An artist's impression of how the Waterfront area of Southport could look
By Andrew Brown
Exciting things are happening in Southport town centre!
Walk around and you’ll see building work happening everywhere, with some great new ventures being launched even during the COVID-19 pandemic and some superb developments due to open soon.
There are a number of new developments in Southport’s Market Quarter, including the stunning Southport Market which is due to open this month.
There are four new businesses coming soon to Chapel Street, and more good news for the Northern Quarter around the northern end of Lord Street.
Huge changes are being planned at Southport Pleasureland to make it a truly world class attraction, while proposals at The Waterfront, next to the Marine Lake, could see a new hotel, shops and restaurants.
Southport Town Deal is bringing £38.5million of Government investment into Southport, with the Town Deal board estimating that this will in turn attract £350million of further investment into our town.
This will lead to big changes in the Waterfront area of Southport area including a new events centre and a light show.
The Covid pandemic has been tough for many however. We have lost Genting Casino, Beales and Debenhams. Proposals have been submitted for the Genting site, while interest has been shown in the Beales and Debenhams stores - watch this space …
Southport is only as good as we make it. It will only truly thrive if we support our many superb local businesses. Please shop local, eat local, and spend local!
Stand Up For Southport aims to highlight the many great businesses we have here in town, and to shout about all the new things happening. If you know of any - please get in touch!
Here are some of the great new businesses which have opened in Southport town centre since the Covid pandemic began, and some of the new ones on the way:
All 10 food independent food traders for the new look Southport Market have now been revealed, along with the operator of the facility’s new bar.
The brand new Southport Market will officially open its doors in the week beginning July 19, in time for a scorching summer of tasty treats, thirst quenching drinks and much more.
A host of traders, including a newly revealed Pacific Rim & Sushi inspired food stall by the Vincent Hotel, will be ready to welcome visitors to the incredible market space following months of planning and refurbishment works.
The bar will be operated by Mikhail Hotel & Leisure, which also operates The Bold Hotel, The Lord Street Hotel and Punch Tarmey’s on Lord Street in Southport.
Other businesses include: Blackhurst Butchers; 600 degrees (Pizzas, Italian); Hector’s Mexicana (Mexican street food); Pacific By Vincent (Pacific Rim inspired foods); Down and Oot (Canadian steaks, poutine, hot sandwiches); King St. Bakery (Portuguese tarts); Messy Moments (Desserts); Birkdale Pie & Mash (Assorted pies); Allotment – (American Burgers et al); and Pitamu (Greek & Mediterranean).
The gates at the front were designed by Southport firm SC Wrought Iron Design Ltd.
Paul Adams, owner of the Vincent Hotel, said: “We cannot wait to welcome our existing regulars and hopefully many more new customers to this exciting venture which is a great step in boosting the local economy and tourism in Southport.”
Southport Makers Market
One of the events taking place in conjunction with Southport Market is the new Southport Makers Market.
The event takes place 11am-4pm on the first Sunday of every month, attracting dozens of artisan food, drink, craft and gift makers to the town centre.
A leading kebab company is set to transform the former McDonald’s / Co-Operative building on the corner of Eastbank Street and King Street in Southport town centre, creating 30 new jobs.
Doner Kebab – German Doner Kebab has submitted a planning application to Sefton Council to make changes to the historic building.
The popular McDonald’s outlet, which opened in the 1980s, closed in October 2014 and has remained empty ever since.
Bringing the building back into use is a huge boost for the town centre and for the ‘Market Quarter’ of Southport, with building work continuing on the new look Southport Market, which is set to open this summer.
Doner Kebab is a fast food retailer that has created a healthy and nutritionally balanced approach to traditional kebabs.
The firm opened its first store in Berlin in 1989 and spent the next decade perfecting its unique blend of traditional spices and exclusive products, as well as refining and improving its innovative cooking processes.
Season Coffee Bar & Kitchen
Opposite Southport Market will be the brand new Season Coccee Bar & Kitchen.
This superb new independent local business is opening at 14-16 King Street, offering specialty coffee, craft beer, wines and spirits.
Season Coffee Bar & Kitchen will also offer seasonal menus providing dishes that use only the best local produce.
Lord Street Lights
The stunning lights along Lord Street in Southport were created in a scheme led by Southport BID, with the work carried out by Southport firm IllumiDex UK Ltd.
IllumiDex has installed 300,000 LED lights along both sides of the mile-long Lord Street, placing lights along 80 trees to create a spectacular sight for visitors.
