£1.6m coast project starts to take shape

Progress of work at Marine Gardens, Fleetwood. Part of the seating area by the performance area.

Progress of work at Marine Gardens, Fleetwood. Part of the seating area by the performance area.

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The £1.6m Sea Change project will also link Fleetwood’s sea front to the exciting art works stretching all the way to Cleveleys.

By the time this summer arrives, the transformation will be complete, with outdoor performances bringing the gardens to life.

And just down the coast, a separately-funded project will see a rebuilt Rossall Point lookout as part of the coastal link.

This too will be an exciting project when finished, and for the first time will include toilet facilities for those making use of it. With its unusual modern design, it is hoped the building will become a modern icon.

Karen Stringer, senior Regeneration officer at Wyre Council, said: “When we went for the Sea Change money we were the only borough in England with more than one seaside resort – that was our unique selling point.

“When the big pot of money was shared out we got the biggest share.”

Doreen Lofthouse, chairman of Fleetwood lozenge company Fisherman’s Friend, has also chipped in cash for the revamp project.

Large pre-cast sections of the performance area reflect the original art-deco style of the Marine Hall, which was built in the 1930s in the fashion of the time.

And in the floors of those areas, close by public seating, will be bronze inserts with the themes Sea and Sky – reflecting the culture and community of Fleetwood.

Words and sayings cast into the bronze are all based on ideas from the public and the designs were drawn up after public consultations held by designers BCA Landscape.

References include the Cod Army and magic words spoken by a seafront fortune teller in the 1950s.

The platform will look out over a grassed amphitheatre and, beyond that, an open fountain where many will be tempted to dodge the water.

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Mrs Stringer said: “The jets can be up to two metres or just a few inches and I think children will be having tremendous fun in the summer.

“This won’t just be for events, people will be able to come along and sit here and just enjoy the area.

“We are hoping to do something big in the summer to tie in with the new tower at Rossall Point.

“We want to hail what we have achieved with Sea Change.

“It will be a festival or programme which will link with Cleveleys and Rossall.”

Most of the construction work by William Pye of Longridge will be completed by the end of January.

After planting by Wyre Council parks staff in early spring, the builders will return to apply the finishing touch.

Wyre Council’s economy portfolio holder Coun Gordon McCann added: “One of the great things about this area is the cycle journey along the seawall which can be taken from Cleveleys to Fleetwood.

“There are great views across the sea and tremendous views of the Lake District. It’s fantastic and you have to see it to believe it.

“We are trying to put money into Fleetwood and to engage with the people of Fleetwood because we have been criticised in the past over that but I think this is a move in the right direction.”