Metro Mayor commits £17.7m to Marine Lake

Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram is to release £17.7m towards the planned £73m Marine Lake Events Centre in Southport. Tony McDonough reports

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


Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram is putting a further £17.7m towards the £73m cost of the Marine Lake Events Centre (MLEC) in Southport.

Next week, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority will be asked to approve the cash which adds to the £2.3m already committed to pre-development work. The MLEC will replace the Southport Theatre and Convention Centre which closed in 2020.

Offering a 1,500-capacity theatre as well as exhibition and conference facilities, the MLEC will also include a lakeside sound and light show attraction. It is expected to create 200 jobs and bring more than 500,000 extra visitors to the town each year.

In August Sefton Council, which is overseeing the project, said the facility would be operated by US-based global venue management business ASM Global. Engineers started investigatory works at the site in early August.

Sefton is looking to borrow £19.7m to go towards the scheme. Funding will also include £33.3m from the Town Deal Fund. A detailed planning application and comprehensive business case have been submitted.

READ MORE: Southport’s Bliss Hotel goes up for sale

Mr Rotheram said: “Southport holds a special place in the hearts of so many people in our city region and beyond. While we’re incredibly proud of the town’s history and heritage, I firmly believe that Southport’s best days still lie ahead.

“Building on its legacy as a tourist town, I want to ensure that Southport can continue to thrive and attract visitors for many years to come. Thanks to devolution, we’re committing significant investments into projects across our region.”

Southport has secured £38.5m from the Government’s Towns Fund, with £33.3m of the total grant allocated to the new events centre.

The Combined Authority’s Strategic Investment Funding, if approved, will part fund the scheme’s development costs. A planning decision is expected before the end of this year and, if approved, work on the new complex would begin next year.

Ian Maher, Leader of Sefton Council, added: “As the largest investment project included within the Southport Town Deal, the MLEC will provide Southport with an incredible events space. We believe that attractions such as this will create a genuinely unique visitor experience and will only serve to strengthen our visitor economy.”

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