Opus North say Morecambe’s Frontierland site is ‘not dead’ and suggest ‘residential-led’ development after council challenge

Photo Neil Cross'The former Frontierland site, Marine Road West, Morecambe
Photo Neil Cross'The former Frontierland site, Marine Road West, Morecambe

Future plans for the former Frontierland site in Morecambe are likely to be “residential-led”, developers say, after they were challenged by Lancaster City Council to set out new proposals.

Andrew Duncan, MD at Opus Land (North) Ltd, told The Visitor this week that there had been a “general collapse in the interest in the site”, after Coun John Reynolds, Lancaster City Council’s cabinet member for planning, said there could be “no more delay” in the development of the derelict site.

Photo Neil Cross'The former Frontierland site, Marine Road West, Morecambe

Photo Neil Cross'The former Frontierland site, Marine Road West, Morecambe

Mr Duncan said that Marks and Spencer and Premier Inn had both pulled out after planning permission was granted to Opus Land (North) Ltd in 2015 for new retail units, restaurants, a hotel, landscaping and public art.

A further planning application was approved the following year to allow additional retailing within the same scheme.

But both planning permissions have now expired and no new proposals have been formally submitted by Opus, or by the site’s owners, Morrisons.

“The general collapse in the bricks and mortar retail market means that very few brands are expanding any more,” Mr Duncan said.

File Pic - Frontierland Morecambe.

File Pic - Frontierland Morecambe.

“We’ve discussed other potential schemes on that site, and it’s probably going to be more residential-led.

“The current lapsed planning application was hard won.

“We’ve put a lot of time, effort and money into this site already, and we need to move it forward in some fashion, but at the moment we have no timescales, occupiers or users.”

Last week, Coun Reynolds said the continued dereliction of the site remains a visual blight on the town.

Photo Neil Cross'The former Frontierland site, Marine Road West, Morecambe

Photo Neil Cross'The former Frontierland site, Marine Road West, Morecambe

He challenged Opus North to “be open with the residents of Morecambe about your long-term plans for developing this site and provide them and us with a timescale for when you will deliver it.”

“We want the landowner to start matching the ambition shown by the council in its recent Future High Streets Fund proposals, which seeks to deliver transformational change in Morecambe town centre,” he said.

“There is a genuine opportunity for the Frontierland site to contribute a new mix of uses that will benefit the town and still provide a competitive return for the landowner and developer.

“But the council wants to make it clear that there can be no more delay, and that any new proposals must be high-quality, deliverable and seek to create places for people, rather than places that are dominated by car parking.”

Mr Duncan said that the site is “not dead”, and he would be working closely with the council to develop another proposal.

He said the plans for Eden Project North in Morecambe had piqued interest in the town.

He added: “We’re trying to ressurrect something.

“We’d love to see something happen and we want to get a good result but we need to make sure people actually want it.”

Lancaster City Council has challenged the owners of the former Frontierland Leisure Complex to set out their plans for redeveloping the derelict site.

Coun John Reynolds, Lancaster City Council’s cabinet member for Planning, said: “At a time when the council is working proactively with important partners such as Eden Project International to help deliver generational change for the economy of Morecambe, the continued dereliction of this key site remains a visual blight on the town.

“So today we are issuing this challenge to the site’s owners. Be open with the residents of Morecambe about your long-term plans for developing this site and provide them and us with a timescale for when you will deliver it.

“We want the landowner to start matching the ambition shown by the council in its recent Future High Streets Fund proposals, which seeks to deliver transformational change in Morecambe town centre. There is a genuine opportunity for the Frontierland site to contribute a new mix of uses that will benefit the town and still provide a competitive return for the landowner and developer.

“But the council wants to make it clear that there can be no more delay, and that any new proposals must be high-quality, deliverable and seek to create places for people, rather than places that are dominated by car parking.”