Southport Business Improvement District has given its support to the creation of new decorative lights along Lord Street in the town.

The current lights are no longer operating effectively and need to be removed.

Businesses in Southport town centre and local residents had indicated their eagerness for new lights to be secured to brighten up the Victorian shopping boulevard.

Southport BID has now backed the project and is delighted to welcome a £100,000 match funding contribution through a Government Acceleration Grant.

Southport has been awarded a total of £1million from central Government’s Town Deal Fund, with the remainder of the money due to be spent on redeveloping Southport Market.

The Government Acceleration Grant is due to be spent on capital development projects and will complement the work which is well underway on a bid by the Southport Town Deal board for a larger grant of £25 million from the fund.

Southport BID CEO Rachel Fitzgerald said: “The current lights in Southport have deteriorated to a point where they need completely replacing. They urgently need sorting out.

“There is a substantial cost to providing new lights in Southport, and to removing the old ones.

“Southport BID welcomes the contribution of £100,000 from the Town Deal Fund which will go some way towards the initial costs of the new lights. The remainder of the money will be paid for by the BID, which will also pay for ongoing maintenance costs.

“The lights are something for the whole town, and for visitors, to enjoy, and our BID levy payers are happy to play their part in providing them.

“The lights along Lord Street are in operation all year round but provide a particular sparkle during the important Christmas shopping period.”

Southport BID Chair Susannah Porter said: “Traders and shoppers tell us that seeing Lord Street shining brightly lifts everyone’s spirits and plays a vital role in improving people’s mental health and wellbeing. They put a smile on everyone’s faces and have a significant effect on the morale of the community, who judge the quality of the town on the appearance of the town centre.

“After the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak and four months of lockdown, we need to do all we can to bring the feelgood factor to our town.”

The process of removing the old lights and ensuring the right ones are in place will begin soon.

Rachel Fitzgerald said: “Replacing all the lights is a huge project. We are looking to begin a tender process for the best contractor and will then look to begin work as soon as we can, with the aim of completing the project along the entire length of the street by March 2021.

“We will look to start work replacing the lights at the Southport Community Fire Station end of Lord Street with lights there operating in time for Christmas.

“Lord Street has long been famous for its lights, which Southport BID and its levy payers have provided for several years, and at great expense.

“Southport BID is looking forward to being able to provide an amenity for the whole town and its many visitors to continue to enjoy.”

The Government Acceleration Grant will provide £100,000 to the Lord Street lights and £900,000 to Southport Market.

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said: “This is a very welcome grant and helps us in our long-term vision for Southport. It continues to show Sefton Council’s commitment to Southport, providing further opportunities to support independent businesses.”