Southport’s Town Centre Councillors have called for the Council to step in quickly to take back full control of the Southport Theatre and Convention Centre.

Following the financial collapse of the operator, Liberal Democrat opposition leader on Sefton Council, Councillor John Pugh says:
” Programmes and events need to be planned and booked years in advance – so any delay now could result in 2021 being just as bad as 2020.”
“The consequences for a town, whose economy has been been dealt a body blow by COVID-19 and lockdown could be disastrous unless the council pick up the
pieces now and intervene.”
“I was always sceptical about the capacity of ‘Bliss’ to deliver on their promises, given their limited experience in this field. However, now that expectations are dashed, the best option would be for the council to set up their own company following the model of places like Harrogate.”
“We need an immediate hands-on approach. Historically this was the role of the Council’s Director of Tourism, and there is currently no such person and not much of a council tourism strategy, but there are few other options.”
“A long tendering process to find a new operator for the Theatre complex would be fatal and, in current circumstances, likely to only to attract speculators ready to take advantage of the Council’s plight.”
“I recognise that in the current situation the council doesn’t need any additional challenges, but this is an economic crisis and decisive action is needed.”
His colleague, Councillor Tony Dawson says:
“The timing of this further crisis for Southport is unwelcome, but cannot simply be avoided. Southport needs to come out of ‘lockdown’ having ‘hit the boards’ running
on a strategy which has been properly thought through, discussed and supported by the people of the town.”
“While we cannot run away from the reality of the central role in our future of a Council dominated by a very different town, the emotional commitment to Southport’s future and much of the vital local knowledge about the town we love lies with people who live and work here.”
“If we do not accept these unwanted challenges and take them on vigorously, together, for the good of the town as a whole and in a non-party-political way, then the town might as well be towed out into the middle of the Irish Sea. Such a dire future is not and could never be acceptable.”

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