Sefton Council insists that “Southport Theatre and Convention Centre is “central to the town’s offer” and “remains an important part of our plans” after the company which operated the venue went into liquidation yesterday.
The local authority said it is continually reviewing plans for the reopening and long-term future of the STCC, including the welfare of staff at the centre.
Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills said:
“Southport has a vibrant economy and of course we understand and appreciate the impact that Covid-19 / Coronavirus has had on many of the town’s businesses, including Southport Theatre and Convention Centre.
“For now, the venue remains closed, however we at Sefton Council, despite the current constraints, are continually reviewing plans for the reopening, and for the long-term future of this important venue and project, including the welfare of staff at the centre.”
Bliss Space (Southport) Ltd, the company brought in to run the Southport Theatre and Convention Centre (STCC) on a caretaker basis, has been placed into liquidation.
The firm had completed two years of its three-year lease but could not continue after the coronavirus outbreak devastated its income and its prospects for reopening before the end of the lease period.
Sefton Council appointed Bliss Space (Southport) to operate the centre on its behalf in April 2018, while discussions took place on the long-term future of the venue.
However, as a direct result of the impacts of Covid-19 the company has been placed into liquidation. Bliss Space (Southport) will now begin consultation with its affected staff.
Bliss Investment Partners continues to trade and is firmly committed to the ongoing redevelopment and regeneration of Bliss Hotel and the Waterfront area of Southport.
Sefton Council will now review all available options for the future of this important venue.
In March, the council appointed IPW to appraise long-term investment and redevelopment options for Southport Theatre and Convention Centre.
IPW is now working with Sefton Council to undertake feasibility studies into the future redevelopment of the STCC.
IPW is a specialist sport, venues, entertainment and business events consultancy and has an international profile working on the development of multi-use venues.
STCC, which was officially opened by Hollywood star Marlene Dietrich in May 1973, is already one of the UK’s largest integrated conference centres offering 14 flexible event spaces suitable for a variety of events, including a 1,631-seat theatre auditorium.
In the meantime, once coronavirus lockdown restrictions are eased, people will be able to continue to enjoy visiting the theatres, museum, library and art galleries at The Atkinson on Lord Street, which was reopened in May 2013 following a £20million transformation. Many excellent productions are also staged at The Little Theatre on Hoghton Street.
After ATG left in 2018, Sefton Council investigations into the condition of the building revealed a need for urgent repairs costing £1.2million.
Cllr Marion Atkinson said: “We will review any maintenance and improvements that are needed to the centre whilst it remains closed to ensure its long-term, sustainable future.
“Sefton Council has continued to work closely and proactively with many partners on recovery plans for Southport, and there are still many exciting opportunities for the town in the future.
“Southport Theatre and Convention Centre is central to the town’s offer and remains an important part of our plans for the town.
“If any business in Southport needs help, support, advice or guidance we urge you to speak to our team at Invest Sefton at www.investsefton.com or our partners at Southport BID at www.southportbid.com to get up to date information.”
Stephen Katz of David Rubin and Partners has been appointed and consultation will now begin with all affected staff. A dedicated contact email has been established:
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