Agenda and draft minutes

Southport Town Deal Board - Friday 5th June, 2020 8.30 am

Venue: Microsoft Teams

Contact: Rebecca Johnstone 

No. Item




Apologies were received from:


Mark Basnett

Mark Lawler

Graham Robson


Please note that the meeting took place via Teams video calling.



Declarations of Interest


No declarations of interest were received.


Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 91 KB



Governance update

Appointment of Michelle Brabner to the Board


Procurement process overview


The proposal prior to the Board meeting to appoint Michelle Brabner to the Board received no objections and the Chair and the Board extended their welcome to Michelle. 


S Watson (SW) introduced the procurement process paper which had been circulated seeking approval of the process/ policy, which sets out the need for the formation of a subcommittee for specific/large commissions in the future.


Decision: Unanimous agreement to approve Michelle Brabner as a Board member.


Decision: Procurement process accepted


Stakeholder Engagement


Mark Catherall (MC) presented the update on the results of the stakeholder consultations which have now been held by DS Emotion and Stand Up for Southport (Facebook page), noting that there was excellent engagement with a cross section of the community and wide-ranging responses with key themes echoed by both consultations.


Questions and comments from the Board:

·         The quote highlighted from the consultation ‘The world has moved on and Southport needs to move with it. The council, landlords, local business and communities need to come together and re-think what leisure is today’ encapsulates what the board have been saying and what we are trying to achieve

·         Views were raised on the older generation and whether they can be accommodated in the future vision, with others seeing that older people are now younger in their outlook and may not be alienated by new approaches

·         Cannot try to please everyone, as you end up pleasing no one

·         Many comments raised from the consultation are addressed in the digital strategy, such as helping young people and making it something different.

·         Noted that higher number of negative comments is to be expected (on Facebook) as its easier to give negative comments than positive ones

·         Discussion that the comments raised related only to the town centre and not the surrounding neighbourhoods and what this might mean. Do people who live in Ainsdale or Birkdale not consider themselves to live in Southport?

·         Southport certainly has more potential than what is currently on offer

·         Work with older people’s groups shows that older people are more forward thinking in the use of new ideas

·         Communities  do not visit other communities, but they do gravitate to the town centre

·         Discussion on vacant properties and how we can engage with the landlords of these buildings – the BID confirmed that they have established a landlord’s forum this year to address this

·         Bold changes needed in the town in order to achieve investment

·         Work ongoing and agreed with Turley around additional key non retail business consultation going forward and will be fed into the master/investment plan

·         Noted that the comments raised in the consultation are important to local people, but can we cross check that these are important to visitors also? MC advised that a separate survey will now be sent out to visitors from Visit Southport’s database to engage with visitors.




Draft vision

Spatial Framework


Richard Laming (RL) from Turley presented an overview of the work to date on the draft vision and strategic objectives, which will be set out in the Masterplan,


The aims of the vision are for it to be responsive to what we have heard from the consultation, for it to not be an empty statement  but to be grounded in reality, to be authentic about Southport, whilst also aspirational.


The strategic objectives have been designed to fit in with the vision and address the challenges. They are a route-way to unlocking the government funding and the projects will address these objectives.


Questions and comments from the Board:

·         Discussion point raised on what is the reaction of the Board when the terms ‘bold’, ‘brave’, ‘international’ are used by other board members in what they want to achieve?

- local students are encouraged to be ambitious and think globally

- need to diversify the economy as currently very vulnerable

- Dwayne Johnson (DJ) commented that the Town Deal represents a new  partnership opportunity for the town, working with education private business and the council and we are all ambitious and do want to be bold, with this being the start of the process

- everyone wants to be bold, but where do we want to be extremely bold


·         Discussion point raised on what it is about a place that would make them want to visit for a day/night away?

