The success of Southport Market was celebrated on Thursday as Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities Michael Gove enjoyed a tour of the venue and walked around chatting with local traders.
The Minister met with each of the stallholders to discuss their experiences of trading in this unique community space.
He chatted with Southport MP Damien Moore and senior Sefton Council officers Mark Catherall and Stuart Barnes about how successful the initial Town Deal funding has been, which schemes are coming next and what more Southport needs to be successful.
He enjoyed a white Twix shortbread and a creme egg brownie at Cake Corner, a business launched by 22-year-old entrepreneur Leanne Prescott, and purchased English chicken breast, seasoned and stuffed with cream cheese, from Blackhurst Butchers, which started trading at Southport Market in 1963, showing his commitment to Southport’s local businesses.
Also among those met by the Levelling Up Secretary and Damien Moore MP were a Ukrainian refugee couple, Anastasia Kozmina and Oleksiy Danko, whose Pasta 51 Express stall in the market has proved hugely successful with customers, where their pasta dishes continue to draw a large crowd.
Throughout, the Levelling Up Secretary took a particular interest in Southport’s unique cultural and heritage events, such as the Southport Flower Show in August.
Southport received £37.5 million through the Towns Fund, one of the largest Town Deal awards in the country and the largest direct investment Southport has seen in a generation.
The funding was lobbied for by Damien Moore MP, who has repeatedly supported Southport’s Town Deal in Parliament, and has continued to meet with Ministers and others to ensure its success.
£900,000 of advance funding from the Town Deal was put towards the regeneration of Southport Market, transforming it into an exciting new food, drink, and events venue with the transformation led by Sefton Council.
It was supported by £500,000 through the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.
More than ten thousand visitors enjoyed the selection of food and drink available within the first 48 hours of opening on Thursday 22nd July 2021.
Further proposed Town Deal projects include the Marine Lake Events Centre and Southport Enterprise Arcade.
Town Deal funding has already supported the Southport BID scheme to install 300,000 lights along both sides of the Lord Street boulevard.
Michael Gove said:
“I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Southport Market on Thursday. It was great to speak with such brilliant local businesses and to learn more about their experiences.
“As this is the first big instalment in a series of investments, I look forward to seeing how the Towns Fund will continue to drive Southport’s bright future.”
Damien Moore, local Member of Parliament for Southport, said:
“It was great to welcome the Levelling Up Secretary to Southport’s fantastic Market on Thursday morning, following my lobbying of the Government for the vital money that has enabled its regeneration. The Market attracts visitors from all over the North West and further afield, and its transformation has had a tangible impact on our local community.
“However, as I made clear to the Levelling Up Secretary, it is vital that Southport’s regional transport links are strengthened, particularly through the re-instigation of the Burscough Curves, in order to ensure the Market’s continued success.
“I look forward to meeting soon with the Levelling Up Secretary to discuss this, and of course to continue pushing for further investment, both public and private, into our wonderful town.”
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