Hemingway backs SOS campaign

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Design guru Wayne Hemingway MBE (right) has thrown down the gauntlet to his home town while backing our campaign to support local shops.

The regeneration expert and TV personality, who was born in Morecambe, has challenged the powers-that-be to “create an environment where the creative community feel welcome” in order to revive in 2013.

Mr Hemingway threw his weight behind our #SOSMorecambe – Support Our Shops campaign, which has also been backed by the Prime Minister David Cameron.

He said: “The campaign has my support.

“It’s common sense that towns need a mix of independent and multiple retailers.”

But Mr Hemingway, founder of the famous Red Or Dead fashion label, also warned: “Successful town centres are so much more than shopping destinations.

“All successful town and city centres become destinations because they have a broad church of appeal and are compact and easy to navigate and easy to access.

“Above all there has to be an understanding of quality.

“Morecambe has to ask itself, is it capable of forensic attention to detail, capable of understanding the world picture when it comes to taste,

capable of creating an environment where the creative community feel welcome and capable of taking tough decisions that help to create a compact, people-friendly town centre where people want to congregate from morning until late into the night, not just to shop but to take in culture, interact with other human beings, eat, drink and be merry?”

Mr Hemingway is currently working on a £10m fairground regeneration scheme in Margate, a seaside town like Morecambe which has faced similar problems but is now making a comeback.

He also said he would love to help Morecambe but Lancaster City Council “aren’t interested”.

Councillor Janice Hanson, deputy leader of Lancaster City Council, said: “Our door is always open to anyone who has serious proposals for the regeneration of our district, particularly to anyone who has a genuine interest in and passion for Lancaster and Morecambe.

“Wayne Hemingway has also been a big supporter of Morecambe, which is very much welcomed and we look forward to further fruitful discussion.

“In particular, we welcome input into the development of the Morecambe Area Action Plan, which will provide us with a comprehensive and strategic vision for the future.

“A lot has been achieved in Morecambe over the past decade and a large amount of public money has been spent on its regeneration, but we all recognise that we need to continue this good work and the momentum we are starting to build.

“The regeneration of Morecambe remains one of the city council’s top priorities and we welcome expertise from all quarters in developing a regeneration plan that will bring prosperity to the resort.

“Unfortunately, in the current economic climate, the number of investors is finite and there is a lot of competition out there, but we are vigorously looking to identify those with investment capital who can bring money to the table.”