Southport to lose out on £4.3m due to cancelled Flower Show

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A Merseyside town is set to lose around £4.3million after the world-famous Southport Flower Show was cancelled for this year.

Last week, organisers had to cancel the event in August as large gatherings were banned by the government due to the threat of coronavirus.

Organisers said the show's "first consideration was health and wellbeing of everyone involved in the show."

Bosses said this was the first time the Southport Flower Show had been cancelled since the Second World War and would have major financial implications for all those involved.

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Organisers told the ECHO that the economic impact would cost Southport approximately £4.3million.

They said people who come to the event usually spend around £2.9million across the four days.

The brains behind the huge event said it is not always recognised that the Southport Flower Show is a registered charity and money is reinvested into the show and the maintenance of Victoria Park.

The park has been leased to the Southport Flower Show since 1986 by Sefton Council and requires the charity to maintain the grounds.

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Bosses of the show recently submitted an application to Sefton Council asking to close the park for more days in the year to hold more events.

Organisers said this was even more important as it would raise the much-needed income, especially since this years show had to be cancelled.

For the first time since World War II the flower show has been cancelled.

A spokesperson for the Southport Flower Show said: "The cancellation will cause severe financial implications not just for the show itself, but it will also profoundly affect the show’s partners, sponsors, suppliers and traders.

"Consumer spend over the four days of the show is approximately £2.9million and the economic impact for the region is approximately £4.3million.

"Organising a show of this size takes a lot of planning, effort and commitment from a small team who are passionate about the show as much as our visitors.

"It is not always recognised that the Southport Flower Show is a charity and any profit made is reinvested into the much-loved show which has been a significant part of the town for over 90 years.

"It also supports the maintenance and administration of Victoria Park, our beautiful 34-acre site which has housed the show since it began.

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"The recent planning application that was submitted to Sefton Council requests an extension to the number of days we are allowed to close the park which is necessary to raise much needed income and even more so now that the show has been cancelled.

"The proposals also include the intention to bring new events to the park which in return brings more people into our fabulous town thus benefiting the local economy.

"There is a balance to be made with closing the park and keeping it open to the public as often as possible.

"We need to close the park to generate income which in turns pays for the maintenance and management of the estate. Without this the park would suffer and the facilities may not be available."

Southport's MP Damien Moore said he fully supported the decision to cancel this years Flower Show, but added it would "undoubtedly" have a financial impact of the town.

Mr Moore said: "Whilst it is disappointing that Southport Flower Show will not be taking place this year, I support the decision that the board have taken.

"The health, safety, and wellbeing of those who organise and attend the Flower Show is a priority, and it is on that basis a decision has been made.

“This decision will undoubtedly have a financial impact on our town, which has welcomed visitors to the show every year since the Second World War, but this is not unique to Southport – across the country similar decisions are being made regarding public events.

“I am in close contact with the organisers and I will give them my every support to ensure any impact on the park, or next year’s event, is limited."

Councillor Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and skills also fully supported the decision to cancel the show.

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Cllr Atkinson said: “The Southport Flower Show is a major event in the town’s busy calendar and we appreciate its cancellation would have been a difficult decision for the Flower Show Board but we wholeheartedly support their commitment to putting the safety and wellbeing of residents and visitors first.

“Major events like these will be a critical part of a future recovery plan for Sefton’s visitor economy and as with other events across the borough which have, sadly, had to be cancelled due to coronavirus, we look forward to working with Flower Show Board to ensure that 2021’s show is a great success

“Sefton Council continues to work closely and proactively with many partners on recovery plans for Sefton, In the meantime, if any business in Southport needs help, support, advice or guidance we urge you to speak to our team at Invest Sefton at www.investsefton.com .”

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