Town looks to better and brighter future

Catch the Wind Kite Festival. The sky above Morecambe beach filled with spectacular kites.
Catch the Wind Kite Festival. The sky above Morecambe beach filled with spectacular kites.

Morecambe is on the verge of something big and will be radically transformed for the better within five years.

A champion of the town has hailed a series of projects all happening at the same time which he believes will kickstart Morecambe’s fortunes and inject millions into the economy.

The council is working hard to encourage more investment in the town. This includes £40,000 to support the proposed Business Improvement District for the town centre, working with investors and developers and setting aside nearly £500,000 to improve key streets within the town centre

Councillor Janice Hanson

Brendan Hughes, chairman of Morecambe Business Improvement District, said: “It’s a big big time for Morecambe. We’re on the verge of it becoming the town it should be.

“Within the next five years the residents of Morecambe will begin to see these changes. Just stick with it, it’s coming.”

All of the following schemes are either under way or are expected to begin in Morecambe over the next 12 months:

*A new £17m Bay Shopping Park at the former Frontierland site

*The Heysham to M6 link road

*A Business Improvement District scheme which could generate £750,000 for businesses to spend on Morecambe over five years

*A major internal and external refurbishment of the Arndale Centre

*A Morecambe and Wise-themed tourist attraction ‘The Sunshine Garden of Fame’ and a series of events celebrating Eric Morecambe

*A revamp of Morecambe town centre shopping streets to create a new area called ‘Royalty Place’

*A programme of festivals including an expanded two-day Morecambe Carnival and the return of Vintage-by-the-Sea

*A dynamic street art project to brighten up drab buildings on Victoria Street

*A £10m repair of the sea wall defences

*Improved cycle links as part of the £300,000 Walney to Glasson ‘Bay Cycle Way’ route

*A new ‘pop-up’ heritage centre celebrating Morecambe’s storied past

*A survey of ideas to regenerate the former Dome/Bubbles site for leisure/recreation

*A rearrangement of car parks and road crossings near the Eric Morecambe statue to connect the town centre and seafront

Some of these plans are led by local authorities with others driven by the private sector.

Councillor Janice Hanson, deputy leader of Lancaster City Council, said: “The council is working hard to encourage more investment in the town. This includes £40,000 to support the proposed Business Improvement District for the town centre, working with investors and developers and setting aside nearly £500,000 to improve key streets within the town centre.

“Through the ‘View for Eric’ initiative more than £1m will be invested to help businesses improve their own buildings.

“This approach is starting to bear fruit and there are signs that confidence is growing with New River Retail acquiring the Arndale Centre and the imminent redevelopment of the former Frontierland site by Opus North and Morrisons.”

Another major investment in the town will have its grand unveiling this weekend.

The eyesore former Office building on Marine Road Central, previously home of a pole dancing bar, will reopen as the ‘Temperance Club and Apartments’ - a modern flats development and retro barber shop financed by businessman Graham Cass of the Jo and Cass hairdressing chain.