Stronger Economy

Closed 20 Jul 2020

Opened 29 Jun 2020

Feedback updated 13 Nov 2020

We asked

Southport has the opportunity to bid for up to £50m of central Government funding as part of the Town Deal Fund, to boost economic growth and town wide regeneration.  As part of the stakeholder engagement for the submission, a  consultation exercise was undertaken to gather feedback on a number of Big Ideas that would inform a wider Vision for Southport.

Each of these Big Ideas included  a number of project ideas that we thought had  the potential to attract wider investment both from the Government and from the private sector. We asked what you thought of these Big Ideas and what you think we might have missed.

You said

The Town Deal Board received over 2,033 completed questionnaires, with 826 detailed comments from the questionnaires. In addition to this, we received 40 emails, 5 phone calls and 4 letters.

Following the online consultation, the Town Deal Board also engaged with a number of other stakeholder groups including university students, college students school children, visitors and local business owners.

A summary of all the responses received in the full consultation report.

Southport Town Investment Plan Consultation Report

We did

This engagement has informed the Town Investment Plan (TIP) which was submitted to government at the end of October 2020. Key points of influence from engagement include: 

  • The importance of the TIP including projects which enhance the appeal of visitor attractions including Pleasureland and the Southport Theatre and Convention Centre
  • The importance of developing a new attraction in the Marine Lake which will attract more visitors to the town
  • The importance of connecting the town centre and Waterfront
  • Necessity of finding new uses and attractions for vacant shops in the town centre. The importance that different areas and attractions are well connected via the public realm, pedestrian and cycling facilities
  • The need for the TIP to address seasonality in the economy. The TIP should also facilitate the attraction and growth of different industries to the town centre with stakeholders highlighting gaps in the business accommodation offer for co-working space and digital and creative industries
  • The majority of the priorities identified by stakeholders under the Green and Clean theme have non-Towns Fund delivery or funding routes. The consultation does highlight an important role that the Towns Fund can play in ensuring that major regeneration developments in the town centre and waterfront can be reached on foot and by cycling, thereby minimising the need for short vehicular journeys in the town

The priorities expressed by consultees that have not been included in the TIP  will be addressed using funding and delivery routes other than Towns Fund.

The Town Deal Board will continue the conversation with residents, visitors and businesses as the Town Investment Plan progresses.




Southport has historically been a prosperous place with low unemployment and deprivation levels, however its economy is very reliant on tourism and retailing. Both of these business sectors face challenges and need investment to ensure that the town can compete for customers and visitors in the future. The effects of Covid-19 on the town are not fully known, but it is already clear that unemployment is rising and there is a need to support existing businesses and deliver new jobs in a wider range of business sectors. In doing so, it will be important to provide the digital capabilities for businesses to succeed.

What you’ve already told us…

  • We need to develop an economy which is less seasonal and which operates all year round
  • We should encourage a more diverse economy – different types of businesses operating in a broader range of sectors
  • We need to invest in the type of attractions and experiences which will bring people to the town
  • There are leisure assets, such as those at Ainsdale-on-Sea which could be better used to boost tourism and spending
  • We need to support businesses in a range of sectors to improve the choice of jobs and careers on offer
  • Digital infrastructure is important in attracting and retaining businesses
  • Young people don’t currently stay in the town as there aren’t the opportunities
  • Tourism and leisure are not seen as “aspirational” careers
  • We need to retain talented and skilled people
  • Key employers experience some difficulties in recruiting
  • Commuter links to Liverpool are good, but the train link to Manchester is poor
  • The quality of life that you can have in Southport could be an attraction to businesses and employees 

Big Ideas for Change

The masterplan proposes a series of projects which will help to build a local economy which is more resilient, diverse and which operates year round.

Our Big Ideas are described below:

1. Complete Southport Business Park including:

  • A)Business Park “hub” – offering opportunities for start-up and small businesses to form and grow in a supportive co-working environment
  • B) Provision of serviced plots for growing businesses
  • C) Consider opportunities for green energy generation
  • D) Entrance / Gateway enhancements and investment in the landscaping and footpaths
  • E) “Park and Change” facilities (e.g. secure car parking, electric vehicle charging points and cycle storage facilities)

 2. Major investment in The Southport Theatre and Convention Centre – critical to attracting more business conferences, entertainment events and the associated visitors and spend

3. Invest in an all-weather visitor attraction – critical to addressing the seasonal nature of the visitor market and ensuring that Southport competes effectively with other visitor destinations.

4. Develop a Creative and Digital Hub in the town centre – dedicated space for creative and digital businesses to support the growth of these important sectors.

5. Create Lord Street “northern quarter” co-working hub – providing flexible space for start-up and independent businesses in the town centre

6. Invest in Ainsdale-on-Sea Visitor Hub – develop a plan for investment in the leisure assets in Ainsdale-on-Sea to create an enhanced visitor experience including (but not limited to):

  • A) Visitor reception facilities
  • B) Education / interpretation of the Sefton Coast
  • C) Food and drink offer
  • D) Cycle hub and facilities
  • E) Car parking

7. Develop “wrap around” job and contract match service – to ensure that local people and businesses can access the job and contract opportunities arising from major investments in the town

8. Digital project - Make Southport the most digitally connected coastal town in the UK. Create an integrated town centre digital network utilising WiFi, an App, way-finding, smart terminals and eKiosks connected with payment bands, which allow the wearer to shop in the towns retailers, open their hotel door and gain pre-booked entry to leisure activities and venues.

What happens next

We will review all feedback received and use this to inform our bid for £25 million from the Towns Fund, which will be submitted to the Government later this year. This will be an ongoing conversation between residents, businesses, the Town Deal Board, Sefton Council and Government and there will be more opportunities to get involved.


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