Historic theatre to be transformed into luxury hotel with spa, pool and gym

A historic former theatre in Southport is set for a grand transformation into a luxury hotel and apartments, following the green light from the council.

The Grade II-listed Garrick Theatre on Lord Street will be redeveloped to include a 109-room hotel, complete with a swimming pool, retail spaces, gym and spa, a refurbished theatre space, as well as a bar, restaurant, and 12 apartments. Built in 1932 as an Art Deco theatre, the building later became a bingo hall in 1963, operated by Mecca Bingo until their departure in 2020.

The property was purchased in 2021, and plans for its conversion were submitted in June 2023. The redevelopment project aims to preserve the auditorium's original features while converting the stage and fly tower area into part of the new hotel, the ECHO reports.


The initial planning application outlined the vision, stating: "The proposal is for the conversion of the building into high quality, spa hotel and residential accommodation, with retail to ground floor and an event space within the auditorium. The building itself has been identified as the 'star' asset, and the proposals have been based on retaining, refurbishing and enhancing the key features and detailing, with a light touch, whilst ensuring that the project is viable."

It added: "At the first-floor level, apartments will be provided along the Lord Street side of the building, replacing an existing corridor, and a series of apartments will be constructed within the fly tower, with an access stair, and new fenestration."

"On the third floor, the raked seating will also be replaced with tables, and the suite of former office spaces overlooking Kingsway will be converted to rooms, with the existing circulation space retained."

"The fly tower will have a series of rooms located on the third floor. The fourth floor is proposed to accommodate further rooms in the existing roof space, and further rooms within the fly tower, with private and public terraces overlooking the promenade at the existing roof level."

In his report about the development, chief planning officer Derek McKenzie said: "The development would bring a building back to use with some adaptations to secure its long-term viability. The proposal seeks to restore many original features and ensure key elements of the original fabric are retained."

"The proposal will provide a boost to the building's long-term future and economy by bringing new life to this part of the conservation area. The proposal is less than substantial harm, however, is outweighed by the significant public benefits the scheme would bring, securing the optimum viable use of the building and the restoration of original architectural features."