Major government funding boost for Southport

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Marine Lake Southport, where the planned light show is set to go ahead

Southport is set to receive £37.5 million in government funding to help revive the seaside town.

The amount that Southport received under the Town Investment Plan is the second largest allocation of town deal funding anywhere in the country.

Southport MP Damien Moore described the funding as “revolutionary” and outlined the spending plans.

“We’re getting the market hall revamped, so there’s going to be a whole new offer in there of food and drink, very much more themed. So, it will complement some of the existing trading in there but will also bring a whole new clientele in.

“But of course, there are a number of projects that are out there. Things that are designed to enhance our already existing, fantastic tourism and hospitality sector.”

Lord Street has already been revamped with an accelerated £1 million in funding that saw 3000 sets of lights replaced across 80 trees along the boulevard, which Mr Moore described as a “jaw-dropping moment.”

He said: “I think it’s no secret is it that Lord Street was the inspiration for the glittering boulevard that is the Champs-Élysées [in Paris]. Well now Lord Street itself is shining.”

Along with a Marine lake light show and the improved market that is set to open in Spring this year, the plans also include a new theatre and convention centre.

Mr Moore said: “This will make it more useable, so it can be used in the day as well as performances. The old-fashioned theatre-style, which is very static and only has one use, to watch things, that space could be used for so many other things with an innovative, creative mind.”

Listen to MP Damien Moore’s response to public concern the funding is being spent on ‘vanity projects’ >>>

Councillor Marion Atkinson hopes these projects will attract more people to the town and create new jobs. She said: “My view is that it will be a catalyst for private sector and public sector investments. So this will be an enabler for a wider regeneration.

“We think there’s going to be over a thousand new jobs created. Three-hundred construction jobs, and an extra million visitors to Southport. There’s a whole host of aims with it, it’s not just one thing.”

Speaking about the work currently underway on the market, the cabinet member for Regeneration and Skills said Sefton Council were “ahead of the game” as they sourced £900,000 from the government and £500,000 from combined authority in order to make the project possible.

Councillor Atkinson said: “Had we not had them planes in place, we would’ve missed that window of opportunity for funding, so we’ve been ahead of the game with that.”

Listen to councillor Atkinson praise Sefton Council and the hard work of all those involved in the successful bid>>>



About Beth Harwood, JMU Journalism