Crowds enjoy Southport Food and Drink Festival 2017 at Victoria Park. Photo by Nicole Verite

Plans have been revealed to expand the use of Victoria Park as the major outdoor events space for Southport and the wider Sefton area. 

The initiative to host more major events would involve the full closure of the park to the public for up to 108 days a year and its partial closure for 35 days in a calendar year. 

Last year, Sefton Council agreed a lease with Southport Pleasureland owner Norman Wallis that would allow for the expansion of the attraction onto land including Princes Park and the pitch and putt site.

The forthcoming loss of Princes Park as a public space has led to greater demand for events on nearby Victoria Park, which already hosts the likes of Southport Flower Show and The British Musical Fireworks Championships. Previous events there included Woodvale Rally, Southport Classic Car Show, Southport Charity Fun Fest and Southport Summer Classics. 

Victoria Park Management Company, which runs the park on behalf of Southport Flower Show, has submitted a planning application detailing its aims to Sefton Council. 

The scheme is being put together by Southport firm RAL Chartered Architects. 

They said: “Victoria Park is the major outdoor event space in Southport. It is known predominantly for being the venue of the renowned Southport Flower Show for over 90 years. 

“The park has been leased to Southport Flower Show, a registered charity, since 1986. The lease requires the company to maintain the park and this is undertaken to a very high standard with a full time Park Manager and part time Park Ranger. Since the lease has been in place the charity have invested heavily in improving and enhancing the facility. 

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“There has been investment in Victoria Park well into seven figures by the Charity.” 

The planned expansion of Southport Pleasureland means that there will be greater demand to Victoria Park to be used for events. 

The application says: “Events have been held in Princes Park in the past but this space is significantly smaller and located close to buildings such as Ocean Plaza and Pleasureland.

“Further investment is expected in Pleasureland and the former pitch and putt site for high quality leisure facilities which will further enclose and compromise Princes Park as an event space.

“This means that Victoria Park, with the infrastructure that is in place, is now the only realistic outdoor event space for Southport and the wider Sefton area.

 

Southport Flower Show is held every August at Victoria Park in Southport

Southport Flower Show is held every August at Victoria Park in Southport

“If approved this application will allow the demand on space for events in the town to be accommodated, albeit carefully selected. This helps with the wider marketing of Southport locally, regionally and nationally.

“It also limits such uses so that whenever an event is not being held the park will remain open for the public to enjoy.

“There are a number of events when only part of the park is required and in these circumstances the remaining areas of the park will remain open to the public.

“Although this proposal will restrict access to the park to the public for a number of days in the year the town is blessed with having significant areas of open space to enjoy. This includes the recently refurbished Kings Gardens, Princes Park and miles of beach. All of these are close to Victoria Park and offer realistic and appropriate alternatives.

“We hope this application is supported to allow the continued use and enhancement of Victoria park as a great place to be and a high quality event space.”

This park is operated by Victoria Park Management Company on behalf of Southport Flower Show. It is monitored 24 hours by CCTV and patrolled regularly by Park Rangers to ensure that visitors have a pleasant experience and to deter any anti-social behaviour. 

The next major event scheduled for Victoria Park in Southport Flower Show 2020, whose theme this year is ‘Life In Bloom’, on August 20-23. 

For more details visit: www.southportflowershow.co.uk

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