Call to halt decline of St Anne's shopping centre

A St Annes councillor is calling for more to de done to tackle the decline of the town’s high street centre.

Coun Tim Armit, the 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 Oliver Tree, B&M Bargains, Prezzo 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 town 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.”
Coun Armit says council officers have done their best by bringing in street furniture in to make the centre look attractive.
But he said: “We need to sit down with local businesses and discuss ways to make the town centre more of an attraction for shoppers.
“Perhaps bids can be put in to funding bodies to raise money for new initiatives,we could also look at lowering business rates and talk to Lancashire County Council about that.
”The market is a real asset but too many working people cannot get to it during the week – why not move it to Saturday and include include extra attractions to bring footfall in?”
The issue will come up for discussion at Monday’s full council meeting.

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