FLEETWOOD’S now vacant Stena berth could be turned into a stunning riverside tourist destination, says the man leading the Wyre barrage proposals.
A vision of waterside cafés, cinemas and other attractions has been suggested to fill the gap left by the loss of the Stena ferry to Northern Ireland and its offices.
Associated British Ports are still looking for a carrier to replace Stena whose departure cost 50 local jobs just before Christmas
But for now the large area they occupied on Dock Street and Queen’s Terrace remains empty and desolate.
Wyre Tidal Energy (WTE) director Bob Long said the area could be considered as a support site for the energy-generating barrage which they expect would bring 250,000 visitors to the area each year.
He told a meeting of Fleetwood Town Council: “The barrage will attract 250,000 people automatically to this area, partly to look at the barrage and to look at nearby features – and that’s before we advertise the fact we have got one.
“We have lost Stena Line and for those people who lost their jobs we lament.
“But we need to realise it’s the most expensive piece of real estate in Fleetwood and has got the best view of the river.
“If we are going to create tourism, the barrage will help promote boating and jet-skiing.
“We should look at some form of seafront cafés, entertainment, maybe a couple of cinemas – things which would give the 250,000 who come an added attraction.”
And Mr Long said he would rather see the extra visitor attractions in Fleetwood, rather than at an unspecified location up the river, to bring vast numbers of people into the heart of the town. He added: “If there is a focal point outside the town it’s very difficult to help the town. This would help the town in so many ways.”
WTE have got local MPs on board who are currently lobbying in Westminster for the scheme to go ahead and are trying to get a civil engineering company involved to spearhead the project.
The £200m plans would see an initial £100,000 feasibility study undertaken later this year.
A second study costing £1.5m would then take place over the following two years with construction beginning from 2015 to 2017.
Town council chairman Coun Terry Rogers said: “It’s a fantastic idea, especially with the demise of the port.”