- This has to be wonderful place to live, if it is going to be a wonderful place to visit

- Research shows that successful visitor towns look after their residents as a priority

- Visit for something I can’t have in my own town

- Visitors come and go, but without our residents being a central part of the journey we will continue to have a lifeless town centre

- We cannot lose sight of residents and must bring them with us throughout this journey

- A palpable sense of pride in place, which Southport certainly had in the past

- Travel for something nicer, better, different or simply not available in my home location

- To be able to participate in specialist activities


·         The objectives shown are reflective of what is happening in the town now

·         Importance of place branding and brand marketing messages need to change with not in advance of change and product development

·         The digital strategy will pick up some of the objectives

·         Need to get residents back using the Town Centre mixing with growing visitor numbers. Residents will use the town differently and support the economy in different ways

·         Stuart Barnes (SB) commented that: A bird's eye view of Southport shows how the town centre is surrounded by such a vast swathe of residential neighbourhoods, it also highlights the proximity to such amazing assets and future development opportunities. It is critical that a re-connection with these communities is made alongside any marketing towards the tourism market. To make the connection, there has to be something to bring  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34.


Workstream Updates

Transport Connectivity

Skills and Enterprise

Digital Connectivity



Transport Connectivity

SW gave a brief overview of the work of the subcommittee since the last meeting.


Questions and comments from the Board:


·         With regards to rail connections, will connections to the north and the east also  be considered? Stephen Birch confirmed that this is the case.

·         Poor perception, relocation and the fact that parking is not a priory concern for young people will be considered in the parking strategy 

·         Damien Moore MP (DM) added that he is spearheading the reintroduction of the Burscough curves up to Preston and the north. Politically this is well supported and there is a good business case for it. There is scope in the proposal to include better links to Ormskirk and Edge Hill University, but it must be based on a sound business proposal

·         Mick Allen (MA) from BEIS noted that there was an opportunity to   maximise the cycling offer as part of the transport connectivity piece utilising the recently enhanced government funding to encourage more people to choose alternatives to public transport


Skills and Enterprise

SW advised that the updated  information in relation to this workstream and the labour market has been shared with agenda. Sefton Council’s Covid-19 economic recovery planning will feed into this work


Digital Connectivity

James Brayshaw (JB) presented an overview of the Digital Strategy and advised that the write up of the report would be issued to Board members later that day.


Questions and comments from the Board:

·         The Chair noted that youth flight is a big issue and would like to help develop the conversation on  the business incubation centre and to grow new businesses – other Board members advised that they would like to participate in further discussion on this

·         Year 10 pupils are already involved in virtual work experience

·         Need a place to teach skills for the tourism industry which can be used in other sectors too

·         Pleasureland already have in place use of technology such as wristbands and e-kiosks

·         Virtual work experience and industry placements are very important for post 16 and  new T Level qualifications are coming forward from a coming together of education and industry – Southport College will be a centre to run these courses on

·         Agreement for an offline conversation amongst some Board members on T Levels as it is clear young people will be the hardest hit from covid-19 impacts

·         Important to start engaging with year 7 age children

·         The work identified can be started quickly

·         Benefits to the charity and community sectors and wider social value impacts.


The presentation was well received, and the Board thanked JB.



Bid Strategy


SW gave an overview of the bid strategy which is starting to come together.


MA from BEIS gave an update that the guidance is due to be released from government next week and that will give clarity on the process and the types of interventions which will be supported. Important to note that towns will be  asked what stage they are at and when they expect to be ready to submit an investment plan – with the expected submissions dates as end of July, end of October and by March 2021. MA also confirmed that Arup have been appointed to support all towns in developing their investment plans and will  be able to provide a range of support services. Arup will be contacting councils in the next few weeks.


Brief discussion followed on whether we will be ready by the end of July or if we will benefit from the extra time to October.


Cllr Atkinson asked MA if he is aware of any additional funding opportunities from government given the post Covid-19 situation. MA advised that government appreciates £25m will not cover it all and acknowledge things have changed, but ministers will consider actions in the next spending review.


SW advised that between now and the next Board meeting, the focus for sub committees will be on the bid strategy as informed by:


·         Updated guidance – expected June 2020.

·         Masterplan – further updates and detail from Turley

·         Reflections on today’s feedback and discussions.

·         Progression of the skills and employment sub-committee work.

·         Southport Theatre and Convention Centre – presentation of analyses and concept designs.


Discussion on ensuring full consultation with residents and how that would fit in with a July submission date. There are many positive messages to get out to the community.

SW advised that a communication plan will be brought back to the board and that we should  know by next board if we are ready to submit at the end of July.





None raised.


Date of Next Meeting