Morecambe needs less Thora, and more flora, says a businessman with a daring vision to turn the town green.
Ian Hughes wants to brighten up drab town centre buildings by covering roofs and walls with flowers and plants.
He says vertical gardens, also known as ‘living walls’, and grass roofs have been used successfully in other towns and cities to give urban areas a boost.
“There are buildings around the world from sheds to corporate headquarters with grass roofs and they look stunning, plus they have superb insulation properties, soak up pollution and dull down sounds,” said Mr Hughes.
He also said plans to honour Dame Thora Hird with a £25,000 statue near Victoria Street would be a waste of money.
Campaigners are hoping to fund a tribute to the Morecambe-born actress.
This could coincide with Lancaster City Council’s aim to transform the junction of Victoria Street and Market Street with a new pedestrian area called ‘Royalty Place’, named after the former Royalty Theatre once run by Dame Thora’s father.
But Mr Hughes, a professional photographer, said cash could instead be spent on covering eyesore empty shops with bright photographic murals.
“With the greatest respect to Eric, Thora and Albert (Modley), there is a growing number of people who have never even heard of them and a great many who don’t care,” he said.
“If you made Victoria Street into a vibrant, happy place where people want to be they will go there and spend their money.
“It is towns and cities that dare to be bold, innovative and different that get noticed and do well.”
Morecambe’s Town Team will consider Mr Hughes’ ideas.
The Town Team is a group of businesspeople in charge of the town’s ‘Portas Pilot’ project.
Last year Morecambe was awarded £100,000 by the Government to spruce up the resort. The successful bid was targeted at improving Victoria Street near the Arndale Centre.
Plans for Victoria Street include putting in new planters, hanging baskets and trees, brightening up vacant shop fronts, holding regular street markets and opening a drop-in advice centre on the street to host job workshops and training courses.
The Town Team wants to know people’s views on these plans and any other suggestions to revitalise Morecambe town centre. Ideas can be sent to David Croxall, clerk to Morecambe Town Council, based at Morecambe Town Hall. Business representatives are welcome to attend the next Town Team meeting at Morecambe Town Hall on Wednesday, July 24 at 6pm.