Theatre demolition to begin in spring in £73m project

Demolition work on the former Southport Theatre and Convention Centre is due to begin in weeks to make way for the new £73m Marine Lake Events Centre. Andrew Brown reports

Southport Theatre
Southport Theatre and Convention Centre is to begin in March. Picture by Stand Up For Southport


Demolition of the former Southport Theatre and Convention Centre is due to begin by the end of March.

It will make way for the new £73m Marine Lake Events Centre (MLEC), plus an accompanying water and light show on the lake. It is the central scheme of the Southport Town Deal.

Led by Sefton Council, the project is forecast to attract an additional 515,000 visitors to Southport every year, bringing an estimated £12m into the local economy annually.

Property consultancy CBRE has now sent a planning submission to Sefton Council which calls for the construction of a floating raft next to the northern island on the Marine Lake.

This raft would remain in place while demolition and construction are taking place and throughout the operation of the MLEC.

In the application, CBRE says: “It is proposed to install the floating raft adjacent to the northern island by 15th March 2024 (weather dependent).

“This will ensure the raft is installed prior to the demolition of the theatre, which is anticipated to commence at the end of March 2024.”

The MLEC will be built on the site of the former Southport Theatre and Convention Centre, which has been closed since March 2020. It will include the UK’s first lakeside sound and light show in the Marine Lake in front of the centre.

In April 2023 Sefton Council gave the go-ahead for the MLEC which, when open, will see the creation of 290 jobs. It will replace the Southport Theatre and Convention Centre which closed in 2020. In August main contractor Kier started work on the project.

In terms of broader impact across the town, it is projected that the Southport Town Investment Plan, of which the MLEC is the most substantial project, could become the catalyst to attract up to £400m of additional private sector investment.

READ MORE: ‘Why I have invested £10m into Southport’

A total of £33.3m has been committed through funds from the Government’s Southport Town Deal initiative, with a further £20m from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and more than £19m in borrowing by Sefton Council.

ASM Global has been appointed as Sefton Council’s preferred venue operator for the Marine Lake Events Centre.

This article first appeared in Stand Up For Southport

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