Photo by Nicola Kenyon
Building work has begun on converting the former Peacocks store at 59 Chapel Street in Southport town centre into the new Waterstones bookshop.
No date has yet been given for when the new 5,614 sq ft store will open as it moves from its current site on the corner of Lord Street and Nevill Street, although the current site is due to close in the middle of this month.
But a team of builders were busy on site this morning beginning a new chapter for Waterstones, in a building directly opposite Southport Railway Station and between River Island and Hays Travel.
The current building is due for a £1million transformation into a brand new Lounge restaurant, operated by Loungers UK.
It represents further investment in Chapel Street, with another empty unit filled, as the road enjoys a renaissance.
Building work on the upper floors of the former BHS department store, which was vacant for six and a half years, will begin this September. The work will see the creation of 30 new apart hotel rooms and a rooftop terrace, with a cafe, a pub and new retail units on the ground floor.
The former HMV store further down Chapel Street is currently being converted into a new Barnardo’s charity shop.
Sefton Council has committed £400,000 into revamping Cambridge Arcade.
Last year saw the opening of new businesses including One Below, The Fragrance Store and Hugo Lounge.
A Waterstones spokesperson said: “We are delighted to confirm that we have found a great new home for our Southport bookshop!
“The new bookshop will be located on nearby Chapel Street and offer a thoughtfully curated selection of books and gifts.
“The current Lord Street site will remain open until mid-August, and we plan to open the new shop thereafter.
“The bookselling team can’t wait to welcome their customers into the beautiful new bookshop.”
In June, Loungers UK Ltd submitted a planning application for the current Waterstones site with a £1million investment due to create 30 new jobs.
Waterstones says it is due to move after its landlord gave the firm intent to serve notice on its current location at 367 Lord Street.
However, the firm is committed to keeping a bookshop in the town.
In its planning statement, D2 Planning said: “Loungers UK Limited operates over 190 sites across the country through two brands, The Lounges and The Cosy Clubs.
““Each new site will generate in the region of 30 new jobs for the local community across a variety of roles – from leadership positions to front of house staff. These staff will also have available to them a very high standard of training with regards to health and safety, licensing etc which will help prepare them for other positions in the future.
“Based on current proposals, the conversion of this property will represent an investment cost of approximately £1million. Thus, not only do Lounges create jobs for their own business, they can assist in creating an employment draw for a much wider area, across both retail and hospitality.”
The landmark building on the corner of Lord Street and Nevill Street was constructed in 1925-7 and was designed by Palmer & Holden, in association with Finchett, Lancaster & Archer of London.