Help us revamp our lake!
That is the impassioned call to the Fylde public who are being urged to help in the £5m revamp of Fairhaven Lake – and their responses could clinch the cash.
Civic leaders are preparing a £2m bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund to revamp the ageing tourist attraction and restore it to its former glory, when thousands of people used to watch events.
And they are hoping to restore a lost feature – a stunning Japanese Garden buried in a corner of the lake’s parkland.
The bid for £2m of Lottery cash – the largest single component of the £5m scheme – will be reliant on public support and input and, being a heritage bid, requires Fylde Council to show as much community involvement as possible.
Coun Sue Fazackerley, Fylde Council’s leisure chief and interim leader, said: “Thousands, possibly millions, of Lancashire residents have had happy memories of Fairhaven over the past 90 years – but we believe it can be made better.
“We believe our plans will put the lake and gardens on a firm footing for the next 90 years, but we need to show that the Fylde public is behind the plans.
“The Heritage Lottery Fund cash is essential for the work to go ahead and lottery chiefs ask that we show enthusiasm from the public.
“I urge as many people as possible to back the campaign and write to the town hall in support of these plans and we will send them to the Heritage Lottery Fund.”
Darren Bell, Fylde Council’s head of leisure and culture, added: “The lake and gardens are at a critical stage in their history. They need a new look and I hope thousands of residents and visitors will get behind this bid – the more support we can show then the greater our chance of impressing lottery bosses.
“The historic buildings, structures and landscapes are in need of restoration and the outer sea wall which forms the outer perimeter of the lake needs replacement.
“We need the £2m of Heritage Lottery Fund money to restore the site to its former glory. The council can’t do this on its own and needs the full support of residents to get behind a campaign to show how important Fairhaven Lake and Gardens are to the residents of Fylde.”
The initial bid, if successful, would see Fylde handed a development grant of a few hundred thousand pounds to pay for the full £2m bid.
The work would be carried out at the same time as £17m Environment Agency works improving the sea defences at Fairhaven and Church Scar.
Outline plans for the scheme have already been shown to the public at a day-long display at the lake in September.
Mr Bell said: “I have never experienced anything like it – it never stopped all day, and now we need people to write with their support of the Lake to help us win the funding.”
Some 329 people left responses on the day – but thousands will be needed to prove community involvement to the Lottery authorities.
The initial consultation has already seen changes made to the plan – a scheme to reintroduce a third island on the lake has been dropped after it proved unpopular with boating users. Plans also include the reinstatement of the Japanese Gardens in the north west corner of the lake park, a feature included by original landscape architect Thomas Mawson, whose ideas for the lake included parkland stretching to the promenade gardens in St Annes.
The new project includes 12 revamped tennis courts, a grassland edge to the lake, skate park, adventure playground, footpath widening, caves, public art, improved lighting features, tree planting, improved bowling greens, a trim trail and picnic areas.
Fylde Council must bid for the development grant by the end of February next year, with the outcome known in June.
If successful, a full bid would need to be lodged by February 2016, with winning bids announced in June 2016, and work could start in spring 2017.
Letters of support can be sent to Darren Bell, Fylde Borough Council, The Town Hall, St Annes Road West, St Annes, Lancashire, FY8 1LW, or emailed to email@example.com.