Plea to protect 'superb' display of artwork at Morecambe's former Frontierland site

A Morecambe councillor is appealing to Lancaster CIty Council to preserve the artworks surrounding the former Frontierland site.

Friday, 20th August 2021, 3:45 pm
The impressive artwork surrounding the former Frontierland site

Concerned Coun. Jim Pilling has written a letter to the authority raising the issue of the impressive artwork produced by local artists, which is currently on display on the hoardings surrounding the site.

Earlier this month it was announced that Lancaster City Council had bought the Frontierland site for £3m .to kick start its regeneration and give the site a new lease of life.

The land was previously home to a theme park, which closed more than 20 years ago, since which time there have been a number of failed re-development attempts by the private sector.

Polly Swann with her grandmother Barbara McInnes and organiser Bob Pickersgill at the unveiling of Barbara's octopus artowrk on Morecambe prom. Photo by Mike Jackson

As reported previously, artists from Morecambe installed dozens of new pieces of art along the 200m fencing in a bid to brighten up what used to be described as Morecambe' s "biggest blot".

The makeover, which features Bob Pickersgill's Thora Hird mural, Freddie Mercury, a cat surfing on a donut and also attracted the attention of Lancaster's Olympic hero Polly Swann, who unveiled her grandmother's octopus-inspired painting, has been welcomed by locals and visitors alike.

It is understood lots more pieces of art are due to be added to the hoardings in the coming months with the hope that every panel would be covered by the end of the year.

Coun. Pilling hopes that the paintings will be protected and used as part of an outdoor exhibition or art walk on the site.

In his letter to the chief executive, Mr Kieran Keane, Coun. Pilling explained that the artists had an unwritten agreement with Morrisons (previous owners) that the pieces would remain the property of each individual artist, and that any work done on the site would not cause damage to the artwork.

The Lib Dem councillor also seeks confirmation that LCC will not be looking to develop this site for housing or as a car park.

He states: "Whatever is decided for the future of the site, I am requesting confirmation that the artwork will remain the property of each individual artist, and that no work will be done on behalf of LCC that would damage the artwork. The artworks were produced free of charge by the artists, in fact the artists had to pay for the materials out of their own pocket. Each artwork panel can be removed quite easily if and when the hoardings need to be removed.

"Perhaps you would like to take this opportunity to confirm that Lancaster City Council will not be looking to develop this site for housing or as a car park?"

Responding, Coun. Tricia Heath, Lancaster City Council's cabinet member with responsibility for economic recovery, said: “The council has only recently taken over ownership of the site and the future of the artwork has yet to be discussed.

"We would be happy to meet with the artists, or their representatives, at a future date to discuss how we can preserve it for the people of Morecambe.”