Iconic Ainsdale pub The Sands set for redevelopment as council puts site on market

The Sands is the first building most people see when visiting Ainsdale and heading towards Southport.

If you have ever driven into Ainsdale or Southport down the coastal road it is impossible to miss The Sands pub standing on the edge of the dunes.

But the iconic public house near the Pontins resort has been closed and boarded up since 2017 and now Sefton Council have put the site up for sale.

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“For many, The Sands pub building is the first sight they see when visiting our beautiful coastline and the building was once synonymous with Ainsdale’s history prior to its closure years ago,” says Councillor Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Labour cabinet member for regeneration and skills.

“The site is ripe for regeneration and has incredible potential.”

The Sands was a popular pub in the local area and sits on the edge of the sand dunes and Ainsdale Beach, now a destination for extreme kite activities, including kitesurfing.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the boarded up site was targeted by coronavirus deniers who graffitied the front of the building as it stands in a prime position for passing traffic.

Former pub The Sands in Ainsdale is to be sold by Sefton Council. Image: Google

Regeneration

Sefton Council has committed to improving the area of Ainsdale-on-Sea and held a consultation in 2021 about planned regeneration.

A giant mural of sand lizards was unveiled last year on the outside of derelict former nightclub Toad Hall in Ainsdale.

It was painted by Liverpool artist Paul Curtis, who is best known for creating the iconic For All Liverpool’s Liver Birds artwork in the Baltic Triangle.

The sand lizard wraps around the length of the building.

There have also been trials of new of food and drink outlets near Ainsdale beach. Toilet facilities and more off-beach parking are being developed.

The council-owned site The Sands is now on the market for investors and has the potential for redevelopment.

What’s been said

Councillor Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Labour cabinet member for regeneration and skills, said: “We know from stringent market testing over the past year that there is wide scale interest from local and national organisations, keen to invest in it.

“We will now work with agents Fitton Estates and Savills with the goal of creating suitably impressive welcome to this visitor hotspot popular point on Sefton’s glorious 22-mile coastline.”

Sefton Council said the decision to place The Sands building on the market follows high levels of public support for more investment in the Ainsdale beach area.  

Regeneration of The Sands site will complement other projects in the town, according to Sefton Council, including the Marine Lake Events Centre, the Enterprise Hub and the ongoing success of the new Southport Market.

A decision on the how the redevelopment of The Sands pub site may be progressed is expected to be made later this year.