Plans for £75m at Southport waterfront


Sefton Council has submitted its application for the Marine Lake Events Centre, the banner project as part of its Town Deal allocation.

The new development will offer a modern theater space with a capacity of 1,200 seats, a conference and exhibition center that can accommodate a wide range of events, as well as a branded cafe and restaurant.

Plans also include a new water and light show installation on the marine lake, with the working title of “The Light Fantastic”.

AFL Architects designed the project based on preliminary designs by HOK. CGIs showing what the completed schematic will look like were released in May.

The project team also includes civil engineer Aecom, site consultant IPW and Gardiner & Theobald as project manager and cost consultant.

The application follows a consultation process and council debate on the future of the Southport Theater & Convention Center complex and the Marine Lake, as Sefton seeks to build on Southport’s under-promoted waterfront assets.

If the development application is approved, the MLEC is expected to attract over 500,000 visitors to Southport a year, while generating £18 million a year for the local economy. Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council Labor Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said: “Feedback from our recent consultation showed that 84% of residents and key stakeholders are just as passionate as we are about the Marine Lake Events Center. “These exciting and innovative designs will help attract a diverse range of quality events to the city throughout the year. The public recognizes our ambitions to boost Southport’s cultural offering and visitor economy, as well as supporting local businesses and increasing spending.

The project has received £33.3m from Southport’s £37m Town Deal scheme, while the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority is also committing £22.3m.

The council took ownership of the theater complex in 2020 when its operating company went into liquidation.

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