Almost immediately following the establishment of a Town Centre working group at Fylde Council the country went into lockdown because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

As a result, the focus of the group moved to providing safe spaces as shops began to re-opened, quickly turning their attention to tackling economic recovery in our town centres.

In June, the Working Group launched a town centre survey for residents to give their views on what they wanted to see in their local high street.  Within a few weeks over 1,500 replies were submitted which were full of ideas such as pedestrianisation, outside eating, provision for cyclists, and entertainment spaces to name a few.

Following this in July, pavement licences became available to cafes, bars and restaurants to allow them to accommodate tables on the pavement where it is safe to do so.  A number of local businesses in Lytham and St Annes have been successful with their applications.

With the help of funding from Heritage Action Zone, in August a fantastic scheme was developed for Kirkham Town Centre to include a new Heritage Skills Centre, outdoor work and social spaces, a restored market square, shopfront restoration and arts facilities.  A multi-million-pound bid was submitted to the government’s Future High Street Fund on 14th August; a video explaining the scheme can be viewed on Fylde Council’s Facebook page.

This week a report to the Planning Committee recommends a consideration of the expansion of the present regeneration scheme in Lytham, and the commissioning of a brand new vision for St Annes Town Centre which will build upon the ideas from the residents’ survey and working group’s proposals.

Leader of Fylde Council, Cllr Karen Buckley, said: “We are boosting our Economic Development team in recognition of the importance of economic recovery following the outbreak of Coronavirus.  Our town centres are valued by residents and visitors alike, as was shown by the swift response to the survey, and their success is vital to the livelihoods of local people.  We are hoping to appoint a Town Centre Manager to be a support for our businesses, build relationships with investors and advise on strategic regeneration projects.  We have so much to offer here in Fylde and the work we are embarking upon now will ensure we can attract the investment needed to retain our distinctive charm.”

Councillor Richard Redcliffe, Chair of the Town Centre Working Group added: “This is a hugely significant opportunity to progress the regeneration of our three Fylde town centres St Anne’s, Lytham and Kirkham. The planned ambitious measures will ensure that the individual needs and challenges of those centres are addressed, and an exciting prosperous future is secured. This is something that we know is very close to the hearts of our Fylde residents.”