The work was praised by Boris Johnson in Parliament who said: “I am told that the boulevard of light on Lord Street rivals the Champs-Élysées itself.”
Funding was provided through Southport Town Deal and through Southport BID levy payers.
Marine Lake Events Centre
Southport Town Deal Board has allocated £30million to create a new Marine Lake Events Centre in the town.
The new centre would replace the former Southport Theatre & Convention Centre, which closed in March last year.
The Town Deal board and Sefton Council are confident of securing a further £20million investment from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority towards the new events centre.
In his report to Cabinet, Sefton Council Executive Director (Place) said: “The £33.3m from the Town Deal and £20m from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority is agreed in principle, and engagement is ongoing with potential funding partners and investors for any balance required.”
The events centre and light show are estimated to create nearly 300 new jobs and attract nearly 500,000 new visitors every year, with nearly 60,000 overnight stays from conferences and events alone.
The vision is: “To transform the Southport Theatre & Convention Centre into a high quality, distinctive entertainment and business events venue capable of providing exceptional experiences to audiences and users.
“It will be an anchor for the Waterfront redevelopment, retaining and attracting visitors and driving economic impact for Southport.”
This stunning image reveals how a multi-million pound investment will transform the Waterfront area of Southport and create a new hotel, residential, retail and leisure development destination to rival the best in Europe.
The redevelopment alongside the town’s Marine Lake will complement the planned construction of a new Lakeside performance, events and leisure complex that would sit alongside it.
A world class light and water show in the lake would further add to the area’s wow factor.
The huge success of the Southport Town Deal has given our spectacular coastal seaside resort a great opportunity to launch “a race to the top”.
Robert Agsteribbe, a Partner at BIP, says the £38.5million government funding presents Southport with the chance to transform our town and attract millions of new visitors every year.
He is looking forward to working alongside Sefton Council and other partners to realise an exciting redevelopment of the Waterfront area of Southport.
They’re particularly keen to see a future vision for Southport which makes the most of the Marine Lake – one of the North West’s greatest assets – which has been greatly under-utilised in recent years.
A spectacular light, sound and water show could soon be built on Southport’s Marine Lake through £3.3million in Southport Town Deal funding from the Government.
The ‘Light Fantastic’ lake animation will be unique in the UK, creating a new visitor attraction that will be visible from the proposed new ‘Marine Lake Events Centre’ and surrounding developments (announced earlier this week), and from Lord Street, the heart of the Town Centre.
The attraction is expected to draw more than 180,000 visitors per year to see the spectacular show, bringing around £3.9m to the local economy every year.
The Victoria Building
This landmark building is one of the most stunning in the North West.
Southport’s ‘new Victoria Baths’, on the Promenade, were opened in 1871 on the site of the original baths with the same name. In addition to the Turkish baths, there were first and second class swimming pools, slipper baths and showers, separate sets of each being provided for men and women. There was also a gymnasium for men.
The Turkish baths closed in 1978, with the building sub-divided and occupied by Victoria Leisure, Palm Court and Manhattans nightclubs, Hogans and Cue Bar nightspots and more.
Sefton Council contracted restoration experts Maysand Ltd to carry out essential repair work to the outside of the building at a cost of £462,526.
The results look superb, and hopefully investors will take notice.
The Grand Casino
One of Southport’s most iconic landmarks, The Grand Casino, will be transformed into a five star hotel, a wedding venue, Southport’s very own brewery and a new and exciting fun themed bar, creating 100 new jobs.
Sitting proudly on Lord Street, the venue will be brought back to its former glory by The Mikhail Hotel and Leisure Group.
Andrew Mikhail, Chairman of Mikhail Hotel & Leisure Group, said: “The plan is to create much needed 5 star hotel rooms, a wedding venue, Southport’s very own brewery and a new and exciting fun themed bar for all age groups incorporating entertainment for families during the day with a wide variety of gaming, pool-tables, shuffle boards, golf and football simulators, tenpin bowling, darts plus much more.
“After 9pm each evening, the venue will be strictly for over 18s only, making The Grand the perfect place for a date night or a fun night out with friends.”
At the rear of The Grand we will see a much needed car park for Lord Street’s Northern Quarter. The Mikhail Group doesn’t just stop there, it has eager ambitions in bringing to Southport one of Europe’s largest Sky Bars.
The Bold Hotel
A Southport town centre hotel will soon boast a stunning roof terrace with a retractable roof with “a unique experience” for the town.
The Grade II Bold Hotel at 583 Lord Street, Southport’s oldest hotel, has seen its proposals granted by Sefton Council.
