Sefton appoints Marine Lake project team

Sefton Council has appointed a project team as it looks to push on with multi-million pound plans to build a new conference and events centre in Southport. Tony McDonough reports

Image of the new conference and events centre planned for Marine Lake in Southport


A team of leading consultants have been tasked with pushing forward plans for a new multi-million pound conference and events centre in Southport.

As part of a £400m plan to transform the seaside town, in 2020 Sefton Council 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.

Sefton believes the Marine Lake Events Centre will lead to footfall of over 515,000 visitors to the waterfront. It will also create 288 jobs, and boost the town’s hotel and hospitality sector with nearly 60,000 overnight stays from conferences and events alone.

Located on the town’s promenade, the development will be combined with a “jaw-dropping light fantastic’ animation on the Marine Lake. Funding is being provided from the Southport Town Deal and support from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

In November the council committed a further £2.3m to the project to take it forward. After a detailed and stringent tendering process it has appointed:

  • AFL Architects – a Manchester based commercial architecture firm.
  • IPW – a UK wide sports, venue and entertainment consultancy.
  • Gardiner & Theobald – a property consultancy firm providing project and cost management services.
  • AECOM – a global infrastructure consultancy firm delivering a wide range of engineering services for the project.

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Labour Cabinet Member for Regeneration & Skills, said: “As the largest investment project included within the Southport Town Deal, the Marine Lake Events Centre will provide Southport with an incredible events space.

“That is why we need to work with the very best of the best to help deliver this project effectively and successfully from the very beginning. We chose firms that share our passion and ambition to transform Southport into a thriving and vibrant visitor destination.

READ MORE: Sefton terminates Crosby Lakeside contract

“AFL Architects will provide detailed and achievable designs, capturing the modern and sleek feel of the new-look centre, while preserving the surrounding heritage and history of the promenade to compliment the versatility we want the centre to have.

“IPW will be on hand to provide guidance and experience to the project thanks to its impressive history of helping to deliver on a number of entertainment venues and they will work alongside Gardener & Theobald LLP to make sure we are working efficiently and within budgets.

“We have also brought in civil engineering consultants AECOM, who have a huge presence in the North West to focus on the engineering aspects of the project from public health to structural engineering.”

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