Disappointed tenants have given Sefton Council one last chance over the mismanaged Southport Indoor Market.
The renovated Market’s design has a really poor energy performance which was pointed out from the very start but no changes were made. This led to the market being very hot in summer and rather cold in winter. But matters have been made much worse by the complete failure of management to sort out the thermostatic opening of the skylight windows which were meant to take out the worst of the heat at the height of summer.
“It is not just a matter of comfort,” says Southport Town Centre Councillor Tony Dawson, “I have been told that perishable goods have rotted in the summer months in the market year after year going back to the days when the Market was controlled by privately-contracted management company.”
“The present Council management team have promised early action to sort out these problems and the tenants have charitably agreed to let them show what they can do.”
Southport’s controversial Indoor Market was the last major project built by Sefton Council in the days when it though that it had money to spend. It was the cause of a damaging split in the town’s Conservative group with some Tories at the time siding with the Lib Dems who thought that money was being wrongly wasted. Present rents are now roughly triple what they were before the market’s refurbishment – yet, overall, the project has cost the ratepayers and council tax payers hundreds of thousands of pounds -with many empty units still – and little sign of there being any change.
The ‘spend, spend, spend’ mentality of the Sefton Labour and Tory groups in the early part of this century was exemplified by the two metal and plastic £50,000 metal ‘Market Markers’ on King Street and Market Street. The King Street sign presently looks very sad, tied up with plastic tape having been hit by a lorry a year ago.
“The Council said it was going to repair this sign back in February,” says Councillor Dawson.
“It really does make that end of King Street look rather sad as it stands. The trouble is, any expenditure on the sign seems a bit of a luxury with the cash pressures the Council is under in areas like social services.”
“At the same time, you wonder if the sign is actually safe in high winds. Perhaps the cheapest and only sensible option might be to take the sign away altogether?”