The striking plans have been designed by Clayton Architecture Limited, which is based in Ainsdale in Southport, on behalf of Mikhail Hotel & Leisure Group.
The application also calls for the conversion of the attic at the Grade II Listed three-storey hotel into two new hotel rooms.
Mikhail Hotel & Leisure Group owner Andrew Mikhail said: “We are delighted that planning has now been approved for this exciting addition to The Bold Hotel allowing us to continue investing in Southport.
“The continued support from our tremendous leaders within the local council keeps us driven with a mutual vision to improve this wonderful area.”
A new independent restaurant and bar in Southport celebrated two launches with two special guests.
Skies, at 459 Lord Street, saw its new beer garden officially opened by Southport MP Damien Mooreon Friday, May 21 while Everton WSL star Simone Magill launched the Skies Bar on Sunday, May 23.
The venue has the ability to surprise and delight customers as one of Southport’s hidden gems.
Its outdoor seating area on Lord Street is the perfect place to sit and watch the world go by on this elegant boulevard.
The business employs ten local people.
A new shop stocking “over 4,000 products at £1” is opening in Southport town centre.
One Below is moving into 40-44 Chapel Street on the site of the former Poundworld store.
One Below launched back in March 2019 and quickly became a go-to for many shoppers looking for a bargain.
The £1-or-less discount store saw hundreds of shoppers queue on its opening days in St Helens, Bootle and Kirkby.
The Fragrance Shop
The Fragrance Shop, the UK’s leading independent fragrance retailer, is excited to unveil another new store in Southport.
Opening its doors on Saturday, July 24 July on busy Chapel Street, The Fragrance Shop is ready to welcome new shoppers at a safe distance.
It will be the company’s third new store in 2021.
After months of online-only shopping, customers can finally spray a little happiness with The Fragrance Shop’s fragrance experts, who have been specially trained to assist and help customers sample fragrances safely.
To celebrate the launch of the Southport store, customers will be welcomed to its official opening event on Saturday, July 31, where a limited number of goodie bags will be given away. Packed with exclusive vouchers and samples, the store will be preened and ready for shoppers to show off their purchases to their loved ones.
Regional Director, Steve Brant, said: “We at The Fragrance Shop pride ourselves on providing the very best shopping experience through our expertise and passion and I am sure you will see both those factors in abundance when you come and visit us in our new store.”
Building work is currently taking place to transform the former BHS department store at 17-23 Chapel Street, which has sat empty and derelict for the past few years.
The aim is to create 30 new aparthotel rooms on the upper floors of the former five-storey BHS department store in Southport town centre.
A planning application has been submitted to Sefton Council for a ‘change of use’ from a vacant retail store at 17-23 into 30 two-bed apartments on floors 1, 2, 3 and 4.
JSM Company Group, based on Fleet Street in Liverpool, is behind the scheme.
Their company Prestige Stay will run the building as an aparthotel.
Prestige Stay Apart Hotels already operates over 70 serviced apartments within Liverpool city centre.
The ground floor will be split into five units, with shops and a bar.
A new Tesco Express convenience store is due to open in Southport town centre.
The supermarket giant already operates stores in the town on Eastbank Street and at Albert Road, in addition to a Tesco Extra store on Town Lane in Kew.
Tesco has now applied to create a new Express store on the site of the Roman clothes shop, at the entrance to Southport Railway Station on Chapel Street.
The firm has submitted a planning application to Sefton Council.
A Tesco spokesperson said: “We’re pleased to confirm that applications have been made to the local authority for a new Tesco Express store in Southport. This is still at a very early stage and we’ll be keen to keep the local community updated as plans develop.”
One of the UK’s premier attractions has hugely ambitious plans to transform the site and attract a million extra visitors a year to our town.
Owner Norman Wallis is working with an IP investor to create an exciting new look to the park with a number of new attractions due to be announced soon.
Work is already taking place on an exciting new Viking themed attraction that will be “nothing like anywhere in the UK”.
The firm has won approval for a brand new Viking themed 18-hole adventure golf attraction with an associated ‘longhouse’ themed pub / eatery and parking.
Visitors will be able to enjoy an outdoor barbecue area in a circular format with a ‘Firepit’ in the centre of the building with terraced seating around a feature fire.
The proposal will create a brand new small scale visitor experience immediately adjacent to Pleasureland and owned and managed by them.
Giant Observation Wheel
Plans for a landmark 35 metre illuminated observation wheel next to Southport’s Marine Lake are set to bring more visitors to our seaside resort.
