Disappointment as Morecambe misses out on £25m Future High Streets Fund cash

A funding bid for cash to transform Morecambe town centre and redevelop the train station area has been rejected by the government.
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Lancaster City Council submitted the bid for the maximum £25m last year and was one of 50 towns out of 400 chosen to develop plans for the future of its “high street”.

It was awarded up to £150,000 to support this, but the bid was ultimately unsuccessful.

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Swindon and Sunderland both received the full £25m funding, while Worcester, Tamworth and Birkenhead also benefited significantly from the scheme.

A funding bid for cash to transform Morecambe town centre and redevelop the train station area has been rejected by the government.A funding bid for cash to transform Morecambe town centre and redevelop the train station area has been rejected by the government.
A funding bid for cash to transform Morecambe town centre and redevelop the train station area has been rejected by the government.

Barrow, Blackpool, and Runcorn did not receive the funding for their bids.

In Morecambe, Lancaster City Council developed five project business cases focussed on "Arrival", "Making a Contemporary Heart", "Victoria Street - new main street", "Morecambe Arndale", and "Promenade Park".

You can read more details about these HERE.Whilst Lancaster City Council and Morecambe BID said they were disappointed with the outcome, both remained positive about Morecambe's future, particularly for the Eden Project plans.Coun Janice Hanson, cabinet member with responsibility for Economic Regeneration and Planning at Lancaster City Council, said: "We felt that our bid was a robust and compelling proposal which would help to revitalise the town for residents and visitors, so this is clearly disappointing news.

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“However, it is not the end of the road and we will continue to work hard to secure the investment that Morecambe needs and deserves.

An emphasis on Victoria Street becoming a new main street formed part of the bid.An emphasis on Victoria Street becoming a new main street formed part of the bid.
An emphasis on Victoria Street becoming a new main street formed part of the bid.

"We are now looking at the options available for taking forward the ambitious programme and the alternative ways it could be funded.

“The decision in no way affects proposals for Eden Project North, which is the subject of a separate funding bid.”

John O' Neill, manager of Morecambe BID, said: "Naturally we are disappointed considering that the Round One bid was ranked number four in the country.

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"However the big prize is still in the draw, and that's Eden North.

Morecambe Railway Station.Morecambe Railway Station.
Morecambe Railway Station.

"We remain positive that the Eden proposal will be accepted by the Treasury and that the development will go a long way in rebalancing the local economy and district.

"Of course there are other funds becoming available, such as the Levelling Up fund and we hope the council will be bidding for part of that fund, as well."

The government was encouraged to launch the Future High Streets Fund scheme by Sir John Timpson, owner of shoe repair chain Timpson.

He had called for more money for councils to turn town centres into communities and meeting places, saying that high streets were not just about shopping.