We need our beach back!
That’s the message from traders and Fleetwood councillor Lorraine Beavers who says the town’s Ferry Beach needs to be cleared of weeds and excess sand.
The stretch of beach from Fleetwood Ferry to the old pier site has long been the subject of a cleaning up campaign. But it is also an area of Special Scientific Interest because of a species called sea holly.
But Coun Beavers said: “We are a seaside resort more than a port now and rely on attracting tourists, to a large extent.
“Visitors and locals should be able to sit on the beach and enjoy the wonderful views out to Morecambe Bay.
“Instead, there are all these weeds growing, and they are not particularly attractive. There is plenty of sea holly growing in other part of the beach, so it is not as rare as all that. We need our beach back.”
In the past, campaigns to improve that stretch of beach have been given backing by various politicians, including former North West Euro MP Brian Simpson, who visited the seafront six years ago to see how invading sand dunes and weeds had overwhelmed the holiday area.
He supported the action group pressing for improvements, despite the existence of the SSI guidelines.
Coun Beavers says another approach to Natural England needs to be made.
Craig McCormish who runs the Beach Kiosk said: “Three years ago they shifted it all back and it looked better but now it doesn’t really look like a beach.
“The sea holly is there now but it dies off in winter and the area fills with weeds. When they cut it back it did improve it, but further improvements are needed again. Some of the sea holly needs protecting, but not all of it.”
Ellen Softly from Natural England said a plan was in place with Wyre Council to manage the beach.
She added: “The council will consult us if there is a problem with these species, and for all other activities not included that would cause disturbance to the site.
“Sea holly is not an invasive species, but we are working with the council to ensure it is not adversely affecting the site.”
A spokeswoman for Wyre Council added: “This beach is one of the country’s best wildlife sites and is protected by Natural England. Ferry Beach won a Seaside Award in May, an honour from Keep Britain Tidy reserved for stretches of sand reaching the highest standards of maintenance, cleanliness and safety.”