The Southport Town Deal Board has now agreed which of the projects originally proposed in the Town Investment Plan will now receive Town Deal funding, following the success of being awarded one of the largest Town Deals to date.
Having bid for £50 million and received £37.5 million, the Town Deal Board faced a challenge in deciding where to allocate the funding. However, the Board agreed unanimously that the Town Deal funding should be allocated to projects which will stimulate other funding and investment opportunities to ensure the investments made bring the widest range of benefits to everyone who lives in and visits the town.
The projects which will be progressing with Town Deal funding, subject to government confirmation, are:
• Marine Lake Events Centre
This project will transform the existing Southport Theatre and Convention Centre into a high quality, distinctive entertainment and business events venue capable of providing great experiences to audiences and users
• The Light Fantastic
The creation of a UK-first light, water and sound show in Southport’s Marine Lake to attract visitors from further afield and encourage them to stay for longer in the town
• Enterprise Arcade
Refurbishment of Crown Buildings to create new business incubator space, supporting Southport’s emerging creative, digital and tech sector
• Les Transformations de Southport
The project will start to deliver high quality public spaces and an accessible and well-connected transport network, providing priority for walking and cycling in support of clean growth
• Building Better Customer Experience
This project will work with a wide range of stakeholders and businesses to deliver a range of training and development programmes for everyone who has contact with visitors and customers in Southport.
The Town Deal funding will cover the full costs of some projects but not all, and there is still a significant amount of funding required to meet all the projects in the Town Investment Plan. Securing further public and private funding, including from The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, will be equally as important to ensure successful delivery of the wider projects.
This includes not only the projects above, but also some of the other developments included in or stimulated by the Town Deal. Project Barnum, the name given in the bid to the development of an indoor visitor attraction at the Southport Pleasureland site and led by Universal Rides Ltd, is still proceeding. The new Southport Market project is close to completion and opening, and a range of other exciting public and private sector projects are also underway across town.
Leader of Sefton Council, Cllr Ian Maher, commented:
“We are looking forward to the next phase of the Town Deal and building on the good work of the Board. The council will now develop and deliver robust final business cases for the projects which will demonstrate the full benefits of each in economic and social terms. This step will be completed in the next 12 months, after which the £37.5 million promised by government would be delivered”.
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:
“Like many people, I’ve got lots of happy memories of going to Southport as a kid. It’s great to see these exciting projects to help breathe new life into the town moving forwards.
“Southport is still a vital part of our region’s visitor economy and I’m sure this funding will assist in the regeneration of what is one of the North West’s great seaside towns. I’ll be continuing to work closely with Sefton Council to support their plans for the town and the wider borough.”