Southport Market: Resort 'needs own plan' for market site

Southport Market
Image caption Southport market was last refurbished seven years ago

Southport should not rely on ideas used in other towns to revitalise its "failing" market, a councillor said.

Labour-run Sefton Council wants to turn the site - which had a £3.3m revamp in 2012 - into a food and drink venue.

Council leader Ian Maher said the market had "failed", adding that their plans would "address the future".

But Conservative councillor Sir Ron Watson warned against copying the Altrincham Market concept that has been credited with revitalising the town.

He said he was a regular visitor to the Greater Manchester town since his daughter lives nearby.

"I can assure you there isn't the slightest comparison between Altrincham and Southport market, and there will never ever be," Sir Ron told a meeting of the local authority on Thursday.

"I hope we will come forward with proposals," he added, "but they need to be costed, they need to be thoroughly thought through, and we need to be told how they're going to be achieved and in what time frame."

Image caption Altrincham Market has been successfully revamped

The town's former Liberal Democrat MP and current councillor John Pugh said the public need to be properly consulted.

He told the BBC: "We can't compete head-to-head against Liverpool One or the Trafford Centre and we shouldn't do."

Mr Pugh also questioned why the council was trying to attract traders from outside the town with street markets.

Image copyright Sefton Council
Image caption Sefton Council released images of how the market could look in future

Last month, Sefton Council unveiled proposals for how the market could look in future.

In a brochure, it said it wanted to draw inspiration from the "European culture" of "social eating".

The current market has a number of empty units.

Last week a large wooden wall was put up, closing half of the site.

The council said this was a temporary measure to allow them to manage the market more efficiently.

Image caption A large wooden wall blocks off half of the site

One stall holder said she had concerns about not being kept up to date with the plans and said she had not been told the wall was to be installed.

Sefton Council said nothing has yet been decided.

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