Sefton Council secures a £1m grant to breathe new life into Southport’s Victorian market and revamp the Lord Street lights. Tony McDonough reports
A plan to breathe new life into Southport’s Victorian market has been given a £1m boost.
Sefton Council has secured £1m from the central Government’s Town Deal Fund, which is designed to go towards capital development projects. £100,000 will be spent to transform the Lord Street tree lights with the remaining £900,000 going towards the market revamp.
The funding will complement the work, which is well underway, on a comprehensive bid by the Southport Town Deal board for a larger grant of £25m from the fund to reinvigorate the seaside town.
Southport Market dates back to 1857 but in recent years has becoming tired and uninviting with empty units. In 2018 the council put forward a new vision for the facility which brought a positive response via a public consultation.
Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said: “This is a very welcome grant and helps us in our long term vision for Southport. We have been working extremely hard on plans for Southport Market as part of our Southport masterplan for some time, recognising how important such a social space would be to the local economic and tourism sector.
“It will bring a market culture experience to the town that some cities across the UK have successfully introduced already and which European towns and cities have become celebrated for.”
The Southport Market project business case will now go to cabinet and council for approval in September, with a view to ensuring completion of the project by the end of the financial year, in accordance with the conditions of the grant.
Rob Fletcher, chair of the Southport Town Deal board, welcomed the news, saying: “We have been working incredibly hard to try and make our ambitions a reality and we are in a fantastic position ahead of us submitting full plans for a £25m bid later this year. Our plans can now move forward at pace with Southport Market being the key focus, with £900,000 of the grant allocated to this project.”
And Mark Lawler, managing director of Liverpool’s successful Baltic Creative and member of the Southport Town Deal Board, also said: “We recognise how important this kind of investment can be for giving a kick start for further growth throughout the resort, as well as having the potential to spark further enhancement of the area surrounding the market.”