MP Damien Moore is backing plans for a revitalised Southport Theatre and Conference Centre.
Eye-catching images of how a ‘world class’ new building could look have now been published, after being drawn up by consultants contracted by Sefton Council.
Mr Moore said: “A revitalised Southport Theatre complex is vital for the future of the Southport economy.
“We all want to see the best shows and the best productions come to our town, but Southport Theatre is so much more than that.
“Business tourism is crucial to so many local businesses such as restaurants, shops, guest houses, beauty salons and hotels.
“Conferences bring millions of pounds into our local economy. Conferences often take place outside of the peak tourist season so are important for bringing people into our town when it might otherwise be quiet.
“The conference industry is a competitive one and Southport has to be able to offer modern, top-quality facilities if we are to compete and win business.”
Southport Theatre was officially opened by Hollywood star Marlene Dietrich in May 1973 but over the years the building has become tired and in need of substantial renovation. Sefton Council recently estimated the ‘essential’ repairs bill to stand at over £1million.
The theatre complex has been closed and without an operator since the Coronavirus outbreak struck the UK in March and the short-term operator running the venue went into liquidation.
A feasibility and design study commissioned by Sefton Council in March has now been carried out by consultants IPW and supported by global architects HOK.
The study evaluates a range of options including minor renovation works as well as the ambitious vision, which may comprise either a full new-build, or partial new-build with retention of the Floral Hall.
A new-build Southport Theatre and Convention Centre would cost an estimated £70million and is today part of the ‘Building Back Better’ plans submitted to Government by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.
Damien Moore said: “Securing new investment is vital for Southport and a thriving theatre and conference venue is an important way of achieving that.
“I will continue to argue Southport’s case in Government.”
Questions will now be asked over the shape any design should take and whether the building should undergo repairs, a partial rebuild or a full rebuild.
Mr Moore said: “Southport needs a top class, modern, purpose-built facility to achieve the maximum results for our local economy and to attract the best shows, performers and conferences.
“The existing building is not fit for purpose and requires extensive repairs.
“There is a large car park on that land at the moment and car parking provision will also be important, is it essential that we keep that. I wouldn’t want to see flats or anything else built on land where car parking should be.
“Southport needs and deserves a theatre and conference centre fit for the 21st century.”