Morecambe street to be transformed

Supporters of the Portas Pilots bid stand on Victoria Street and celebrate the news that Morecambe is to be a pilot town.
Supporters of the Portas Pilots bid stand on Victoria Street and celebrate the news that Morecambe is to be a pilot town.
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VICTORIA Street will be transformed into a thriving area for festivals, street art, training and jobs thanks to Morecambe’s successful bid to become a Portas Pilot Town.

And in more good news for Morecambe – the government’s £100,000 cash boost for the town could grow into half a million pounds, if match funding plans bear fruit.

The successful funding bid centred around plans to turn Victoria Street into one of the UK’s flagship 21st century high streets.

The ‘Town Team’ behind the bid hope making Victoria Street more attractive to pedestrians will create a “missing link” between the promenade and “the partially invisible and tired” town centre.

“It’s about increasing footfall,” said Darren Clifford, vice-chairman of Morecambe Town Council.

“We want to link the town centre, the market and the Morrisons area with a street we can be proud of.”

Planned improvements to Victoria Street include:

* £13,000 worth of street art to ‘freshen up’ the street;

* A campaign to tidy shop fronts;

*Encouraging entrepreneurs to open “pop up shops” in vacant units;

* Spending £20,000 on street festivals, including a possible Morecambe Sea Food Festival;

* A ‘community cafe’, where volunteers will give advice on business and training opportunities, and sustainable living;

* A mobile Visitor Information Centre travelling the region to promote Victoria Street and Morecambe town centre.

The ‘Town Team’ behind the bid is led by Morecambe Town Council and John Watkins, manager of the Arndale Centre.

Extra funding is expected to come from sources including Lancaster City Council, the Arndale Centre, Morecambe Town Council and Queen Square-based IT and training centre PHX.

Entrepreneurs, new businesses and new themed events could also enter the Festival Market.

The Town Team is also in talks with Lancaster City council over the possible reduction of car parking prices on agreed key dates, and reduced business rates.

Portas Pilot Towns are named after retail guru Mary Portas, who conducted a government review into the decline of the high street. n WHAT do you think about the Portas plans for Victoria Street?

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