Entrepreneurs Tony Howard and Tamlyn Stone sign exclusivity agreement with Sefton Council for coastal site where they plan to create a £75m leisure resort employing 207 people. Tony McDonough reports
A new agreement will see plans for the £75m coastal leisure resort in Southport take a step forward.
Entrepreneurs Tony Howard and Tamlyn Stone have signed an exclusivity agreement with Sefton Council for a piece of land on Southport Esplanade. Once built The Cove will offer surfing, a thermal spa and a four-star hotel. The project will create hundreds of jobs.
First revealed in late 2020, plans for The Cove invoked memories of the town’s former open-air sea bathing lake that closed in 1989.
When it was first proposed the plan was to site the project on land in Princes Park. Now, after three years of negotiation with Sefton Council, Tony and Tamlyn have secured an exclusivity agreement on land between Victoria Park and the beach.
Tony told LBN: “We’re thrilled with this agreement and what this now means for progressing the project in Southport. Even before we made our proposals for The Cove public, the Esplanade site was always number one on our list.
“It is quite exceptional to have such a stunning natural backdrop and yet be only minutes from the town centre by foot. The Esplanade site provides a wonderful opportunity to create something very special for the town and coastline.
“The Cove Resort is an exciting £75m leisure and hospitality project, bringing a high-quality visitor attraction to the town focusing on health and wellbeing, where multiple leisure activities will form part of the offering.
“With this we are creating a large four-star hotel on site which will complement the resort’s leisure offer whilst reaffirming Southport as one of the UK’s most attractive resorts.”
Tony believes The Cove will complement the £75m Marine Lake Events Centre, just a short distance away. Work started on that project in August. It will replace the Southport Theatre and Convention Centre which closed in 2020.
“The Cove Resort is very much wedded to the aspirations of Southport’s Town Deal strategy for improving the visitor and customer experience, while also enhancing the town as a place for ‘living well’,” added Tony.
Cllr Paulette Lappin, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regulation and Compliance said: “We are pleased that The Cove project is progressing well. It shows huge support for the delivery of the council’s regeneration projects in Southport.
“We have worked alongside the team behind The Cove project to identify sites which would best benefit the project and they were keen to explore the possibility of bringing their vision to the Esplanade.
“Many people will remember that in 1989 Southport’s much-loved open-air swimming bath closed its doors to the public for the very last time.
“This project will, in many ways, bring back a viable facility with all year-round broad visitor appeal.”
And Tony’s partner on the project, Tamlyn Stone, also said: “There are particularly strong links with the Marine Lake Events Centre where The Cove’s activities and quality hotel
will be hugely complementary.
The resort will increase visitor numbers consistently throughout the year and provide 207 jobs once open. With its focus on health and wellbeing, the resort seeks to reinstate Southport’s proud historical identity for ‘hydropathy’.”