Lytham’s historic Clifton Square is receiving a pre-Christmas spruce-up thanks to funding secured to encourage shoppers to return to the high street.
Fylde Borough Council successfully bid for £243,500 from the Government’s Welcome Back Fund which is providing councils across England a share of £56 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to support the nation’s high streets following the Covid-19 pandemic.
This funding, which builds on the £50 million Reopening High Street Safely Fund (RHSSF), aims to help local authorities create and promote a safe and welcoming environment for local trade and tourism.
Fylde Borough Council is using the money in a variety of ways including the funding of improvements to town centres, and financially supporting local business groups who are creating a range of events and activities that promote retail, hospitality and the visitor economy.
Working in conjunction with the Lytham Business Partnership, the council has begun improvement work in Clifton Square. Specialist contractors were out this week sanding and painting railings and lighting columns while the pavement will also be specially cleaned to enhance its look.
The Welcome Back Fund is also supporting public realm improvements in St Annes main shopping areas, with broken flagstones replaced, planting schemes rejuvenated and a general spring clean of the pavement surfaces.
Cllr Karen Buckley, leader of Fylde Borough Council, visited Clifton Square to meet contractor Gary Carr and his team as work began. Cllr Buckley said: “Our historic town centres are the heartbeat of our communities and, therefore, it is vitally important we do all we can to ensure they look their very best for both local residents and visitors.
“The funding secured through the Welcome Back Fund allows us to put in place additional measures to make improvements while promoting a safe environment for local trade and tourism.
“It is great to see the work now underway in Clifton Square and very soon in St Annes, where the focus will be on improving the main shopping areas.
“The pandemic hit our high streets and hospitality businesses extremely hard, so it is essential we not only spread the word that our town centres are back and open for business but that we support them in every way we can.”
Andrew Whitaker, executive member of Lytham Business Partnership and proprietor of the Mode hotel on Clifton Square, said: “Clifton Square is important for Lytham – being a focal point of the town and visited by so many thousands of people each year.
“It is absolutely vital the Square is kept in tip top condition as it reflects on the whole town, so it is good to see the Welcome Back Fund being used in such a way.
“Come the Spring, the town will be so vibrant with locals, visitors and outdoor diners and it will be fantastic for them to see the Square in all its glory.”
Together with the town centre improvement works, local business groups will be using the Welcome Back Fund to help promote local towns ahead of Christmas with the hope such activity will help improve the footfall in town centres from locals and visitors.
Kirkham Business Group plans to use £10,000 from the Welcome Back Fund to support its successful shop local Loyalty Card scheme. The town’s public realm is currently subject to major plans as part of a Fylde Borough Council-led £10m regeneration masterplan.
The funding can also be used to create events which attract more people to visit the Fylde coast.
One of the groups involved is the South Fylde Line Community Rail Partnership who are busy creating new activity trails and artwork which symbolises the importance of rail within the community, historically and going forwards.
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