Thriving Town Centre

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.




For many people, Lord Street is one of the most important features of Southport. This grand boulevard was once lined with boutique shops and it was considered to be one of the most exclusive shopping streets in the country. Today, Lord Street and the town centre face challenges as more shopping has moved online.

With the decline of high street retail, other areas of the town centre, such as Chapel Street, Tulketh Street and London Street face similar challenges and the town can no longer sustain shops over such a large area. New uses and occupiers need to be found. Positively, the town centre does have a thriving independent business scene and many attractive buildings which could be re-purposed for new uses.

What you’ve already told us…

  • Lord Street is the “centrepiece” of the town, but it has fallen on hard times. Many people want to see it return to its former glory
  • There is concern for the gaps in Lord Street left by the closure of big department stores such as Debenhams and Beales
  • We should be investing to protect and improve the historic buildings in the town centre
  • Need to provide on street short stay parking on Lord Street
  • The quality of Lord Street’s footpaths, road space and street furniture (e.g. benches, lamps, bins) needs to be improved
  • The train station and the station arcade create a poor first impression of the town
  • Chapel Street has many vacant shops that we need to find new uses for
  • Town centre car parking can be tricky to find
  • The town centre lacks modern long stay car parking
  • There is no public transport interchange
  • Vacant upper floors of shops could be converted to homes
  • New public art for the town centre to improve its look (e.g. murals, paintings, sculpture, statues)
  • The town centre is missing a street food market like you see in other towns
  • As shops become cheaper to rent then new uses such as offices and artists’ studios might be attracted to Lord Street
  • We should find temporary uses for vacant shops to improve the way they look

Big Ideas for Change

Our strategy for the town centre is shown on the plan above and our Big Ideas are described below to generate more activity, to boost footfall and spending in the town centre

1. Focus the main shopping area on a smaller area of the town centre – around the central section of Lord Street and Chapel Street, as well as Tulketh Street and King Street

2. Replace the loss of major attractions (such as the department stores) with new uses that will create a buzz and activity during the day and at night, such as:

  • A) A state-of-the-art interchange facility (including bus / train / pedestrian /cycle interchange, a new multi-storey car park, offices and cafes and convenience shops)
  • B) A creative and digital business hub – bringing creative business into the heart of the town centre in modern accommodation
  • C) An indoor street food market to regenerate the Southport Market on KingStreet
  • D) A boutique hotel, cinema, dining and events space in the former Beales store and Wayfarer’s Arcade

3. Support the thriving independent businesses in Lord Street north (the “northern quarter”) by introducing complementary uses:

  • A) Re-use of the former Debenhams store as a co-working office, café and apartments
  • B) More quality restaurants and bars in vacant shops
  • C) Conversion of upper floors of shops to apartments

4. Support Lord Street south by introducing new complementary uses such as:

  • A) A hotel
  • B) Newly built apartments
  • C) Conversion of upper floors of shops to apartment

5. Develop a landlord engagement programme to encourage re-use of vacant shops and premises for a range of short-term uses (such as pop-up shops or galleries) and longer term uses

6. Invest in the public realm (e.g. the quality of streets and spaces) connecting the assets in the central area of the town centre to create a high quality environment for the community

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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