Lifeline for our town centre CCTV as rescue bid launched

Coun Brendan Hughes.
Coun Brendan Hughes.

A bid is being launched to save the CCTV camera system in Morecambe town centre.

With last week’s burglary at the new Burger King fresh in people’s minds, campaigners believe CCTV is more important than ever.

The CCTV system may no longer be operated in Morecambe and Lancaster town and city centres.

The CCTV system may no longer be operated in Morecambe and Lancaster town and city centres.

The 41-camera system in Morecambe and Lancaster is under threat due to funding cuts.

But Brendan Hughes, a Lancaster city councillor and chairman of Morecambe Business Improvement District (BID), said he is “quietly confident” money can be found to keep the system operational.

Coun Hughes, who also runs Morecambe security firm ICU Security Services, said: “It’s not a given but we are working hard to come up with a solution.

“A group of stakeholders - Morecambe BID, Lancaster BID and myself on behalf of Lancaster City Council are looking to put in a bid to the Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner to replace or upgrade the system, and we’re well on with it.”

Lancaster City Council has announced it will stop operating the system from March 2017 as a cost-cutting measure.

But they said they would consider allowing a third party to take on the running of the CCTV if there was no cost to the 
council. The CCTV currently costs £174,000 to run per year but Coun Hughes said “we’re confident we can bring these costs down”.

The ageing cameras were installed around 20 years ago.

The views seen on the monitors in the control room can also be seen by police staff at police HQ so they can respond to crimes.

Meanwhile a resident has launched an online petition to keep CCTV in Morecambe, specifically asking for a camera on Victoria Street close to Burger King.

Coun Hughes said he welcomed the petition.

“A petition is a great idea,” he said. “It means there’s nowhere to hide, if the public wants it we have to do it. I would sign it myself.”

But he also said that CCTV cameras may also be needed in other areas of town in future.

“The geographical area where the economy is in Morecambe is changing.

“When the Bay Retail Park opens (at Frontierland) we have to think about monitoring that area.

“We could be in danger of covering the wrong areas.”

The petition, started by Morecambe woman Michelle Clifford, can be found at www.change.org