Today, plans to add a 7-story hotel to Marble Place shopping centre in Southport were approved by Sefton Council. The prospective 4-star hotel is expected to cost £7m and will feature 96 bedrooms, a lobby area, a restaurant and kitchen, as well as ancillary accommodation.

Humber Investments Limited, a company that also owns the shopping centre, is funding the new addition. Fletcher Rae, Manchester-based architectural firm, designed the scheme, as well as prepared the planning application. And with the approval now granted, their team is set to drive the plans forward. Andrew Rae, Co-Founder of Fletcher Rae, explains their strategy for construction-delivery.

‘The proposed development at Marble Place has been carefully considered, so that when work starts, the shopping centre can remain open for business throughout the entire building works to ensure continuity of trading and safeguard the public. Therefore, work on site will be varied and is expected to last between 15-18 months. The hotel is being built onto the east side of Marble Place that’s currently spread between Tulketh Street and Chapel Street. The main entrance, on Tulketh Street and to the right of Regis, will be reconstructed and accessible by both shopping patrons and hotel guests.’

In addition, further plans to revive Marble Place, originally built in 1992, involve remodelling part of the shopping centre’s roof, as well as constructing and reinstating a section of retail units along Tulketh Street.  In designing the scheme, Fletcher-Rae commented that, a number of practical and aesthetic factors were inspired by the surrounding areas.

‘To fall in line with the structures on Tulketh Street and Eastbank Street, a dark multi-tone brickwork is being introduced. This partnered with dark window frames and a sleek curtain wall system creates a strong, high-quality monolithic form. Areas, within the facade, will be highlighted with a contrasting buff brick. Overall, we’re aiming to improve the prominence of the existing shopping centre, without appearing overly conspicuous.’

Expanding Marble Place with a hotel, in it’s a prime high street location, intends to not only create new functionality to the town centre but also promote transformation in the Southport downtown core. The site is located in a part-pedestrian block near Southport Station. The new development demonstrates an opportunity to strengthen the pedestrian access link from Town Hall and ‘The Atkinsons’ to the retail outlets along Chapel Street.

If all goes according to plan, construction on the hotel could be complete as soon as Summer 2018.

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