Convention centre set for summer demolition

Contractor DSM Group will begin demolition of Southport Theatre and Convention Centre this summer to make way for the new £73m Marine Lake Events Centre. Tony McDonough reports

Southport Theatre
Southport Theatre and Convention Centre is set for demolition. Picture by Stand Up For Southport


Final preparations are now under way ahead of the full demolition of the Southport Theatre and Convention Centre this summer.

Demolition specialist DSM Group has been hired by Sefton Council to take on the project. The demolition of the centre, which closed in March 2020, will make way for the construction of the new £73m Marine Lake Events Centre (MLEC).

In the last few weeks there have been significant preparatory works involving the creation of a bespoke bird raft for any disturbed wildlife and the diversion of underground pipework away from site, completed by contractor Dowhigh.

With vital demolition work on the horizon Andrew Fletcher, managing director of DSM Group said he is eager to work with nearby residents and businesses to keep disruption to a minimum.

Andrew explained: “We have been able to work closely with Sefton Council and they were impressed with our plans and suggestions to mitigate any disruption to the community, which is a clear priority for the council.

“This appointment reaffirms our position as a trusted partner in delivering exceptional solutions and underscores the dedication of our team to exceed expectations. We look forward to getting started and being part of the creation of the MLEC.”

In April 2023 Sefton Council gave the go-ahead for the MLEC which, when open, will see the creation of 290 jobs. 

A total of £33.3m has been committed through funds from the Government’s Southport Town Deal initiative, with a further £20m from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and more than £19m in borrowing by Sefton Council.

Sefton has already announced the securing of ASM Global, who will manage the venue on the resort’s promenade. MLEC will join ASM Global’s network of more than 350 venues around the world.

Venues in ASM’s portfolio already include the AO Arena in Manchester, The Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai and Soldier Field in Chicago.


Marine Lake
Image of proposed new events and conference centre on Marine Lake in Southport


DSM will contact residents prior to the main demolition works commencing to ensure any disruption is kept to a minimum, with ongoing communications and engagement throughout the works.

Phil Porter, chief executive of Sefton Council, added: “The MLEC is going to be managed by one of the most experienced companies in the world, bringing more than half a million visitors to Southport each year and generating an annual £18m boost for the economy.

READ MORE: Sefton still £10m short on Southport Pier project

“At every stage so far we have been working incredibly hard behind the scenes identifying and appointing the most experienced partners to help us achieve our aspirations and I am delighted that DSM Group will oversee the demolition and enabling works.

“Residents and passers-by won’t see an awful lot yet as preparatory work is taking place inside the building and we expect external demolition works to start in early summer.”

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