A FIRST stage bid for significant lottery funding for the restoration of the near 100-year-old Fairhaven Lake and surroundings could be made early next year.
And the council could save thousands of pounds by taking advantage of a reduced match fund rate.
Councillors are due to meet this evening to further discuss the development of a master plan for the coastal strip and Fairhaven Lakes and Gardens.
They are expected to continue the progress of the ambitious project which could provide a huge economic and leisure and tourism boost to the area for the next 20 years when it is completed.
Fylde Council has embarked on the master planning study, looking at the landscape, heritage and recreational provision of the Lytham and St Annes coastal frontage – with particular emphasis on Fairhaven Lake and Promenade Gardens.
A consultation process is gathering information from the public, council and others involved in the sites. And information about what people want for the coastal strip will help develop the master plan.
As part of the master plan findings, it is revealed that Fairhaven Lake and Gardens is of considerable heritage value.
The council’s policy development scrutiny committee has been recommended by officers to investigate funding opportunities and review the activities currently taking place on the lake in line with options for change that have been identified.
The cost of restoring the lake and its infrastructure could be substantial.
The committee will be told in a report that the consultation findings indicate a strong preference for a restoration scheme which “respects and enhances traditional tranquil themes and activities and leads to a better understanding and appreciation of the site’s historical context”.
Options that could be considered include the demolition of the existing boathouse and workshop and the provision of new facilities for boating, including sail boats, rowing boats, canoes and the best of the existing ageing fleet of motor boats, together with model yacht and boat sailing provision.
A council spokesman said: “This is a very good time to seek lottery money. The lottery has made many contributions to councils across the country but due to the economic climate a lot of councils aren’t taking up that money. Therefore the lottery, to encourage them to do so, has reduced the match fund element to five per cent – it used to be 25 per cent. So if we had bid for £1m we would have had to match it with £250,000. We can now support that by chipping in with just £50,000.
“The timing is very good. A report on the scale of the bid will go to cabinet in November. We don’t know as yet what the scale will be.”