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

Southport BID has welcomed proposals to secure up to £50million funding for the town.

The BID has been part of the Southport Town Deal Board which has now submitted an ambitious plan to the Government to provide a new waterside events centre, all weather visitor attractions, new business incubators and a spectacular light show in the Marine Lake.

Lord Street, the town’s grand boulevard that inspired the Champs Elysees, would be restored to its former glory and a new events space created.

An immersive water, light and sound show experience is proposed on the Marine Lake.

The funding will kickstart a wider £400m investment in the town and bring 1,250 additional jobs to the area as a result of the initial projects.

Southport BID CEO Rachel Fitzgerald said: “We are delighted with the Southport Town Deal submission.

“We are keen to support any activity which encourages new businesses to come into town while also creating new jobs.

“We hope that these exciting plans will increase investor confidence in Southport, leading to the further development of our town centre and drive continuous business growth.

“This substantial new investment will provide vital support and attract greater spend for the existing businesses we already have here in our town.

“Creating a new Southport incubator in one of the vacant buildings in Southport town centre will help new businesses to develop.

“A larger Enterprise Store in one of Southport’s former department store buildings will provide scale-up accommodation for expanding businesses.

“Building work begins on Monday to transform Southport Market into a brand new food, drink and events hub, with money for that already having been secured through Southport Town Deal.

“All three of these initiatives will provide vital platforms for new businesses in Southport to start out and to grow.

“Southport is designed for living well and this bid supports that.”

One of the exciting elements of the Southport Town Deal bid is for a new waterside convention and events centre on the site of the Southport Theatre and Convention Centre, which closed in March as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The space would house a 1,200-seat auditorium, exhibition halls as well as a cafe and co-working space.

This state-of-the-art facility has been designed for flexible use and targeted at attracting new types of events such as esports to the North West region.

Rachel Fitzgerald said: “Southport Theatre and Convention Centre generated substantial trade and footfall for hotels, shops, restaurants, bars, suppliers, freelance workers such as singers, florists and DJs and other businesses in the Southport area before it closed earlier this year.

“The plans to create a new waterside events centre are really exciting. We want the new facility to be able to host events and attract millions of visitors not just on a weekend but throughout the week and throughout the year, bringing huge benefits to local businesses.

“We believe these Southport Town Deal proposals will help to further develop our town centre and drive continuous business growth.

“I urge the Government to give its backing to these plans so that work can begin as soon as possible.”

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