Investors clamour to build new Southport hotels

Tens of million of pounds in Levelling Up funding for Southport has sparked a renaissance in the town with investors and developers now looking to build much-need hotels. Andrew Brown reports

Garrick, Southport
Image of how the Garrick development will look once complete


Developers are investing heavily in creating top quality new hotel accommodation in Southport – and it’s no surprise.

A Sefton Council study found an urgent need for “a significantly increased supply of hotel bed spaces in Southport”, and interest in providing those quality new rooms is really bearing fruit this year.

Southport has been undergoing something of a renaissance since the Southport Town Deal was announced in 2021, injecting £37.5 m into the local economy.

It is supporting projects such as the new Marine Lake Events Centre. This is forecast to attract more than half a million extra visitors to Southport each year.

Town Deal funding has also been supporting developments such as the new Southport Market (completed in 2021), the Southport BID initiative to install 300,000 lights along Lord Street, the new Southport Enterprise Arcade (building work ongoing) and public realm improvements under ‘Les Transformations de Southport’.

That is in addition to ambitions to grow the offer and visitor numbers at attractions such as Southport Pleasureland and Victoria Park, with its growing roster of events, while The Open Golf Championship is due to return to Royal Birkdale in 2026.

Southport is in urgent need of good quality hotel accommodation for the conference and business market, for the golf market, for the family market and more.

That demand is backed up by a Sefton Council study which was commissioned and completed three years ago which revealed “a need for a significantly increased supply of hotel bed spaces in Southport”.  Already in the past 12 months:

  • The Garrick on Lord Street saw planning permission granted in April to become ‘the UK’s only spa theatre hotel’ with 109 new hotel rooms, plus 12 luxury apartments, gym and spa, bar and restaurant, and a new theatre space.
  • JD Wetherspoon has submitted a planning application this June to convert the Pavilion Buildings on Lord Street into a 30-bed hotel.
  • The Cove Resort Southport signed an exclusivity agreement for land on Southport Esplanade to build a £75m attraction which would include a 200-bed four star hotel.
  • The Grand Southport on Lord Street is due to open Harry’s and a rooftop terrace this summer with luxury hotel rooms to follow in Phase 2 of its transformation.
  • The Ainsdale Coastal Gateway, at the entrance to Ainsdale Beach, is attracting ‘substantial’ interest according to Sefton Council since Pontins holiday park closed earlier this year. Butlins is believed to be keen to take on the site, while hotel operators have been vying for control of the former Sands pub.
  • The four star Waterfront Southport Hotel (formerly Bliss Hotel) is currently up for sale, along with the former casino site next door, offering a stunning opportunity for developers.

It represents massive investment coming into Southport with huge confidence that visitor numbers to the resort are due to grow substantially to support the requirement for more quality hotel and hospitality provision.

In a report to Sefton Council’s Cabinet in 2021, speaking about proposals to convert the Pavilion Buildings into a new Wetherspoon Hotel, Sefton Council executive director of corporate resources and customer services Stephan Van Arendsen said: “Conversion of the upper floors to the Pavilion Buildings to provide hotel accommodation ties in with and supports the wider regeneration aims of £50m the successful Town Deal bid.


Southport Flower Show
Southport Flower Show attracts around 55,000 people each year
JD Wetherspoon is looking to create a hotel in Lord Street. Picture by Andrew Brown / Stand Up For Southport


“The Council’s Tourism and Regeneration teams recently commissioned a ‘Hotel and Visitor Accommodation Study’, which identified a need for a greater range of visitor accommodation types, and a need for a significantly increased supply of hotel bed spaces, particularly in Southport.

“The use of the upper floors of Pavilion Buildings for hotel bed spaces, and / or to increase the trading area and number of covers would support this end of Lord Street, would help to consolidate a successful business and contribute to wider vitality and viability of the town centre, particularly the leisure and night time economies.

“Bringing into use the upper floors of premises for complementary and productive uses is a key priority within the Local Plan and is one of the main objectives of the Southport Townscape Heritage Project.

“The council’s successful application for Town Deal funding predicted that over £400m of private sector investment would be triggered by the Town Deal and Council project.

“This commitment by the tenant underlines the renewed investor confidence in the town.”

Sefton was first approached by Wetherspoon in 2018 and in January 2019 it received a formal offer to acquire the freehold interest in Pavilion Buildings. Following the easing of hospitality venue restrictions in June 2021 Wetherspoon submitted a revised offer.

This article first appeared in Stand Up For Southport

You might also like More from author

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Username field is empty.