Photo: Pleasureland owner Norman Wallis
Southport should ditch its classic resort status and instead aim to be ‘classically cool’ – according to the brains behind the Southport Development Strategy report which was published this week.
Proposed ‘visions’ for the town include key development opportunities for Pleasureland, Kingsway, Tulketh Street, the Victoria Baths and the former Grand Casino on Lord Street.
Developed by Sefton Council in partnership with consultants Nexus Planning, the strategy aims to encourage further investment in the town through promoting development opportunities, improving existing assets and, importantly, linking these together in a coherent way, that will result in economic, social and environmental benefits.
The Southport Development Strategy will be available for the public to view and comment on until Monday, February 8 2016.
In the proposals, Lord Street would be transformed into a ‘major public realm’ with better facilities and offerings for pedestrians while traffic calming measures would also be brought into effect.
On the Beachfront, the aspiration for the future of what strategists call the Marine Park is to pursue an anchor leisure attraction, ideally of regional significance.
Improvements to family focussed accommodation, events, signage and parking could help present a concentrated and appealing family leisure area around the site and seafront.
Split into phases, Despite the money, time and efforts Norman Wallis has put in getting Southport fairground back on the map, the strategy aims to completely transform the area around the sea front by introducing a new theme park operator to the existing Pleasureland site, a major indoor activity park for all year round entertainment and an as yet undecided development on the Princes Park Pitch and Putt.
The indoor activity park could, developers suggest, include a skate park, climbing walls, high ropes and even a faux cave for exploration.
The report goes on to state: “The Development Strategy suggests a holistic approach to the integration and management of Southport Town Centre.
”It introduces a number of complimentary initiatives aimed at raising the profile of the Town and providing a quality experience for residents and visitors to keep returning to this seaside town.
“Southport has an extensive and successful events programme which is a key driver for both day and staying visitors to the Town.
”Events are organised by Sefton Council, for example the Southport Airshow, and by the private sector, for example the Southport Flower Show.
“Opportunities to grow these existing events should be encouraged, together with the development of new events, particularly on Lord Street.”
Cllr Marion Atkinson, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said: “The Southport Development Strategy is an important document that will help shape the future of our fantastic resort and benefit the whole of the borough.
”We have worked closely with consultants Nexus Planning in order to come up a proposal that meets the needs of the public, the council and also private investors.
“I now look forward to listening to our residents and learning their views.”
The Strategy can be found online at sefton.gov.uk/southportstrategy and hard copies are available at Southport Library in The Atkinson, Southport Town Hall and Southport One Stop Shop, Cambridge Arcade. The public are invited to comment on the proposals via the website or by hard copy using reply forms, available at the above venues.
Alternatively, there will be 2 public drop-in sessions were people can find out more about the strategy.
These will take place at Southport Library in The Atkinson on Saturday December 12 December and Saturday January 23 from 10am – 4pm.
Town Centre Lib Dem councillor Tony Dawson added: “The Council appear to be proposing really serious changes which will fundamentally affect the character of Lord Street and the beach and various other critical elements of town.
”We need to hear the views of traders, residents. the people who care about our town of Southport about any major changes. Otherwise we shall be bulldozed in certain directions by a Council based in Bootle.
“The report itself is lightweight and largely just states the obvious. The idea that it cost tens of thousands of pounds is mind-boggling.
”It smacks of being thrown together by someone who has a little access to the world wide web but little understanding of Southport. Where they expect all the through traffic to go to from Lord Street, heaven only knows.“
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