A St Annes councillor is calling for more to be done to tackle the decline of the town’s high street centre.
Coun Tim Armit, an independent councillor for the town’s Ashton ward on Fylde Council, says there was a time when St Annes rivalled Lytham for shops.
But he says there are now too few attractions to draw residents into the town centre to shop and he is calling for fellow councillors to think “outside the box” to reverse that decline and try to revive the high street.
Coun Armit will put the issue to Fylde’s full council meeting on Monday when his pre-prepared notice of motion will be discussed at the public session.
In his written question to the council, Coun Armit states: “The town centre of St Annes has been on the decline for over five years now. JR Taylor, Mooch, the Olive Tree, Prezzo, the former B&M Bargains on Wood Street and others stand empty and abandoned.
“The choice for a shopper is so limited few make it a destination of choice.
“The market is on a Thursday and thus not available to most people that work.
“Can the council confirm what plans they have to improve St Annes footfall, encourage business and save our town centre and can they confirm which councillor has the lead on town regeneration?”
Coun Armit commented on the issue before next week’s meeting; “Generically, St Annes used to have a successful and thriving centre, perhaps even better than Lytham, but for the past decade it has been spiralling downhill.
“For years JR Taylor, one of the town’s biggest stores, has been empty and we now have far too many empty spaces in the main square.
“There are some lovely little shops in the town centre but there are not enough of them. Things have slipped and it’s time to realise we can’t just be passive about it, as councillors we must be more proactive, think out of the box and actively look at initiatives to turn things around.”
Colin Ballard, chairman of the St Annes Enterprise Partnership (STEP), said: “We know there has been a decline in recent years and any ideas to reverse that trend are always very welcome.A lot of people are working very hard to make St Annes as attractive as possible and the number of events staged in the town have certainly been on an upward trend over a similar period.
“We would be interested to hear Coun Armit’s ideas and the opportunity to put them to STEP and discuss them is always there at our regular meetings.”
“Fylde Council is represented on our committee its regeneration officer and his deputy so the avenue to raise any concerns is always there.”
The issue will come up for discussion at Monday’s full council meeting.