Exciting plans to create 1,250 jobs for Southport with new events centre and high street transformation

The convention and events centre would replace the current Southport Theatre and Convention Centre, which closed due to the pandemic

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Exciting plans have been revealed for Southport that would create over 1,000 jobs with a large waterside events centre, business incubators and a transformation of its high street.

The £50m Southport Town Deal has been revealed in a bid to transform the fortunes of the popular coastal town, with plans also including all-weather visitor attractors and a light show at Marine Lake.

The plan has now been submitted to Government, and it’s hoped funding will kickstart a wider £400m investment in the town and bring 1,250 additional jobs to the area as a result of the initial projects.

The bid is part of the government’s Town Deals Fund, developed to ‘level up’ and drive the economic regeneration of towns across England.

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Rob Fletcher, chair of the town board, said: “Our plan has been informed by the biggest conversation that the town has ever had about its future. We’ve had 7,000 pieces of individual feedback from residents, business and visitors. 700 school children from the town have also put their ideas forward. Our plan is designed to provide opportunities for our current residents and future generations.”

The bid includes a new convention and events centre on the site of the Southport Theatre and Convention Centre, which closed earlier this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The space would house a 1,200-seat auditorium, exhibition halls as well as a cafe and co-working space. This “state-of-the-art” facility has been designed for flexible use and targeted at attracting new types of events such as esports to the North West region.

The plan also aims to regenerate the town centre and drive business growth.

Lord Street, the town’s ‘grand boulevard’ that inspired the Champs Elysees, would be restored and a new events space created.

A business incubator has also been proposed in one of Southport’s former shopping arcades – providing “much needed space for the town’s digital and creative businesses”.

A larger enterprise store would also be developed in a former department store building to provide scale-up accommodation for growing businesses.

As well as that, an immersive water, light and sound show experience is proposed on the Marine Lake. The existing Southport Pleasureland would also be transformed, partnering with a globally recognised brand to create a themed indoor attraction open to visitors all year round.

Dwayne Johnson, chief executive at Sefton Council, said: ” The Town Deal process has raised the profile of Southport with investors and we can already see the positive effect it is having.

“For example, Sefton Council has just announced an exclusivity agreement with GoSurf to create The Southport Cove Resort.

“This £40m privately financed investment will bring a unique surf wave pool and wellness and spa facilities to the heart of the town. The resort will add value to our Town Deal plan and complement our proposed projects, such as the convention and events centre and Marine Lake experience.”

A decision on the funding is expected early 2021 and further details of projects will be released in the next few weeks.

Originally published 2nd November 2020 by BusinessLive. SOURCE

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