More than 500 people turned out to back ambitious plans for the re-development of a former nightclub site in Fylde.
A pop-up beach event was held on Lytham foreshore, allowing residents the chance to view the plans to revamp the dilapidated area into a sand and water play venue.
The team behind the proposals, Park View, hailed the day as a “phenomenal success”, as 506 people filled in consultation forms to back the plans, with just five set against the ideas.
Park View chairman Aurelio Arciniega said: “The Pop-Up Beach event has been a phenomenal success in terms of engaging members of the community and visitors alike.
“It was wonderful to see so many people coming to look at the project and ask questions.
“It was especially pleasing to see this largely disused space being enjoyed by so many on such a lovely day.”
The group is proposing a state-of-the-art sand and water play area, landscaped in a seaside setting. It will include interpretation boards depicting the history of the mussel tanks on which the site would be developed and the play heritage of the foreshore.
Similar play areas have been built at Martin Mere Wildfowl and Wetland Centre in Burscough, as well as the Olympic Park’s ecological play space in London.
Park Ranger Julie Norman added: “It was a fantastic day, which was very busy from the start.
“The little ones spent hours playing in the sand, while the older children took part in the educational activities. The feedback we received was incredible. This year more than 1,600 pupils have attended Park View Forest School activities at our Park View Road site. Beach School activities are a natural progression especially as some of the pupils from visiting schools have never experienced the educational benefits of playing in sand.”
‘Don’t repeat mistakes of the past’
A leading member of a Fylde charity said whoever is backed to take over the Scruples site must learn the lessons of its last development.
To mark the millennium in 2000, the Lytham St Annes Lions Club, with the help of generous donations from Fylde residents, spent £6,500 on renovating the Lytham foreshore site.
But within weeks of opening, vandals had smashed stone benches and wrecked newly installed sculptures. Just three months later, what was left of the outdoor furniture had to be completely removed in a bid to stop further damage.
Lions club spokesman, Colin Holt, said previous mistakes should not be repeated.
He warned: “I want to say how much the club supports the development of the site, whether its Park View, Lytham St Annes Civic Society or another proposal.
“When we renovated the site, we spent thousands of pounds, but within months it was so badly damaged, much of the stonework had to be removed.
“People removed parts, broke stone off – we even had a bench taken overnight.
“During the day, there will be no issue, but our concern is what happens at night, when people go home?
“What arrangements will be made to ensure the site is protected? A lot of money is going to be spent on it and it needs to be looked after.”