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  • Town centre veranda project nears completion

    Danielle Thompson

    DUKES Ward Councillor David Barton is celebrating after he discovered that 95% of Southport’s iconic verandahs have been restored.

    Cllr Barton launched a Community Conservation Campaign to see the verandahs partially or fully restored two years ago.

    Among the successes of the last 12 months are the restored ‘signature abacus heads’ on the verandahs at shops such as Corridor, Kevin Clark, Wright's The Jewellers, Stalliano Leather, Gallery One and Claire House. They have been repainted in black for the first time since 1985.

    Cllr Barton said that following on from the verandah work, many property owners then also improved other aspects of their buildings, such as bay windows, gables and rooftops. He said: “The conservation campaign has hit the 70% threshold for completed full restoration; 75% for mostly complete restoration and 95% for partial restoration of the 313 internationally acclaimed canopies.

    “Many of the improvements were completed after I worked to build constructive relationships with property owners, including saving up to 18 of them from receiving a Fixed Penalty Notice building improvement enforcement fine from the council.

    “All of the work that has been done has been undertaken at the property owners' private expense. Many of the property owners and contractors I have had the pleasure of liaising with believe this success achieved to date has been strengthened by my continued approach of working on a mutual basis of respect and sincerity and as positively and constructively as possible.

    “I am currently negotiating with several property owners along the high street to return their ‘lost’ verandahs and welcome their support for preserving the conservation area.

    “I am also requesting all outstanding property owners to join my ongoing Community Conservation Campaign in the hope that we can collectively seek to attract new high-quality retailers to occupy the formerly highly-sought after premises such as those on Lord Street that have been empty since 2014.”

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