Later this week Liverpool City Region Combined Authority will be asked to approve £2.3m to take forward plans for a new multi-million pound Merseyside conference and events centre. Tony McDonough reports
Plans for a new multi-million pound conference and events centre in Merseyside could be submitted for approval in spring 2022 as £2.3m is committed to the next phase of the project.
On Friday (November 26) Liverpool City Region Combined Authority will consider a proposal by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram to fund Sefton Council’s project planning for the proposed Marine Lake Events Centre in Southport.
As part of a £400m plan to transform the seaside town, Sefton Council last year unveiled plans for the 1,200-seater events space to replace the the Southport Theatre and Convention Centre which was forced to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The auditorium will also be suitable for large conferences, supported by a fully flexible and sub-divisible spaces, a 15,000 sq ft exhibition space capable of accommodating more than 3,000 people for major e-sports events.
It is also designed to continue to accommodate the type of community-led events currently held in the Floral Hall. The centre, together with a sound and light show pier attraction leading into the adjacent lake, is at the heart of Sefton Council’s plans for Southport’s regeneration.
Mr Rotheram said: “Our town centres have always been at the heart of our communities. They are the places where we meet, shop, relax and socialise but too many of our high streets have seen better days.
“Locally we’ve invested tens of millions of pounds to energise and improve our town centres. Despite the challenges the pandemic has posed, I want to safeguard Southport’s future and ensure that it can thrive for generations to come.”
Southport has secured £37.5m from the government’s Towns Fund, with £30m of the total grant earmarked for a new events centre. The CA’s funding, if approved, will finance the next phase of project planning, to achieve business plan submission in spring 2022 and RIBA stage 3 design for the planning application.
Cllr Ian Maher, leader of Sefton Council, added: “As the largest investment project included within the Southport Town Deal, the Marine Lake Events Centre will provide Southport with an incredible events space with state-of-the-art facilities to attract a wide range of different types of entertainment events and audiences to Southport.”