Historic boats set for £55k revamp

Women enjoying a ride on a motorboat on Fairhaven Lake in the 1950s
Women enjoying a ride on a motorboat on Fairhaven Lake in the 1950s
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They have been part of the scenery at a Fylde coast beauty spot for more than 50 years – but Fairhaven Lake’s historic motorboats could soon be set for an

upgrade.

The vessels, popular with tourists and holidaymakers for decades, could be replaced as part of a £55,000 project by Fylde Council.

All but four of the 17-strong fleet of boats, many which date from the 1950s, face being upgraded to 10 fibreglass, electric boats.

Fears have been raised that many of the boats were unsafe and Fylde Council has now revealed it plans to replace the majority of the fleet, keeping four of its teak boats to retain some “heritage interest”.

Fairhaven Coun Cheryl Little said: “Unfortunately the boats were on their absolute last legs this season and no longer fit for purpose.

“We did have to bring them in because they were not safe.

“Some of the boats had started to rot and we had to look at other avenues.”

The planned upgrade follows the announcement of a £5m revamp of the lake, with the council hoping to secure £2m from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the project.

Coun Little added: “The great thing about the electric boats is that they can be used all year round – how nice would it be to come down with your family on a

nice day.

“We have got the funds to say ‘we want to be better’.

“This just shows people we are willing to invest. This will reflect well on the bid.”

Fylde mayor Coun Kevin Eastham added: “At the council we try to be prudent but you have to look to the future.

“It will be good to retain some of the heritage boats, but I think the new boats are the way forward.

“It represents good management – we are making the decision at the right time ahead of next summer.”

In a report to councillors by Fylde Council officer Paul Walker, a health and safety consultation in August revealed only four motorboats could be safely used next summer.

In September, the use of motorboats was suspended on the lake after an engine fire in one of the vessels.

The same report also said as much as £40,000 a year could be lost if the boats were not replaced.

Mr Walker said: “If the request for replacement is not approved, the council would only be able to run a non-motorised boat service in 2015, which will result in a dramatic reduction in in-come, and a poor public per-ception of this service.

“The reduction of income would be approximately in the region of between £30,000 and £40,000 per annum as some lost income would be replaced by the

additional hire of rowing boats.”

Councillors will vote on the proposals at a full council meeting on December 1 from 7pm at Lowther Pavilion in Lytham.