An artist's impression of the new Marine Lake Events Centre in Southport, first released on 20th May 2022

Scores of people have been sharing their views on proposals for how the new Marine Lake Events Centre and the accompanying Water and Light Show in Southport will look. 

Last week, four striking images of how the scheme may look were released by Sefton Council, ahead of a consultation which opens this Thursday (26th May). 

Over 10,500 people have already viewed the initial post on the plans on our Stand Up For Southport group, with nearly a hundred comments. 

People are clearly keen to engage and share their views over the project and so they should – this £75million project has the potential to attract nearly 500,000 visitors to Southport every year and to put our resort well and truly on the map with visitors from around the UK. 

The designs put forward earlier this month are different to those which were published last year, and people have been commenting on the differences – and the opportunities the new centre will provide Southport. 

Speaking on our Stand Up For Southport Facebook group, Christopher Weights said: “The revised design is somewhat more mainstream than the original. To me that’s disappointing as more radical architecture is far more interesting.

“I’m thinking about Sydney Opera House, Liver Building, Selfridge’s in Birmingham, Grand Central Birmingham. All of which were probably controversial at the time but memorable now.

“That aside I really hope this goes ahead soon so it doesn’t keep on just being mooted.

“Would like to have some more detail on the capacity of the conference facilities.”

How the new Marine Lake Events Centre venue in Southport could look

How the new Marine Lake Events Centre venue in Southport could look

Jane Sutton said: “I’d like more contemporary design as well… But I can already imagine the tidal waves of negative comments if it was too far from the mainstream.

“Loving the views over Marine Lake from the theatre… And the new pathway between the theatre and hotel.”

Stephen Hesketh is keen for environmental considerations to be taken into account. 

He said: “The new building should be future proof – high levels of insulation, solar panels (hope that’s what’s shown on the roof) to produce electricity and hot water, heat pumps for space heating.

“Excess electricity fed into the local grid… or used to create genuinely green hydrogen by electrolysing water from the Marine Lake and using it to power hydrogen buses the City Region is already investing in. A low input eco-building would encourage interest, innovation and hopefully local expertise that could then be rolled out creating sustainable jobs in the local community and economy.

“An additional comment I should like to make is that I did like the previous design idea of those five shelters / pods sticking out into the Marine Lake.

“They would be great places to enjoy a coffee, glass of wine, watch the sun go down etc. 

An artist's impression of the new Marine Lake Events Centre in Southport, first released on 20th May 2022

An artist’s impression of the new Marine Lake Events Centre in Southport, first released on 20th May 2022

“A massive issue with virtually everything on the seaward side of the lake is that the buildings face the wrong damned way. I know of no other seaside (OK, coastal) resort here or abroad that turns its back on the sea and late afternoon / setting sun in the way Southport / Sefton planners and private developers have. A failure to understand what people enjoy and what would be likely commercial attractions!”

Gil Brady said: “So what happened to the walkway and island that was going to be built out into Marine Lake? I liked the designs for that.”

Debbie Johnson said: “I’m just happy to see investment in Southport … beautiful town, been allowed to lose some of its sparkle let’s get it back.

Not everyone is a fan of the latest design, and are keen to see changes made. 

Chris Cockwill said: “Not immediately inspired by that. Reminds me of Preston Bus Station. We can do better than this.”

Denise Roney said: “New Theatre’ be modernised, adapted etc. It’s a fine building (apart from the huge concrete area at the front).

“We have attended many shows there in the theatre…. plus the Floral Hall can never be replaced, stunning art deco design, parquet flooring, stunning chandeliers etc. Most new structures of today do not stand the test of time – ie the newly refurbished Southport Pier!” 

Chris McGlyn said: “Unless the capacity is at least 2,000 and the staging area is big enough to put on big shows, it will be pointless.” 

The local community will shortly be invited to share their views on exciting plans for the new, state-of-the-art theatre and entertainment space and a flexible conference and business events venue and water and light show attraction, which are anticipated to greatly boost our town’s economic and tourism sectors.

The ambition is for the new centre to be open in 2025, although that would be subject to planning permissions and other factors.

An artist's impression of the new Marine Lake Events Centre in Southport, first released on 20th May 2022

An artist’s impression of the new Marine Lake Events Centre in Southport, first released on 20th May 2022

The Marine Lake Events Centre is the central ambition of the Southport Town Deal initiative, which saw £38.5million Government investment last year followed by further funding through the Liverpool City Region. The Town Deal projects are being delivered by Sefton Council. 

Consultation events are being held at Southport Market in the coming weeks and a live webinar will take place to provide more information on the plans, which will be revealed when the consultation begins on Thursday 26th May.

When the consultation goes live, communities will be encouraged to have their say via an online survey at https://yourseftonyoursay.sefton.gov.uk/futuresouthport.

The consultation runs until 10th June. 

The MLEC will replace the former Southport Theatre and Convention Centre which closed its doors in 2020. 

The new development will provide a first class theatre space, a conference and exhibition centre able to accommodate a range of events, and a café and signature restaurant, providing facilities for both visitors and the community alike.

The plans also include a new Water and Light show installation on the Marine Lake.

Consultation events are being held at Southport Market on Friday 27th May between 11am and 6pm, and Saturday 28th  May between 11am and 3pm. 

A live webinar will also be held at 6pm on Thursday 26th May. You can register to attend the webinar in advance at https://yourseftonyoursay.sefton.gov.uk/futuresouthport.

A public telephone line has also been set up via 0808 168 8296. This is a freephone consultation hotline where people can call to speak to a member of the project team and ask any questions, as well as share any feedback. 

Do you have a story for Stand Up For Southport? Please message Andrew Brown via Facebook here or email me at: mediaandrewbrown@gmail.com

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