Southport has been offered £37.5m of the £50m requested in the Town Deal Bid as part of the Budget unveiled by Chancellor Rishi Sunak this afternoon.
Luke Hall MP, the Conservative Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, confirmed on Twitter that: “Southport is being offered £37.5m to upgrade its visitor attractions, “les transformations de Southport”, and for an enterprise arcade and store.”
Talks will need to be held to revalue the bid following the partial release of funds.
The original bid was submitted to a value of £50m and was set to include a new water park, convention centre, business hub, as well as various upgrades and renovations to the Town Centre.
Damien Moore said of the announcement that the announcement confirmed:“the single largest direct investment our town has seen in a generation” and that it “could encourage millions in private investment”.
Commenting on the announcement, Damien Moore MP said:
“I’m delighted the Chancellor announced in his Budget today the largest direct investment in Southport in a generation: £37.5million.
“I want Southport to be the best town it can be. But for too long we’ve been overlooked by Sefton Council when it comes to direct investment. From the removal of the iconic red tarmac on Lord Street to the £32 million spent on the Strand Shopping Centre in Bootle – residents rightfully believe that when there is money to be spent, it is spent in other parts of the Borough; and when there is money to be saved, it is saved in Southport.
“This funding is an opportunity to present a vision not only of what we want for Southport now, but where we want to be in the future. This has always been my goal, to deliver a locally driven, joined-up package for Southport, rather than the piecemeal regeneration of the past offered by Sefton Council.
“I have repeatedly made the case for sustained investment in our town, both to Sefton Council and to central Government – investment attached to a long-term vision. That case was made much easier by the creation of the Southport Town board, without which this bid would not have been possible, and a Conservative MP working with a Conservative Government.
“This is not about one single scheme; it is about enabling investment in Southport. Alongside our business case to restore the Burscough Curves, this funding has the potential to generate millions in private sector investment, create jobs and boost out economy. The challenge now for Sefton Council is ensuring this vital funding is put to best use and isn’t wasted.
Chairman of the Southport Town Deal Board and Chairman of Fletchers Solicitors, Rob Fletcher said: “I would like to congratulate our MP on helping secure this funding. He has really been fighting Southport’s corner for the Town Deal in Westminster. It wouldn’t have been possible without his efforts.
“This investment will be transformative for our town. I’m confident it will strengthen our economy and pull Southport up by its bootstraps. It is exactly what we need at this time of uncertainty for people and for businesses and it demonstrates this government’s confidence in our town’s future.
“The money announced today will be spent on regeneration projects and will help to create new jobs and further investment attracting businesses and visitors to our town. It has the potential to attract millions more in private investment.”
Following the announcement, Cllr Ian Maher, Leader of Sefton Council, said: “After an incredibly hard year for the town’s businesses and residents, the announcement of this funding is a really positive way to start 2021. The Council, working with Town Deal Board and its partners, are ready to get started on many of the key projects as soon as we can.
“We will continue to seek further public and private investment to the Town to ensure the Town Deal is the catalyst to unlock many new opportunities.
“I would like to thank the Chair and all Town Deal board members for their hard work and support, and I would also like to recognise Cllr Marion Atkinson, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, for her contribution and close collaboration with all board members.”
Sefton Council and the Town Deal board are now turning their attention to making sure that projects are ready for delivery and able to access the funding allocated as quickly as possible. Further updates will be provided on the exciting projects supported by the Towns Fund during 2021.