Visitors will be encouraged to use sustainable travel when the new Marine Lake Events Centre, plus the Water and Light Show on the Marine Lake, open in Southport.
Car Parking at the new £75million facility, which will replace the former Southport Theatre and Convention Centre, will be 104 spaces below the usual planning requirements.
There will however be more spaces for disabled motorists, as well as the provision of a number of Electric Vehicle charging points, and 76 new spaces for bicycles.
The architects behind the scheme, AFL Architects (AFL), said that “These changes will encourage people to choose more sustainable modes of transport instead of a private car.”
The new Marine Lake Events Centre, plus the Water and Light Show, are being developed by Sefton Council, as the central scheme using Town deal funding from the Government.
The council recently submitted a formal planning application about the development, outlining its proposals.
The new MLEC is forecast to put Southport back on the map and support a number of local businesses in the town by attracting 515,000 additional visitors to the waterfront every year.
It would create 288 jobs, and boost Southport’s hotel and hospitality sector with nearly 60,000 overnight stays from conferences and events.
The new facility would utilise the existing theatre car park, although the spaces would be reconfigured.
A total of 143 surface car parking spaces are proposed as part of the MLEC development.
In the application, AFL Architects said: “The site is located in a highly sustainable location within Southport town centre and can be easily accessed on foot, by bicycle and by public transport.
“Excessive parking provision would encourage more people to use a private car which would be against the transport policies.
“Considering the relevant policies and current parking provision on site, the proposals do not propose an increase in parking provision on site.
“The existing car park access will be closed and a new access to the car park will be from the access road currently serving the Boat House / Lakeside Inn car park.
“The internal car park circulation will be amended to reflect the new access location.
“The number of disabled spaces within the car park will be increased from the current provision of 9 spaces to 15 spaces. The new spaces will be located near the Conference/ Exhibition Centre entrance.
“Additionally, there will be 5 new accessible enlarged bays for parents with a pram or elderly.
“Ten standard, two disabled and two enlarged parking spaces will be equipped with EV charging points. This equates to 9.9% of the available parking spaces at the adjacent car park. It has been assumed that 7kW “destination chargers” will be suitable for the venue.
“Dedicated spaces for motorcycles will not be provided as they can use standard spaces.”
As well as the sit car park, some parking provision is also proposed on the Promenade. The proposals include:
- One bus stop
- Two spaces for taxis in front of the theatre entrance
- Three spaces for disaabled users
- Drop-off / pick-up / short-term parking spaces for six vehicles
- Spaces for two coaches
- Existing standard parking spaces for six vehicles
AFL Architects said: “Whilst there will be a minor reduction in the number of standard spaces, 10 standard spaces will be newly equipped with EV chargers and there will be additional 10 spaces for disabled users (of which two will be equipped with EV chargers), five new enlarged bays (of which two equipped with an EV charger), five spaces for taxis, two for coaches and 76 new spaces for bicycles.
“These changes will encourage people to choose more sustainable modes of transport instead of a private car.
“As the parking provision on-site will be 104 spaces below the 2018 SPD (Supplementary Planning Document) requirements, parking provision in the local area that could be potentially used on days when the MLEC hosts large events has been reviewed.
In total, there are 791 spaces within 400m radius from the site and a further 2,880 spaces within 400m-800m distance. Additionally, there are two large park and rides hosting in excess of 1,500 spaces between them on Fairway and Esplanade. Both car parks currently charge £2 per vehicle which makes them an attractive, cheap alternative to car parks in the town centre.
“These park and ride facilities are approximately 15 minutes walk from the MLEC and a bus service there is also available.
“The proposed development is smaller than the existing STCC and only minor changes to the on-site car park are being proposed.
“These changes will help to ensure that the number of spaces for disabled users and EV will be fully met on-site and the on-site provision will be adequate.
“It is therefore considered that the parking provision will be sufficient.””