The new owners of Central 12 retail park in Southport are due to take control of the car park at the site from Sefton Council.
Being able to operate the 600-space car park, on Derby Road, would allow the owners to invest in its development “to make it more attractive to existing and new businesses and a more diverse customer base”.
Sefton Council currently operates the car park on a pay and display basis, in a similar way to the other car parks it runs across Sefton.
The move is part of a number of changes being led by new owners LCP, part of M Core, who bought Central 12 retail park in Southport in May last year in a deal believed to be worth £27 million.
Anchored by an ASDA superstore, the centre comprises 162,143 sq ft of open convenience retail, with retailers including Poundland, The Range, Boots and Next.
Last year, LCP welcomed discount retailer B&M as its first new tenant, creating 30 new jobs.
McDonald’s is also keen to open a new outlet at the park, with a planning application submitted to Sefton Council awaiting a decision.
LCP hopes that assuming control of the Central 12 car park will enable it to make the site more attractive to shoppers and tenants, although it has not yet revealed what changes it would make.
In a report, Sefton Council’s Assistant Director – Place (Highways and Public Protection) said: “Central 12 retail park currently has 13 units, several of which are empty, anchored by Asda superstore, and is served by a car park with 600 parking spaces.
“There is a 25-year agreement in place for Sefton Council to operate the Car Park, including, amongst other tasks, to: inspect vehicles and tickets; issue Penalty Charge Notice in respect of any parking contraventions, pursue payment of all valid Penalty Charges Notices; and manage and carry out minor repairs to parking ticket machines.
“In return the Council retains a proportion of all car park income and is responsible for setting and regularly reviewing parking charges, so that they preclude use by long stay commuter parking and are not materially different from the average charged by operators of comparable car parks.
“The agreement includes a Break Date at the end of March 2026, after which either party can terminate the Agreement, and it also sets out different Termination Fees payable, dependent upon whether the agreement is terminated by the Owner or Operator.
“The current Owner of the site has proposed early termination of the agreement, linked to plans to invest in the development to make it more attractive to existing and new businesses and a more diverse customer base.
“Officers are satisfied that this has merits and can be achieved in-line with the requirements of the Council’s Financial Procedure Rules (FPR) relating to early termination of income generating contracts.”
This would include:
No detriment financially and reflects current income being received.
That the annual sums are received at the same level and the timeline at least as what is being received under the contract
Any lump sum at the end of the contact period is based on current income levels and the timing is at least as currently set out within the existing agreement
Central 12 retail park was previously home to the Southport Steamport museum.
Speaking last year, Barry Flint, LCP Director and asset manager to the site, said:
“Central 12 is a busy retail park with a range of national brands and independent retailers, which has a real community feel to it.
“We’re renowned for our intensive asset management and the team is already on the ground, making several improvements, including updating the public realm.
“We’re speaking to new national retailers and local management about how we can continue to improve the shopping experience for visitors, and are committed to working with the local community to ensure that the park is a positive asset for the area.”