Town Team blow as chairman quits

Christine Stebbing.
Christine Stebbing.
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Morecambe’s Town Team has been rocked by the resignation of its chairman and a damning appraisal of its future plans by Lancaster City Council.

John Watkins has quit as head of the Town Team – a volunteer task force of Morecambe businesspeople who aim to improve the town’s ailing shopping streets.

Meanwhile Lancaster City Council has ripped into the Town Team’s action plan – a list of ideas for spending £100,000 of ‘Portas Pilot Town’ cash on Morecambe.

In a published response to the action plan, the council said some of the Town Team’s proposals “duplicates work” already being done by the local authority.

It also questioned whether the volunteers would be able to carry out some of the plans, which include a new Town Shop selling ‘made in Morecambe’ goods.

Christine Stebbing, acting chair of the Town Team, called the situation “extremely disappointing and bizarre”.

Last year Morecambe was awarded £100,000 and status as a flagship town in the Government’s ‘Portas Pilot Towns’ drive to revitalise high streets.

In the wake of Mr Watkins’ resignation, Morecambe Town Council has called an extraordinary meeting at Morecambe Town Hall this Wednesday night (October 16) at 7pm. Mr Watkins was unavailable for comment.

It is believed he resigned because he no longer has any business link to the town after losing his job as Arndale Centre manager.