An artist's impression of how Southport Cove could look. Design by Leonard Design

Initial plans for a £75m ‘world class’ surf lagoon, leisure beach and four star hotel in Southport have been delivered to Sefton Council. 

The owners of Southport Cove have submitted their pre-application to the local authority’s Planning Department announcing their ambition to transform Princes Park, the grassed area which sits surrounded by Ocean Plaza, Southport Beach, Southport Pleasureland and Marine Lake. 

The new facility could be open as early as 2025. 

Discussions will now take place between the developers and the council before a more detailed, full planning application is submitted. 

Southport Cove co-founders Tony Howard and Tamlyn Stone told Liverpool Business News that the new attraction will bring “health and wellbeing coupled with active fun, all year round”. 

Southport Cove would include: 

  • A ‘world class’ surf lagoon 
  • Four storey hotel 
  • A relaxing ‘thermal journey’ through pools of water, including steam rooms, saunas, Turkish baths, and a heated outdoor relaxation pool
  • Healthy food offerings

The indoor and outdoor facilities will wrap around the south-facing lagoon to provide shelter from the sea winds, also echoing the amphitheatre shape of the former Southport Sea Bathing Lake which stood nearby until it was demolished in the 1990s. 

The terrace and main public space would be above the height of Southport Sea Wall, and glass facades would offer panoramic views of the coastline in one direction, and of the lake and the lagoon in the other. 

A team of experts working to progress the scheme include architects Leonard Design, construction consultants WWA and wave providers Whitewater West.

The project will be private sector funded and discussions with investors are well advanced. 

The full planning process could take a year followed by a construction period of a further two years. 

Tony Howard said: “If all agreements are in place, the resort could be open as soon as 2025.

“The waterfront has so much potential, but I believe it requires ambitious, modern-day attractions and experiences to appeal to a broader audience from all parts of the UK and perhaps beyond.

“Our concept aligns with the town’s heritage, but it is reimagined in a very modern way. 

“In 2019 the town attracted an impressive 9m visitors, of which most were day-trippers. More reasons to stay for longer are needed, and The Cove can help drive that.”

Tony is determined that The Cove doesn’t just become an isolated attraction. He wants it to be part of the town and community, widely available to local residents to enjoy the physical and mental health benefits. Free time slots in the lagoon will be allocated for local schools and other groups.

He said: “There is so much to offer in Southport and along our coastline – golf, kitesurfing, cycling, paddle-boarding, the amusement park, sand dunes, pinewoods, and the splendour of Lord Street, to name but a few.

“Southport is an incredible experiential destination, one which The Cove wishes to enhance and promote widely.”

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