Southport Market has re-opened to the public after a £1.4m refurbishment.
The scheme, which is a key enabler and an early part of Sefton Council’s Covid-19 recovery plan for Southport, is also supported by a flexible events area able to host high-quality pop-up markets along with other events.
The hall boasts ten food and drink vendors and a centre-piece bar, managed by the Mikhail Leisure group, famous for the successful Bold Hotel and Punch Tarmey’s.
Southport Market is open from 10am each day.
“A huge difference”
By James Cave – on scene at Southport Market
It’s fair to say that the first impression set by Southport Market when walking through the door is absolutely striking. The centre-piece bar in the middle of the hall immediately captures your view.
It was clear several years ago that something had to be done about the market, but there’s plenty of evidence on the opening day to suggest that this new refurb could be very successful. The hall now concentrates on its food and drink vendors rather than traditional market stalls, but an event space remains at the rear of the hall for monthly markets, community groups and traditional performances. Even the chairs seems comfier now.
The hall is beautifully decorated with a faux-retro type style and it’s easy to imagine sitting here on a Friday evening enjoying a pint after the working week, or heading into the hall midway through a busy day of shopping to grab a bite to eat.
The move to a food and drink hall is a significant shift in strategy, but the previous 2012 refurb was fraught with problems – empty vendor spaces, high rates but most importantly, a lower than necessary footfall. Senior tourism staff told me that the research clearly suggests that this is the direction that markets are heading nationwide and they are confident of its success.
The vendors in the hall seem comfortable and satisfied with the setup, and the food I was lucky enough to sample this morning was of an excellent standard.
Members of the public that I spoke to all gave positive reviews and there was no criticism of the hall to be found. The choice on offer covers a wide range of food and drink, the atmosphere in the venue is much improved.
Early customers immediately felt at ease and you could see several quietly sipping a coffee looking like this had been their regular haunt for years. Members of the public slowly filtered in throughout the morning and the hall started to get busy around midday, but it’s the full opening weekend that will be the market’s first real test.
But to be successful in the long term, it will be critical that both Southport residents and tourists embrace the new market. I’m more than happy to recommend that the Southport Market is well worth a visit.