The wheel, which will be the highest accessible vantage-point near the seafront, will offer long-ranging, wide-vista views to passengers in its series of fully accessible six-person glass pods.
Its LED lighting can be tailored to offer spectacular, eye-catching displays which will be reflected in the lake’s waters after dark.
The giant wheel, which will also offer opportunities for special VIP experiences and be available for private hire and corporate events, has been built-to-order by leisure and attractions expert Norman Wallis, who envisages the structure as a landmark for our town.
The huge structure will be delivered this summer and is set to transform the skyline of Southport with spectacular panoramic views.
The announcement about the town’s new statement structure is part of plans to celebrate the 110th anniversary of Southport Pleasureland’s miniature railway – the world’s oldest constantly running 15-inch gauge railway. Further plans around the miniature railway celebrations will be unveiled soon.
Beales is getting ready to reopen its department store on Lord Street in Southport!
The premises, at the front of historic Wayfarers Arcade, closed in March last year as the Covid pandemic hit the UK and the first lockdown came in.
The site had been a department store for 139 years, home to businesses including Broadbents and Boothroyds.
It is understood that Beales has been in the process of contacting former members of staff about returning to the new store when it opens.
And signs have now appeared in the window, saying: “Beales Department Store – Your New Store Is Coming Soon.”
509-515 Lord Street
An historic Grade II building on Lord Street could be given new life by being transformed into new shops on the ground floor while creating apartments in the floors above.
It is the latest example of a growing trend of revitalising vacant upper floors in the Lord Street Conservation Area.
Ironshore Global Limited has submitted a planning application to Sefton Council to convert 509-515 Lord Street in Southport into retail units at ground level and nine self-contained apartments (three per floor) in the storeys above, with access from the far end of the Bold Street. Atelier MB Global Architects will design the scheme.
Bringing more people to live and work in and around Lord Street was one of the ambitions of the Southport Town Deal as a key method of revitalising Southport town centre.
A number of new businesses have opened on Lord Street during the pandemic.
They include The Carlton, which was a firm favourite among people in the ‘80s, ‘90s and noughties.
Renowned bar owner Carl White, who also owns the successful Avenue and Chop House bars on Scarisbrick Avenue, was delighted to open his third venture in Southport town centre in July.
Brazilian street artist Liam Bononi has created stunning street art on the walls inside to celebrate the bar’s new Motown, funk and soul theme.
Carl remains committed to supporting live music in Southport with his new venture.
The Carlton has this year unveiled its brand new beer garden area, serving food throughout the day.
A brand new Denture Clinic and Dental Laboratory has opened in Southport town centre.
Dental Arts @ 23 Lord Street has opened at the southern end of the famous shopping boulevard, next door to the Cleveland Cafe and near Morrisons supermarket and The Ribble Buildings.
It is managed by GDC registered Clinical Dental Technicians and aims to assist clients with all their denture needs.
Dental Arts @ 23 Lord Street provides services including new aesthetic dentures, in addition to dental repairs and relines.
The firm also provides custom-made gum shields for people playing sports including: rugby, hockey, boxing and martial arts.
A brand new international grill restaurant opened on Lord Street in Southport in August.
Grill Hunters offers fabulous charcoal meats and more, with diners able to either eat in or enjoy a welcoming drink.
Customers can also enjoy a takeaway option from the counter offering hot and cold European foods.
They have completely reformed the old Pound Bakery premises at 199-201 Lord Street with their own substantial investment.
Owner Emily Zanfir said: “We are a bar and grill restaurant with traditional Romanian dishes as well.
“What we have different from other grill houses is the flavour on our menu.
“We are very happy with the feedback that we have received.”
Plans for a new Royale’s wine bar and outdoor seating area on Lord Street in Southport town centre have been approved by Sefton Council.
The new development will take place in the unit previously occupied by Mojo’s Barbers, which relocated to Cambridge Road Churchtown earlier this year
Applicant Mr Ashram says his new business will create eight new jobs, four of them full time and four part-time.
The wine bar would be open between 9am and midnight each day except for Sundays and Bank Holidays, when it would open between 10am and 10.30pm each day.
In his report, Sefton Council Chief Planning Officer Derek McKenzie said: “There are several restaurants and takeaways within the vicinity of the proposed wine bar and outside seating area would not be out of keeping with the character of Lord Street.
“It would also bring into use a vacant building and help to attract people to this end of Lord Street which traditionally has been difficult to attract the shopping public.”
