The exciting Marine Lake Events Centre project has taken a huge step forward after its business case was approved by the Government’s Levelling Up department.
Overwhelming support has already been shown for the transformational project, which will see a brand new state of the art events centre and accompanying water and light show built on the site of the former Southport Theatre.
In approving the Marine Lake Events Centre (MLEC) business case, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) congratulated Sefton Council and the Southport Town Deal team on ‘an ambitious project for the benefit’ of Southport and the Liverpool City Region.
Mayor Steve Rotheram, and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (CA) recently approved £17.7m funding for the new Marine Lake Events Centre. This was on top of £2.3m the CA had already committed to the pre-development work.
Approval of the business case, which formally releases the previously announced Town Deal funding for the project, was one of the next major milestones for the MLEC project, with another being the pending approval of planning permissions.
The MLEC is expected to bring more than half a million new visitors to Southport each year, while generating an annual £18m for the local economy.
Sefton Council has already commenced a series of preparatory works to ensure the project can get underway swiftly, including identifying ASM Global, the world’s leading venue management company and producer of live experiences as the site’s preferred operating partner.
The Marine Lake Events Centre is one of the schemes being develop as a result of the successful bid for £37.5m of Town Deal funding for Southport. It will see Southport’s Theatre and Convention Centre transformed into a high-quality entertainment and business events venue.
Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, Cllr Marion Atkinson said: “The Marine Lake Events Centre is a hugely exciting and hugely important scheme for Southport and Sefton.
“I would like to thank all the Sefton Council staff involved for the huge efforts that has gone into reaching this important milestone for the Southport Marine Lake Events Centre, and my Cabinet colleagues for their support.
“This and the other Town Deal schemes will be game-changing for the economy of Southport and Sefton and will provide a huge boost for local businesses as well as opportunities for new ones.
“It’s critical that, subject to planning approval, we can now get on and deliver for the residents of Sefton.”
Levelling Up Minister Dehenna Davison said: “The Marine Lake Events Centre is a really ambitious and impressive local project and I am thrilled our £33.3 million Towns Fund investment will kickstart the building of a state-of-the-art events centre with a spectacular water and light show.
“This is the biggest pay out to any Towns Fund project, recognising its huge potential to deliver hundreds of new jobs and attract more than 300,000 visitors to Southport.
“I am excited to see how this funding will revitalise and level up Southport and support a thriving coastal community that residents can be proud of.”
Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “This is fantastic news for Southport and our plans to reinvigorate the town’s visitor economy, which attracts thousands upon thousands of tourists to the Liverpool City Region every year.
“This is the difference devolution can make – it’s giving local areas the opportunity to invest and develop projects like the Martine Lake Events Centres that will make a real difference to local people, creating good quality, secure jobs and training opportunities – it’s proper levelling up in action. Hopefully, this news marks the beginning of a really exciting new chapter in Southport’s story.”