West End ‘wish list’ for £1m plan

Simon Das.

Simon Das.

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A survey has revealed a ‘wish list’ for how to spend £1m on the West End of Morecambe.

Around 450 West End residents were asked for ideas for the ‘West End Million’ project – which will see £1m spent on the area over the next 10 years.

Now a task force will be set up to put their answers into practice.

Key themes highlighted in the survey were:

Young people need more to do

Festivals and events are very popular

Housing needs to be more affordable

New businesses should be encouraged

The West End needs a clean-up

Other suggestions were to use empty shop buildings, open a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre, create studios for artists and improve internet access.

The survey also revealed the number of unemployed under-25s living in the West End is lower than the national average – but most of these young people commute outside the area.

It also said crime was a worry for West End residents, particularly older people, with anti-social behaviour (52%) topping a league table of incidents.

Simon Das, chairman of the West End Million committee, said the next step was to set up a partnership team to decide how to spend the cash.

Working groups will then be created to look at four main themes – housing, young people, festivals and businesses.

Mr Das said he hoped the first chunk of money would be spent by the end of the year.

The West End Million project was launched in 2012 and 1,000 volunteer hours have so far been spent on the scheme.

The Big Lottery fund awarded £1m to the West End – £100,000 per year over 10 years – because it is an area with needs and had previously been overlooked for lottery cash.

Mr Das, a kitchen designer and salesman who lives in the West End, said an extra £22,500 has also now been awarded by the Big Lottery and the project was on schedule.

If you are interested in joining the West End Million partnership group please call 07593050858 or email WEM.projectworker@gmail.com or go to www.westendmillion.co.uk .