Planners approve £73m Marine Lake project

Sefton Council planning committee gives green light to £73m Marine Lake Events Centre scheme that will create 290 jobs. Tony McDonough reports

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


Sefton councillors have approved the £73m Marine Lake Events Centre (MLEC) planned for Southport.

This was the biggest, and most significant, planning application for Southport in decades. To reflect the gravity of the decision the committee moved from its usual venue in Bootle to the The Waterfront Hotel in Southport on Thursday evening.

And members of the public attended the meeting to see the the committee give its approval to the project.

MLEC, which will also include a spectacular water and light show on Marine Lake, will replace the Southport Theatre and Convention Centre which closed in 2020.

In December, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities approved the release of £33.3m released from the Town Deal Fund. This adds to the £20m being put towards the scheme by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

Sefton Council intends to borrow £19.7m to complete the funding package. In March it announced that it had entered into a pre-construction services agreement with building giant Kier following a competitive tender process.

Offering a theatre as well as exhibition and conference facilities, the MLEC  is expected to bring more than 500,000 extra visitors to the town each year. The authority has already appointed ASM Global to manage the venue once open.


Marine Lake
Marine Lake in Southport will also include a spectacular light show
Marine Lake
Image of how the interior of Marine Lake Events Centre may look


Stephen Watson, Sefton Council’s executive director of place, said: “This is a hugely transformational project designed to boost the local economy, create new job opportunities and bring thousands of extra visitors to our beautiful Borough each year.

“This new events centre supports our strategic objectives of providing more reasons to visit, to stay, to stay longer, and to do so all year round – all of which support the creation of quality employment and career opportunities in the sector.

“From the moment we revealed this ambitious project the views and feedback of those living and working near to the site, as well as the wider community, were key to getting to this stage.

“We are delighted at the overwhelming support and excitement that the Marine Lake Events Centre has generated.”

The proposed new development would comprise a 1,200 seat theatre (1,500 capacity seating standing), and a conference centre with a capacity of 2,400.

Proposed opening hours of the theatre are between 9am and 11pm, and the exhibition centre between 7am and 11pm.

The planning meeting will be held at The Waterfront Hotel, Promenade, Southport. PR9 0DZ from 6.30pm on Thursday, April 27.

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