Southport’s coronavirus test site hasn’t moved, council say

Sefton Council has responded to an MP's claims of victory over the change of location of the town's coronavirus testing centre – by stating that it hasn't actually moved.

Southport MP Damien Moore said he had 'won victory' in moving the facility after complaints from local businesses.

But the council today said that the walk-through facility will not be moving from the One Stop Shop in the town hall, where it was always proposed to be.

What is changing is the entrance that will be used by those getting a test.

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The entrance was planned to be via Cambridge Arcade, which links Chapel Street and Lord Street.

But earlier this week, owners of businesses within Cambridge Arcade said they were in "utter disbelief" at the choice of entrance, as the arcade has a narrow corridor meaning the site is less than three metres from a number of pubs and eateries.

Cambridge Arcade in Southport

Since then, Sefton Council says it has worked hard with the Government's private sector provider to amend the plans and address traders' concerns.

Entrance to the facility will now be via the Corporation Street entrance rather than Cambridge Arcade.

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But after Mr Moore's comments, the local authority wants people to know the test site has not changed location.

A spokesman for Sefton Council said: "The testing centre has always been [in] Southport Town Hall and this remains the case.

"Sefton Council has worked hard with Deloitte to amend the site plans to change the entrance to the Town Hall from the One Stop Shop to Corporation Street following visits to the traders on Friday, over the weekend and on Monday to listen to their concerns.

"However, it is important that there is no confusion for users on the location – the testing centre will still be in Southport Town Hall, as was always planned.

"Access to the site will now be via the Corporation Street entrance rather than Cambridge Arcade.

"Although there will be a minor delay to opening of the testing centre due to these additional works required, this remains the best and most-trusted location for a walk-in centre, within 30 minutes’ walk for as many of Southport’s residents as possible – particularly for those without vehicular access.

"Testing is vital to response, recovery, and the continued protection of lives and livelihoods.

"A semi-permanent testing centre in Southport Town Centre will be critical to the wellbeing of all residents, and in turn to the local economy."

In a recent release, Mr Moore Moore said: “The Sefton Council One Stop Shop in the arcade is inappropriate for this facility.

"It is exceedingly clear that this is not an appropriate location to encourage those with symptoms of Covid-19 to attend, even with the social distancing guidelines outlined.”