An artist's impression of The Enterprise Arcade on Eastbank Street in Southport

Proposals for a flourishing CreaTech sector in Southport have been revealed after a planning application was submitted for the new £1.5 million Southport Enterprise Arcade. 

The 15,000sq ft centre will be created inside Crown Buildings at 9-11 Eastbank Street in Southport town centre. 

The initiative will offer flexible and adaptable workspaces for digital, creative and tech business people to work together in a bright attractive environment, above Cambridge Arcade. 

The new space will be available to new start-ups and established businesses and will encourage social networking and collaborative working. 

The dramatic shift in the way people work, caused by the Covid pandemic, means that beautiful seaside towns like Southport now have a huge pull as attractive places to work over big, congested cities. 

The Southport Enterprise Arcade initiative will be led by Sefton Council and is one of the central ambitions of the Southport Town Deal initiative, which saw the town being awarded £38.5million in support from the Government. The Arcade will be operated by the Baltic Creative CIC. 

The Arcade will boast “a lively open-plan café space” on the ground floor with three new glazed shop fronts.

The first floor will host a single anchor office unit. 

The second floor will contain growing spaces designed to accommodate businesses with between 4-12 employees.

The third floor will be home to individual co-working spaces and start-up workspace for businesses with 1-2 employees. 

The spaces surrounding the offices are designed to encourage social interaction, networking, and collaboration between businesses.

Facilitating a variety of settings for this to happen will be lively open-plan kitchens, to quieter more secluded spaces for study or confidential one-to-one meetings. 

An artist's impression of Eastbank Street in Southport under the Les Transformations de Southport initiative. Funding is provided through Southport Town Deal

An artist’s impression of Eastbank Street in Southport under the Les Transformations de Southport initiative. Funding is provided through Southport Town Deal

Following a costing review, the scheme is viewed as the first of a two-phased development. 

The café space and office spaces will have a Category A fit out with the circulation spaces being Category B.

The plans have been drawn up by K2 Architects. In the planning application, they said: “The Enterprise Arcade Project proposes consolidating Southport’s CreaTech sector into a single destination, delivering the social and operational conditions required to create sustainable organic sector growth through a circular CreaTech economy. 

“The Project will offer flexible and adaptable workspaces for the CreaTech sector’s wide-ranging needs, wrapped in a variety of attractive social spaces that encourage social networking and collaborative working practices between its service users. 

“Enterprise Arcade will collaborate with The Atkinson’s cultural activities and social networks to nurture a community that delivers ideas, products, and services that celebrate the ethical values of local independent enterprise, social and creative engagement, health and wellbeing, and carbon-neutral behaviour. 

Crown Buildings on Eastbank Street in Southport

Crown Buildings on Eastbank Street in Southport

“In collaboration with local education providers, Enterprise Arcade will enable opportunities to broaden the local skills and education agenda, addressing the increasing need for vocational students to experience a live and safe working environment that showcases entrepreneurial achievement and inspires young people.”

The existing doors into Crown Buildings will be maintained as the main entrance to the office spaces at first to third floors and a link through to the retail units at ground floor will be incorporated into the existing stair core. 

Three new shopfronts to the ground floor retail units are proposed with an entrance door located within the middle ‘bay’. 

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