The former Thomas Cook shop at 225-227 Lord Street in Southport. Photo by Andrew Brown Media

The former Thomas Cook travel agents shop in Southport town centre could be transformed into a new pub in a bid to “breathe new life into the street scene”. 

A planning application has been submitted to bring the site at 225-227 Lord Street Southport back into use, after it was one of more than 600 Thomas Cook outlets which were closed in 2019 when the company collapsed. The shop has been empty ever since. 

The scheme would see every unit in that row of shops on Lord Street filled. 

The applicant said: “Lord Street is becoming an area for leisure rather than retail and this proposal will create an appropriate addition to the Conservation Area.”

The four units with attached verandahs are believed to have been built between 1860 and 1890. The application has been submitted by McComb Property Company Ltd, and it is not known at this stage which business would operate the pub. 

The application includes the provision of outdoor seating. 

The scheme is being drawn up by RAL Architects in Southport

In their submission to Sefton Council they said: “This application is for the change of use of the ground floor premises at 225 Lord Street from Travel Agent / Bureau de change class E to Sui Generis drinking establishment. 

“The unit has proved difficult to let under use class E, an issue reflected in the significant number of empty retail units in Lord Street and throughout the town centre. 

“A tenant has been found for the site, but only for use as a drinking establishment. It is important that the building has a meaningful use and we are therefore applying for change of use to enable the unit to be occupied. 

“There is a general need to regenerate town centres and Southport and Lord Street is no exception. 

“Significant investment has been made to the entire building from 219-233 and it is essential that the unit is occupied as soon as possible to help breathe new life into the street scene in this central Lord Street location. 

“We consider the proposal is generally in accordance with the need for greater flexibility for changes of use to allow a gradual regeneration of town centres given the challenges in the retail sector.

“This area of Lord Street is at the centre of Southport’s night time economy, and is largely occupied by commercial property. Easy access to public transport make it an ideal location for a leisure facility, and as the intended hours of operation are 10am – 1am, this unit will have an active frontage for most of the day.

“The business will be run as a ‘wet bar’ and will not have a commercial kitchen. 

“The change of use will enable this site to be tenanted, and ensure that the entire block from 219 to 233 has an active frontage. 

“Lord Street is becoming an area for leisure rather than retail and this proposal will create an appropriate addition to the Conservation Area with a traditional timber panelled frontage.”


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