Fleetwood is set to get a major £1.5m investment to develop a chain of attractions along its coastline, The Gazette can reveal.
New leisure areas, improvements to the Marine Lake and a revamp of Euston Park are all part of plans that will create 72 jobs and support another 400 in the port.
The funding could also offer a lifeline to campaign groups pushing to set up a skate park in the port and keep the popular paddling pool open.
The government money, made available through the Coastal Communities Fund, will support a two-year project to create a chain of attractions that town hall bosses say will bring in visitors and hopefully kick-start the economy.
The grant, announced today by the Treasury, is one of more than 50 to be awarded as part of a £28m programme of investments across the UK.
Wyre Council leader Peter Gibson today hailed the investment, saying it would be a major boost for Fleetwood.
He said: “It will certainly improve the area aesthetically and it will provide attractions to bring people into Fleetwood.
“It will help with a regeneration boost and complete the jigsaw started by the Sea Change project we did.
“Combined with the developments at Cleveleys, Rossall Point and Marine Gardens, plus the forthcoming sea defence scheme at Rossall, this is shaping up to become a remarkable coastline.”
The money will stay in the town and be spent on enhancing the waterfront and creating attractions to bring in more visitors.
Wyre Council plans to split the coast into fives zones that it will pump the money into, starting with the improvements at Euston Park where the grade II-listed drinking fountain will be restored.
Two leisure zones that will cater for all ages will be created near the existing sports centre and the Marine Lake is also in line for a makeover.
Coun Gibson said the exact plans for these developments are yet to be finalised.
He added: “We are calling them leisure zones but we will be talking to the skate park group and the paddling pool group and there might be something we can look at there.
“We have got to get this started in the first year so we want to get moving with this as soon as possible.
“We’re so excited to be able to provide five new projects for Fleetwood. It means we can really make the most of Fleetwood’s foreshore and realise a part of the vision set out in the Fleetwood Seafront Masterplan.
“The economic benefits of having something physical like this is to show off to visitors and investors are endless. “We can start to move forward making a first class destination for people using the trams from Blackpool, with Euston Park being a focal point for taking in the magnificent views across Morecambe Bay.”
An ecology zone is also planned at Rossall Point to celebrate the area’s rich biodiversity and the seafront will benefit from artwork and street furniture.
A new events programme featuring arts and culture as well as a new community festival will be introduced using the money.
Hugh Evans, policy director for the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is excellent news. Fleetwood has seen more than its fair share of economic decline in recent years and this funding will provide the catalyst to deliver something special that puts the town back on the road to recovery.
“It will provide a much needed boost to local businesses because they need to be confident that things are happening before they invest and create jobs.
“This will generate that confidence.”