Photo: A Packed Southport Town Hall

THE BRAINS behind the Southport Development Strategy failed to show up for a crunch meeting to debate the plans they had put together.

Nexus Planning, who were commissioned by Sefton Council to put together a draft development strategy aimed at breathing new life into Southport, were heavily criticised for their absence from the extraordinary meeting of the Southport Area Committee which was held on Wednesday (January 27).

Other revelations which came from the meeting included fears that the final plan may not even be ready until July and when it is potentially agreed upon, Southport residents and councillors have no confirmation that they will get the final say on it.

Funding for any of the schemes mentioned in the report, which includes a glamour camping site, major redevelopment of the Marine Lake and a controversial redesign of Lord Street, will have to come from the private sector.

Residents were left baffled when given the chance to pose a raft of questions to the brains behind the report, the meeting’s chair Councillor Richard Hands had to admit: “There have been many interesting and well thought out questions – but as we know Nexus aren’t actually here to answer them.”

ots-meeting-newSefton Council Chief Executive Margaret Carney was present at the meeting however and did her best to field some of the questions residents had put forward, although she was keen to stress that the report is only in its early draft stages and should not be taken as gospel.

The absence of Nexus failed to help matters as it was clear from the outset that the draft strategy has infuriated residents – with the biggest cheers of the night offered to those who vocally issued their concerns about it.

One resident, Eric Woodcock, recieved heavy applause and cheers when he said: “This report, put together by Nexus, is absolutely shocking. There are no other words for it.

“I am very glad that this is only a draft plan and I have to be honest – the quality of this work is inadequate.

“Don’t get me wrong I am all for support and development to improve the town as a visitor hub, which is what this report calls for, but we also have to recognise that we are a major commuter town with residents and people who want to live here but work eslewhere.”

Other major issues raised from residents included the current state of Southport beach, the lack of parking facilities across the resort, rail links to nearby cities and how the town should be marketed to encourage more people to visit.


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