£1.4m market is a ‘catalyst’ for Southport

Following a £1.4m launch in 2021 Southport Market has been declared a success, acting as a ‘catalyst’ for the surrounding streets. Andrew Brown reports

Southport Market
Southport Market was launched in July 2021 and has been declared a success. Picture by Mark Shirley


Southport Market has performed “extremely well” in its first year of operation, a new report says.

Demand has been so high that 140 new covers have had to be added to keep customers happy. The food, drink and events venue has also created 30 new jobs directly

It has also acted as a catalyst for the surrounding ‘Southport Market Quarter’, attracting new businesses into a previously rundown area of the town centre, according to operator Sefton Council.

“The people of Southport have embraced the market, it has brought people back into the town centre and continues to generate great reviews”, the authority says.

The market’s success has led to it becoming “a good practice case study” with council officers from across the UK visiting in order to develop their own versions.

Its ‘Extravaganza’ events space has hosted scores of events, including some sold-out Halloween themed Monster Balls last week and the popular Christmas Extravaganza last year.

A one year review of the venue’s operation will be presented to Sefton Council at a meeting next week.

Southport Market was repurposed by Sefton Council into a food, drink and events market and opened in July 2021. This was thanks to £900,000 funding from the Government’s Town Deal scheme and £500,000 from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

It delivered the refurbishment of 17,000 sq ft of mostly empty floorspace, created 10 new businesses and created 30 new jobs.

It has a central bar operated by Mikhail Hotel and Leisure surrounded by 10 food units serving food from around the world. Long-standing market tenant Blackhurst Butchers is at the front of the building.

Since opening, indoor seating capacity at Southport Market has been extended by around 40 covers to keep up with demand.  A new outdoor seating area was designed and implemented, which has added around 100 extra covers. A children’s play shed was installed in January.


Southport Market
Relaunched Southport Market served 22,663 pizzas in its first year


Food outlets inside Southport Market are: Hector’s Mexicana; 600 Degrees; Down and Oot; Pitamu; Cone Head; Cake Corner; Pasta 51 Express; Kaizen; Allotment; and the Market Place pop-up stall.

In his report, Sefton Council executive director Stephen Watson, wrote: “Since opening in late July 2021 the market has been a great success. By the year in 2021/22 it had met its business plan targets in an eight-month trading period. The food and drink offer has exceeded expectations.

“The events space has hosted a number of large-scale events such as The Christmas Extravaganza and has been booked for private bookings.

“The new market has had a catalyst impact with many long-term empty units in The Market and King Street becoming occupied by new independent businesses, with a number of commercial sales in the area.

“Lessons have been learnt over the first year with regards to number of traders, operational hours and procedures and the market will continue to evolve and improve over the next two years.

“Many other local authorities have visited the market and requested meetings in order to learn and implement their own food markets with Southport Market being used as a good practice case study.

“Lastly the people of Southport have embraced the market. It has brought people back into the town centre and continues to generate great reviews.”

Mr Watson also warned however that the next six to 12 months and beyond will be challenging for the hospitality industry, with concerns that rising inflation and a reduction in consumer spending expected to impact on future trading.

This article first appeared in Stand Up For Southport

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