Designer Wayne Hemingway has warned residents to be cautious over plans to build a retail park on the Frontierland site.
The Morecambe-born TV personality said: “It’s vital they get it right and the town shouldn’t be afraid of saying ‘no’.”
Developers Opus North have announced a new vision for the derelict site which may include big-name fashion shops, a hotel and a family pub.
A reader survey by The Visitor in November revealed 90% support for the plans.
But Hemingway said: “Any development is not good development.
“The plans are exciting because the site has been empty for so long. But they should make sure that it’s not just well designed but amazingly designed and that people are critiquing the ideas constantly.
“Sometimes developers think they are doing a town a favour. Yes the developer is helping the town but the town is helping the developer to make money.
“That space is tremendously valuable. It’s part of the crown jewels of a town that’s having some form of resurgence and you’ve got to protect those crown jewels.
“What goes there has got to create a legacy. The Midland is now the shining star on the seafront because it was beautifully designed in the first place, and in the same way the Winter Gardens will be restored to its former glory and have a future, because that was beautifully designed.
“They won’t be saying this about some of the buildings built on Morecambe seafront during the past 30 years. They won’t be fighting over Morrisons in 100 years’ time. So whatever goes on the Frontierland site has to be special.”
Wayne and his wife Gerardine are famed for founding the Red or Dead clothing label and now run their own London-based design company Hemingway Design, specialising in housing regeneration.
Hemingway, 52, was speaking on a visit to his hometown to kickstart plans for his second Morecambe Vintage-by-the-Sea festival in September.
Reflecting on last year’s successful debut Vintage day at the Midland hotel, he said: “It was great, such an uplifting event.
“We knew within an hour or two of opening we were onto something because people were queuing. “We’re looking forward to this year. If you’ve got ideas, please get involved, if you’re a local business, artist, creative person, musician.
“We’re over two days this year, expanding into different venues. There’s going to be more music and more dancing than there was last time. The vintage marketplace was enormously successful. It got so busy it became uncomfortable so we’ll move that into a location with more room. The street food market in the Midland car park sold out, so we’ve got to expand that and make it a ‘foodie delight’.
“We’ll start to announce the content soon and tickets will go on sale in the spring.”
The Hemingways also met with representatives of Galloway’s Society for the Blind, new owners of The Visitor building on Victoria Street, to discuss design ideas.
In the second part of our exclusive video interview, Wayne also gives his thoughts on the Heysham to M6 link road.