Wyre Council is seeking your views on a number of exciting proposals to rejuvenate Fleetwood’s seafront.
A consultation is being launched to seek the public’s views on ideas to enhance some of Fleetwood’s key seafront facilities. The consultation will consider the existing offer at Fleetwood’s Leisure Centre and neighbouring outdoor space, as well as look at options for changing the offer and operating model at Marine Hall. Feedback will be used to create a regeneration project proposal that will be ready to go if the Government’s Levelling Up Fund Round 3 is announced.
Ideas for potential uses for the area include family fun attractions such as a climbing wall and laser tag, sports facilities such as a 3g football pitch, a restaurant overlooking the beach, exhibition space, event and conference space as well as office accommodation.
Fleetwood’s seafront has long been recognised as a major physical asset to the borough with the potential to become a significant visitor destination. On a coastline as renowned as Fylde’s, with major resorts such as Blackpool and Lytham St Anne’s all offering distinctive and diverse attractions to tourists, Fleetwood’s seafront is modest in comparison.
A seafront masterplan was developed back in 2009, which set out a long-term programme of rejuvenation. Progress has been made including a successful Coastal Community Fund bid, which enabled the development of beach bungalows, a splash park, skate bowl and the YMCA Leisure Centre café. Coastal Revival funding also enabled the restoration of the Marine Hall dome.
Since then, the council has continued to invest in facilities across Fleetwood and has successfully secured external funding to carry out projects around the town. These include the restoration of the Mount pavilion and gardens, the renovation of Memorial Park, improvement works to Fleetwood Market, a new modern commercial food processing facility at Fleetwood Docks and flood protection work along Wyre’s coastline. UK Shared Prosperity Funding has also been earmarked for Fleetwood projects to drive economic development and increase the quality of life for people living in the town.
Marine Hall is a key part of the seafront offer, and along with Thornton Little Theatre, it is currently owned and operated by Wyre Council. As part of this review, the council is looking to determine if there is a suitable alternative service provider to take over the running of one or both of the theatres owing to the high level of subsidy needed to operate them, which last year amounted to over £500,000. The council is looking to safeguard the future of Marine Hall and Thornton Little Theatre by exploring outsourcing the operation of both theatres. It will also be working with the Theatres Trust to review Marine Hall’s operation and provide recommendations for the most viable future operating model.
Councillor Lynne Bowen, Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Health and Community Engagement at Wyre Council comments:
“We want to ensure that Fleetwood is in a good position to bid for future government funding. This consultation will allow us to have a regeneration proposal ready for any future funding that becomes available.
“This exercise is also allowing us to take stock of our theatres. We are fortunate to have two theatres in Wyre and both are much loved community assets. We want to make sure that these assets are available to Wyre’s communities and visitors for years to come, and looking for an alternative service provider is the best way for us to achieve this. Research has found that very few councils have retained management of their theatres and most are now outsourced to alternative service providers including charitable trusts, which are able to apply for grant funding which local authorities are unable to access. We hope that through this process we can find a service provider to take on the management of the theatres and ensure their future as part of the wider destination offer for Wyre.”
You can complete both the Fleetwood seafront consultation and the Thornton Little Theatre consultation online at www.wyre.gov.uk/haveyoursay from Monday 11 September.
Suggested ideas for the seafront will be on display at Marine Hall, Fleetwood Leisure Centre and Fleetwood Market from 18 September during opening hours, where a paper copy of the consultation can also be completed. Alternatively you can come along and chat to a member of council staff about the proposals on 19 September at Fleetwood Leisure Centre from 4pm to 7pm, 26 September at Marine Hall from 12pm to 3pm and Fleetwood Market on 17 October from 12pm to 3pm.
This consultation is part of a wider progression of Fleetwood’s seafront masterplan and feasibility study which has received £30,000 from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.