How 2022 could see a major comeback for Lancashire resorts including Blackpool and Morecambe

Lancashire seaside resorts are hoping the post-pandemic period can provide a much-needed boost as more people in the UK stay on vacation.

Travel restrictions last year have seen many of those who usually travel overseas move closer to home and enjoy vacations across the UK.

For businesses, continuing this trend could prove vital after losses suffered during the pandemic.

READ MORE:Shutters are closed and tourists leave as Morecambe prepares for a long empty winter

Some evidence of this is already visible as Blackpool has enjoyed a flourishing Christmas period filled with seasonal events and attractions.

StayBlackpool manager Ian White told LancsLive: “As a Blackpool hotelier and manager of the StayBlackpool hotel association, I am delighted with how the extended season has drawn so many people to town. The buzz around town, especially on the prom, has been overwhelmingly positive.

“It is heartwarming to see and hear so much positive feedback on social media platforms and from StayBlackpool members. The Blackpool board and so many companies have excelled during this time, going above and beyond on so many levels, creating a winter season to remember for all the right reasons.

“It’s great to know about the extended illuminations and many more will return in the winter of 2022. Many positive lessons have been learned during a time of so many uncertainties and various challenges, giving certainty that the coming winter will be much bigger and better. “

Blackpool looks gorgeous in the sun.

Evidence to support these anecdotal sentiments was seen in the results of the first few weeks of the Blackpool Illuminations, as they enjoyed an extended period of time compared to previous years,

Public donations to lights and parking lot use have both increased, according to a council report, following the decision to keep the display shiny until Jan. 3.

The report states: “During the first two weeks of November (when the lights were normally off), parking lot attendance was almost double the level seen during the same period in 2019.

“The anecdotal evidence from accommodation companies (both in the restaurant and service industries) is that the high level of bookings over the remainder of this year was fueled by the expansion of the Illuminations and the supply of Christmas dramatically improved.

“During these first two weeks of the extended illuminations season, there has been a significant increase in donations from the public to collection points at the south and north gates of the promenade.

“As a result, by mid-November total public donations had reached over £ 105,000, ahead of the previous four years.”

Evidence of recovery is supported by think tank Center For Cities whose research measuring mainstreet use so far this year shows Blackpool has the highest level of recovery in the UK with 114% of levels before the pandemic.

Work has also started in anticipation of a £ 4.5million infusion of funds for the Illuminations, while seven projects are expected to receive part of a £ 39.5million Town Deal – the biggest award in the UK – from the £ 3.6 billion government fund for the city. .

Elsewhere in the county, council bosses are hopeful that a significant investment in Morecambe will allow the resort town to enjoy a more prosperous future. Like the seaside towns of the country, Morecambe’s heyday came before the advent of cheap foreign vacations, and the battle to restore his fortunes was long and difficult.

But a number of large-scale initiatives, notably the Eden Project North, could provide a major economic boost and with it increased jobs and a regenerative effect on the surrounding area.

Proposals of the Eden Nord project
Proposals of the Eden Nord project

Councilor Caroline Jackson, Lancaster City Council Chief, said: “City Council is committed to the future of Morecambe, its residents and businesses, and makes it an even better place to live, work and visit. . Like many seaside towns, it has been rocked by economic downturns but has always fought to keep its jobs and workplaces.

“Our wholehearted support and financial investment in bringing Eden Project North to the city is a great example of our commitment, but there are many more.

“In over twenty years, tens of millions of pounds have been invested in the city, including purchasing multiple-occupancy properties to turn them into family homes and improving residential areas to encourage people to live and live. invest in its future.

‘The council recently led the successful £ 10million project to improve sea defenses, which protects homes and businesses from coastal flooding and last year the council bought the neglected former site of Frontierland . This will develop thanks to new partnerships with entrepreneurs wishing to invest in the city.

“Over the past few years we have also supported the Winter Gardens Preservation Trust to secure and deliver over £ 1million of grant funded capital works. We continue this support as they work on a five-year plan to become a major concert hall in the Northwest through an ambitious investment funded by a multi-million pound grant.

“There is still a lot to do, but by working in partnership with our community of Morecambe and others, we will meet the challenges that remain. Morecambe is a city at the dawn of a renaissance and the town hall is fully committed to its regeneration.

Morecambe seaside
Morecambe seaside

Other potential projects include the revival of the Morecambe illuminations to prevent visitors from coming to town outside of the summer season.

Meanwhile, Lytham St Annes is also poised for significant changes with the newly appointed Building Design Partnership Ltd (BDP) to help design its long-term regeneration.

Fylde Council Chief Cllr Karen Buckley hopes the ambitious plans will help the city adjust to the post-pandemic reality and secure funding from the government.

The draft master plan will use comprehensive evidence and assessments of business potential to create a plan for future development. It focuses primarily on the town center and the St Annes Island site and is expected to be completed by April, ready for submission for the second round of the government leveling funding program.

Cllr Buckley said: “Our ambition to regenerate and revitalize the St Annes Town Center and Island site has taken a big step forward with the appointment of BDP. It has been more than 20 years now since the last major renovations started in St Annes and while shopping and leisure habits have gradually changed over time, they have been singularly transformed over the last 18 months into due to the Covid pandemic.

“I look forward to a plan for the future with the full contribution of the city, its representatives and residents, and an exciting vision that will mobilize much needed government funds. “

Lytham Windmill along the promenade Image: Ronald Saunders
Lytham Windmill along the promenade Image: Ronald Saunders

The BDP added: “St Annes is a classic ‘bucket and spade’ seaside town loved by visitors who come back time and time again. We look forward to working with the council and the community to attract new investment, meet the challenges of the changing nature of mainstreets, and explore new opportunities related to the enduring appeal of living, working and enjoying free time in the city. seaside. . “

The development of the Masterplan includes funding from Lancashire County Council’s Economic Recovery Growth Fund of £ 12.8million, which supports projects to help local economies recover from the impacts of Covid-19.

The aim is to initiate the development of transformative programs that will make a major contribution to economic recovery and create jobs in the hardest hit parts of Lancashire, spurring growth and unlocking new investment.

County Councilor Aidy Riggott, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Growth, said: ‘Lancashire’s tourism sector has been significantly affected by Covid, but we recognize that there are great opportunities to help create a improved and diversified offer. The objective of our fund is to support the development of exciting new projects in our communities such as in St Annes.

“Attracting more people to the city brings money to the local economy and creates new jobs, spreading the benefits to other parts of Lancashire. “

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