The Mussel Tank Project
Plans for the mussel tank were 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. Below The opening of the Mussel Tank 1934
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
View across the estuary looking towards the distant hills.
The Mussell Tank today bathed in sunlight
- Since 2010, proposals were developed 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…
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. 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. The site had become neglected. A centrepiece put up by the Lytham Lions was destroyed by vandals, together with the remaining benches.
Vandalism and weather are serious concerns on the site as, like Lytham Green, visitors will be there all year round.
The essential ambience of Lytham Green was planned to 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.