to enable a seated or standing user to communicate easily with staff and the provision of fixed hearing enhancement systems.
A secure enclosed space for storing and charging mobility aids such as mobility scooters will be provided.
Two quiet / sensory rooms with storage for sensory elements such as fidget toys and blankets will be provided within the control room area. There will be one room to serve the auditorium and one room for the exhibition space control rooms.
Both quiet rooms will offer stepped and step-free access to accommodate any audience members that may have access requirements.
A Changing Places Toilet (CPT) has been provided by both Theatre and exhibition entrance and will be publicly accessible to the wider Sefton community.