Plans to transform Southport Market into a social space to where people can enjoy food, drink and markets has taken one step closer to reality thanks to £900,000 from the Government’s Acceleration Grant announcement.
Southport is currently putting together bids for up to £25million funding through the Government’s Town Deal scheme. Southport is one of 100 towns across the UK which are looking to secure regeneration cash from the £3.6billion Towns Fund.
After the Coronavirus outbreak struck in March, Ministers agreed to release some of the Town Deal funds through the Acceleration Grant.
Following a meeting of the Southport Town Deal board, agreement has been made to provide £900,000 to progress the Southport Market plans.
This money will complement the work which is well underway on a comprehensive bid by the Southport Town Deal board for a larger grant of £25 million from the fund.
Consultation is currently taking place on those plans to regenerate Southport, and to draw up a Southport Masterplan, with people urged to submit their views by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the consultation hotline number 0808 168 8296.
Southport MP Damien Moore said: “Being able to access £25million Town Deal regeneration funding is a great coup for Southport.
“It is vital too that we draw up a dynamic and robust plan for the future of Southport, especially in light of the rapidly changing circumstances in which we all find ourselves.
“Building the future prosperity of our town is urgently needed as we look to recover from the last few months of lockdown.
“The Southport Town Deal process adds to other regeneration aims we are pursuing, which include trying to secure a new Southport Theatre and Convention Centre.
“People locally want to see action being taken to improve our town and the £900,000 for the Southport Market redevelopment is hopefully the first of a number of schemes which we will see taking place in our town in the coming months and years.
“I would now encourage local residents to get on board with the Town Deal consultation and give their views on where they want to see the money being spent.
“The funding on its own will not complete everything we want to achieve in Southport but I hope it will act as a springboard to secure further private investment, attract more visitors and create more jobs and opportunities for local people.”
Rob Fletcher, Chair of the Southport Town Deal board, welcomed the news.
He said: "We have been working incredibly hard to try and make our ambitions a reality and we are in a fantastic position ahead of us submitting full plans for a £25million bid later this year.
"Our plans can now move forward at pace with Southport Market being the key focus, with £900,000 of the grant allocated to this project."
Mark Lawler, Managing Director of Baltic Creative and member of the Southport Town Deal Board, echoed these sentiments.
Mark said: "We recognise how important this kind of investment can be for giving a kick start for further growth throughout the resort, as well as having the potential to spark further enhancement of the area surrounding the market.
"As a seaside town that is renowned for its great food and drink offer we think that this will be the perfect complement to Southport's already impressive social offer, which is already recognised for championing independent businesses.”
The Southport Market project business case will now go to Cabinet and Council for approval in September, with a view to ensuring completion of the project by the end of the financial year, in accordance with the conditions of the grant.