Sefton appoints builder for £73m Marine Lake project

Sefton Council appoints leading UK construction firm to deliver £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


Sefton Council has appointed national construction firm Kier Group to build the £73m Marine Lake Events Centre (MLEC) in Southport.

One of the UK largest construction and infrastructure companies, Kier Group secured the deal after a competitive tender process. The MLEC project also includes a light, water and sound show on Marine Lake.

Kier will now enter into a pre-construction services agreement with Sefton Council, in advance of full contract later in 2023. The authority has already appointed ASM Global to manage the venue once open.

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 for the MLEC which replaces 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  is expected to create 200 jobs and bring more than 500,000 extra visitors to the town each year.

As part of the MLEC project Kier and other partners have also signed up to a social value plan which will see them give back to communities across Sefton.

This will include providing local employment and supply chain opportunities. Additional time and resources dedicated to working with school and college students who want to explore careers in the construction industry.


Marine Lake
Image of proposed new events and conference centre on Marine Lake in Southport
Sefton Council will task construction firm Kier with building the Marine Lake Events Centre


A planning application for the project has been submitted and is expected to be considered by Sefton’s planning committee in the spring.

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said: “By awarding preferred status to Kier we are putting the physical creation of the venue into the hands of a proven contractor with a strong track record.

“The interest of the UK’s leading construction firms in the project, and the standing of the successful bidder, reaffirms the scale of ambition for the future of Southport that this transformational project demonstrates.

“The end goal is a fully flexible, scalable cultural space capable of staging concerts, stand-up comedy, family shows, musical theatre, conferences, exhibitions that is the envy of other towns and cities.”

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