Cafe reopening final course of Fairhaven Lake heritage buildings upgrade

The re-opening of the cafe at Fairhaven Lake has completed a comprehensive refurbishment of the heritage buildings at the Fylde attarction.

Thursday, 21st October 2021, 12:30 pm

The three structures facing the Lake have been given a complete overhaul as part of a £1.5m lottery-funded project by Fylde Council which is also seeing the introduction of new features as well as the revival of the attraction's original Japanese garden, which was covered over in the 1960s.

The Pagoda building which was the original boathouse and has long been home to the RSPB charity’s Discovery Centre was the first of the three heritage building to reopen, incorporating an information centre and the adjacent building which succeeded it as the boathouse followed.

The café is the oldest building at Fairhaven, starting like as the golf club house in 1895, and has been restored back to its former architectural design.

The Lakeside cafe at Fairhaven following its restoration

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Inside, the floor has been levelled making it accessible to all, while fitting a new modern kitchen and toilet facilities and new timber windows create a perfect place to sit and take in the views of the lake.

Julie Vale, Fylde Council's activity development officer, said: "We are very close to completion of the whole project.

"The buildings are now complete with the new watersport centre launching activity next spring. The last piece of the Japanese garden is the planting, with work to start on that next week with ground preparation.

Inside the cafe

"The lake package with works to the lake, jetty and islands will start this winter."

As the project was launched at the start of this year, Fylde Council, which manages the Lake and also contributed funding, said its aim is to conserve and restore Fairhaven’s heritage buildings and landscape, improve the lake’s infrastructure and water quality, and provide a new programme of events , which are already under way and proving popular.

New information boards will help visitors better understand Fairhaven’s heritage.

Fairhaven has a unique history, originally designed as an “up-market” planned resort - envisaged as containing extensive residential development complete with a lake, recreational facilities and community provision.

The rear of the cafe, overlooking the playground

In 1891, Thomas Riley, a Fleetwood businessman, conceived the vision for a new coastal resort and the creation of the lake was a fundamental part of the development of it, utilising the natural features of the estuary to create it.

That included the extensive shingle bank known locally as a stannah’ which naturally enclosed a tidal lagoon. The aim was to provide a completely enclosed lake and the stannah became the outer sea wall and Promenade.

Fairhaven is considered to be the third oldest marine lake in Britain, designed as a centrepiece of a resort with its recreational facilities including a golf course.

The present café, one of the buildings currently being restored, was originally the golf course club house.

The stepped area to the Lake outside the cafe

The original boat house - now Ribble Discovery Centre - dates from 1901 and the large boat house, designed by way of an unusual prefabricated system, from 1921.

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