Mussel Tank Project
Plans for the mussel tank are inspired by the importance of Lytham Green. It has been challenging to keep this iconic and unique beauty spot clear of commercial development.
Lytham is here because of the sea and the magnificent Ribble estuary – we hope in this project to explain their never ending connection.
Benefits: Community & the environment
Project Leader: Susan Cornah
In Partnership With: Fylde Borough Council & BCA Landscape
What Makes It So Special?
- Its open aspect, with views over to the Pennines, Southport, the Great Orme, the Welsh mountains, and indeed out to the open sea
- It’s a large grassy open space
- Its closeness to Lytham centre
- Its accessibility
- Historic buildings such as Lytham windmill (there were once moves to demolish it as it was seen as an industrial building), the old traditionally built lifeboat house from whence the first ocean going lifeboats set out
- The mussel tanks are important too. In about 1934 this large structure was built on the foreshore to enable polluted mussels to be washed, brought by the fishermen from as far as Morecambe Bay
- Maritime connections. After the mussel tanks fell into disuse in the 1940s uses were found for two of the three sections. One section houses the inshore lifeboat and RNLI shop, and one the Ribble Cruising Club. The third section was for some years used as an informal swimming pool
- Since 2010, proposals have been developing on what to do with the site to improve it. It had been agreed by various local groups that some form of arena would be good, and that the site should be opened out – rather than enclosed in an attempt to provide shelter.
- There should be seating and explanation boards so that people can understand where they are and what they are looking at.
- It was thought that the site was too inhospitable for children’s play equipment.
- We have opposed any commercial development or further cafes on the site, and besides the fact that this would destroy the ambience of the site and set bad precedents.
- We are keen that all visitors should be encouraged to go into town to visit cafes and shops. There are over 40 places of refreshment just a few steps away!
We wholeheartedly support our local business community
Want To Know More? Read On…
This is a windy and exposed site and is entirely suited to the RNLI and the RCC. Now and again it floods. The architecture of both is low lying and they are both strongly connected to the sea. The third tank has proved more of a problem.
What Has The Site Been Previously?
The local council, owners of the site, decided there should be a café on the third section, and this was originally called The Anchorage. After this closed there were a series of restaurants and nightclubs which failed, ending with the Scruples nightclub as a burnt out wreck in the 1990s.
Changes On The Horizon
The council then decided to sell it to a developer in 1997. It considered proposals for a Yates’s Wine Lodge on the site, and an “Art Gallery” which the plans indicated was a casino. There would have been accompanying roads across the Green and parking on the foreshore.
There was local uproar, residents having already fought off a proposal for a large leisure centre alongside the RNLI, a dual carriageway and several car parks. This was led by the Civic Society who raised the then large sum of £14,000 to demolish the derelict structure.
A Planning Enquiry refused the development proposals and the demolition went ahead. We were assured that we would be consulted on any further projects proposed for the foreshore, but the site has become neglected. A centrepiece put up by the Lytham Lions was destroyed by vandals, together with the remaining benches.
The Future Is Bright
LSA Civic Society now have the go ahead from Fylde Council to carry out their plans to improve the site on these lines. We are helped by professionals from BCA Landscape (www.bcalandscape.co.uk) and their initial plans are being developed.
Vandalism and weather are serious concerns on the site as, like Lytham Green, visitors will be there all year round. So far surveyors have ascertained that the site is sound and we are assured that the sea wall, when replaced, will be going round the site.
Our proposals are in keeping with the recently adopted council Coastal Strategy which sees this section of coast as a Heritage Area.
We are now preparing funding applications for a low key design which can be used by all sections of the community for events when the weather is good.
The essential ambience of Lytham Green will remain. It really is the best place to walk off your Christmas pudding or Sunday roast, take in some bracing air and look at the stars.