A Southport teenager has added his views to the debate over Southport’s future.
Owen Phillips, aged 15, is a Year 11 pupil at Meols Cop High School.
Hundreds of people have been giving their views on what they want to see happen to regenerate our town with £25million available under Southport Town Deal.
Today (Monday July 20) is the final day to submit your views, with the survey available at:
The Town Deal board is also putting together a long-term Southport masterplan, to guide future development here.
People of all ages have been submitting their views, with young people having the greatest stake in Southport’s future. Here is what Owen would like to see happen to his town:
Having read and seen numerous projects regarding the Southport regeneration project there are vast quantities of ideas from transport links to a high profile conference centre theatre, hotel complexes, eco centres, renewed railway stations, large buildings utilised as community hubs, using disused retail premises for domestic accommodation with offices and small retail units combined. The list of ideas is endless, some very good but some completely beyond the finance that will be available so therefore it is imperative that any grant made available to the council be spent wisely and sensibly for the benefit of the town as a whole.
Now let’s see what we can do bearing in mind we only have twenty five million pounds to spend.
Ainsdale to Southport Beach
Starting at Ainsdale the idea of an Eden type project where Ainsdale Lido is or was appears to be a nice idea then again very expensive so why don’t we utilise the old Sands public house building which would make a good base for an eco-centre with educational facilities as there is a wildlife lake surrounded by sand dunes and areas of special scientific interest the building could house a small local café, bar and craft ship facilities with educational facilities as there is already good access and parking.
The Old Toad Hall building and the four adjacent houses could be incorporated into the scheme, if private funding could be encouraged then a large Eden type project with large glass houses where the original Lido building stood.
The beach needs to be opened up much like it was in the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s and maybe even the ‘90s and not just fenced off with a large car park as it appears to be at the moment. From Ainsdale heading towards the Pier a cycle driveable track needs to be reinstated bearing in mind the excessive growth of greenery with parking pockets where visitors can stop and picnic. Children can play and also observe the environment they are in.
A proper walking and cycle way from The Sands lake through the sandhills to the Weld Road Beach entrance for hikers, walkers and cyclists to enjoy would be good. A reasonable area by the Weld Road beach entrance to be cleared creating enlarged parking facilities, this would also create an entrance to both the trekking and cycling path. Also an entrance to our newly created driveable track along the beach to Ainsdale.
After the initial cost of creating the facilities with appropriate charges to use the beach and our newly created driveable track and parking facilities with profit from café, bar and craft shops etc, this could very easily become self-funding going forward which has great value in itself.
Kew Station and Transport Links to Southport
To improve the town, it is vitally important that we can get people to come to the town. Southport’s success was built on good transport links during Victorian times. With that in mind the reinstatement of the Burscough Curve Railway link is important for links to Preston, Manchester and Liverpool. I would like to see a new railway station where the disused park and ride which will be next to the proposed Sainsburys superstore also by Meols Cop Retail Park and Canning Road industrial area close to Meols Cop High School and one stop from Chapel Street. Private funding could be possible with help from the Beeching Reversal Fund even the railways themselves (Network Rail, Mersey Rail and Northern Rail etc).
Chapel Street Station
The railway building at the rear of the station is fine as it is only rail platforms. The concourse could just be tidied up. The large walls overlooking Chapel Street and London Street could be covered with neon signs like a Mini Times Square or Piccadilly Circus lighting up the town.
If you really want a transport hub then using some of the car park at the London Street side of the station for a bus terminal wouldn’t cost a lot.
Disused Retail Premises
Eg. BHS, Beales, Debenhams, Etc
Let’s turn the clock back. Large disused stores – I’m sure we can redevelop these using the upper floors for quality private apartments even privately owned not just rental and the lower floors for office space, retail, food, drink and small retail shops cafes and bars.
To attract good quality tenants we also need to provide good secure parking facilities.
Why not take the old Grand Casino building – restore the front and use it for retail? Demolish the rear of the building and install high quality carousel parking machines for both private and public use. Allocated parking for apartment tenants, this bringing life back into these parts of the Town, the same could be done for the other disused premises like BHS, Beales and even the former Southport Visiter building. Good quality parking for the benefit of the town can only be a good thing.
While on the subject of retail premises the current Southport Indoor Market needs affordable stalls. They must be cheap to rent so as to attract independent traders more in the style of the market environment. Even regular street markets could be encouraged along Market Street and King Street by the Market Building.
Leisure and Entertainment Facilities
The idea of new and larger current conference and hotel facilities with expanded theatre to dominate the waterfront seems, on the face of things, very nice. But at what cost?
Might it not be better to rejuvenate what we already have?
The current hotel complex with various retail, restaurant and bars, which is not very old, has never been properly utilised since its inception not many years ago.
It might be better to find a professional team to do something with what we have and spend any money wisely.
Skateboard parks have been mentioned which is fine if you can utilise the park to its maximum advantage by attracting national and international events and be sure the park will be used regularly more research needs to be carried out to ensure the park will be used indoor facilities seem to be more popular with competitions.
Allow more varied use of the Marine Lake. For many years people have wanted to see the lake used for more than just sailing, Maybe it would be good to allow other water sports to use the lake more often. Perhaps jet skis, water skiers and even powerboat racing.
All this to help the town diversify and create revenue from alternative sources.
Southport has been famous for its parks and open spaces so we must keep as many as possible and not let other interests encroach or take over any of our parkland.
Princes Park, Victoria park etc must be kept as open spaces to be used by the community for events, shows, parades and other community based ideas. Whilst you have to admire Mr Wallis and his endeavours to improve the town’s facilities the fairground itself and its appearance could be enhanced.
In conclusion there are lots of great ideas for Southport to improve the town and if the opportunity to receive twenty five million pounds to spend on improving our town I can only hope this money is very wisely spent on things that will last my lifetime and beyond and not some vanity ideas that won’t last or work for my wonderful home town, Southport.