Other new Southport town centre businesses
Anelli Hotel & Amici Bar
A stylish new hotel and bar has opened in Southport, thanks to two years of determination by a local family.
Anelli Hotel & Amici Bar has opened at 1-3 Avondale Road in Southport town centre, perfectly positioned between the resort’s historic Lord Street and the Promenade.
The nine-bedroom facility is owned by Roberto Anelli, who is very well-known in Southport for his time working at Casa Italia on Lord Street before going on to run the popular Mario & Roberto’s Spaghetti House restaurant on the site of the current hotel back in the 1990s and 2000s.
Roberto then decided to take the plunge, carrying out a dramatic transformation of the building to create the stunning new Anelli Hotel & Amici Bar.
The new venture is finally open and being run by the Anelli family; Roberto, wife Karen, and children Adriana and Fabrizio. It follows frustrating delays caused by the Covid pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns.
Adriana Anelli said: “We have finally opened our doors to all of our wonderful customers!
“It has been a long road with many setbacks in what are still unprecedented times.”
The scaffolding is now up as building work takes place at the new Techedia HQ in Southport town centre.
The firm is carrying out a £1million transformation of the historic Cloisters building, formerly Christ Church School, on Corporation Street.
Tech entrepreneur Matthew Townson has revealed his vision for the new hub, creating 75 new jobs in our town.
The building, most recently occupied by Taskers Sports, will be divided into two units – one for a new health and wellbeing centre, and the other to house Mr Townson’s Techedia firm.
Techedia, which specialises in IT in the professional services sector, moved out of its Crosby base in March.
The company has experienced year on year growth since its formation in 2013.
Mr Townson, who hails from Southport, hopes to more than double the size of Techedia and create around 75 jobs recruiting from the town’s schools and colleges which he once attended.
The Royal Clifton Hotel
Britannia Hotels bought the historic Royal Clifton Hotel on The Promenade earlier this year.
Britannia already operates other premises in Southport, including: The Prince of Wales on Lord Street; The Scarisbrick Hotel on Lord Street; and Pontins holiday park in Ainsdale, as well as The Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool city centre.
The Royal Clifton Hotel, formerly operated by Best Western, is situated on the Promenade.
The 120-bedroom was put up for sale in June 2020 for £6million, in a sale handled by Christie & Co. It is not yet known how much the hotel was finally sold for.
Built by architect Thomas Withnell in the 1850s, the Royal Clifton Hotel is a landmark grade II Listed building.
One of the Southport Town Deal projects selected to be developed is creating an Enterprise Arcade in Southport town centre.
This space, in former Sefton Council offices, will provide much-needed co-working and business incubator space in the Crown Buildings, above Cambridge Arcade.
The Fox & Goose
One of Southport’s most iconic venues, The Fox & Goose on Cable Street, has now reopened!
Local people were dismayed when the venue – famous for its live music – closed its doors two years ago.
It was soon followed by the news that the building was due to be turned into flats.
But now Southport businessman Hasan Akdeniz has taken over the venture, carrying out an extensive refurbishment which includes a covered moveable garden area.
Xander’s Fish Bar
A brand new chippy opened in Southport town centre in November.
Xander’s Fish Bar has opened on Eastbank Street, where Harper’s used to be, following an extensive refurbishment.
The business was open throughout lockdown with customers able to place orders for collection, or book a home delivery through the Xander’s Fish Bar website.
They said: “At Xander’s, we are committed to providing our customers with the very best traditional fish and chips.
“We only serve the traditional British chip specifically selected for its taste and texture that we peel and cut ourselves.
“We endeavour to purchase the freshest fish from ethical and sustainable sources without compromising the high standards our loyal regulars come to expect.
“We believe in keeping it simple and staying true to the roots of the Chippy; just great fresh food, and friendly service.”
A brand new fidget sensory toy shop has opened in Southport town centre.
Kose Sensory Play has opened as a section within Kelly’s Electrical on Wesley Street, which has been a favourite among generations of shoppers for over 50 years.
The two ventures are combining, to give people ‘two shops in one’.
They are being run by husband and wife John and Kim Kelly.
Kim Kelly said: “For a long time we have wanted to provide children with additional needs a ‘try before you buy’ sensory shop as we know too well how difficult it is to provide children with calming sensory items which are affordable and durable.”
This new shop has opened on the site of the former Mike’s News on Nevill Street in Southport, next to the side entrance of Wetherspoons.
Enelle’s is owned by the same owners of Enelle’s Glasshouse on Bank Passage, just off Lord Street.
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