'Monumental' step forward for £73m Southport waterfront project as demolition preparations begin

The Marine Lake Events Centre project is expected to bring more than half a million new visitors to Southport each year.

The creation of a £73million leisure centre, expected to transform and revitalise Southport’s waterfront, has taken a ‘monumental’ step forward.

Sefton Council were given the green light for the Marine Lake Events Centre project in 2023 and it is expected to bring more than half a million new visitors to Southport each year and and generate an estimated £18m to the local economy annually. The state-of-the-art venue is one of the schemes being developed as a result of the successful bid for £37.5m of Town Deal funding for Southport. A significant proportion of this funding is for the centre, as well as for the Light Fantastic, a water, light and sound show in the adjacent Marine Lake.

To make way for the leisure facility, the former Southport Theatre and Convention Centre will be knocked down, and Sefton Council say preparations for the demolition will begin ‘in the coming days’.

The step forward comes after preparatory works involving the creation of a bespoke bird raft for any disturbed wildlife and the diversion of underground pipework away from site, which was completed ahead of schedule by contractors Dowhigh. Historic assets have already been removed from the site, and will be persevered and displayed inside the new Marine Lake Events Centre.

- Major update on Southport Pier repair | Revival of Earlestown Town Hall | Huyton transformation DSM Group, who will carry out the demolition, will contact residents prior to the main works commencing to ensure any disruption is kept to a minimum, with ongoing communications and engagement throughout.

The £73 million venue on Southport’s promenade will be managed by ASM Global, the team behind the AO Arena in Manchester and The Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai.

Phil Porter, Chief Executive of Sefton Council, said: “The Marine Lake Events Centre is going to be managed by one of the most experienced companies in the world, bringing more than half a million new visitors to Southport each year and generating an annual £18 million boost for the local economy. 

“At every stage so far we have been working incredibly hard behind the scenes identifying and appointing the most experienced partners to help us achieve our aspirations and I am delighted that DSM Group will oversee the demolition and enabling works. Residents and passers-by won’t see an awful lot yet as preparatory work is taking place inside the building and we expect external demolition works to start in early summer.”

Take a look at the gallery below to see how the Marine Lake Events Centre could look.

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