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countering the spin and providing the balance


Hostelry, History, and Mystery

Hostelry, History and a Parking MysteryMisplaced Anger at Hostelry Plan
According to the Lytham St Anne's Express, many residents in St Anne's are worried about a new plan to change a redundant off-licence/winebar in the Square into a 'Pub'. This is a concern echoed by the St Anne's on the Sea Town Council who suggest there are enough public houses in the town for the number of people who live here. Quite so.

However, the point being missed here is that St Anne's' major industry is tourism. The town was developed to serve many more visitors than presently come, and if we are to shrink, and become a town serving only the needs of the resident population, we can expect to see the retail sector declining much further than it has to date (along with public amenities which are also significantly over-supplied based on the needs of the resident population). The answer here is to make the town more attractive to upmarket day and short stay visitors, (and thus spread the civic costs over more users), not to shrink the scale of retail and civic amenities in town.

As is so often the case however, it is likely that evolutionary change will win the day. We have now reached the point where the balance is well shifted in favour of St Anne's becoming THE place to eat-out in the north west. This trend was started by Tiggis, with what became their Joya development. In turn, this development was the spur that prompted some council officers to encourage the growth of a 'cafe quarter' in Wood Street. That scheme took on a mind of its own, and the town is slowly turning itself into the restaurant capital of the northwest - a niche market to attract visitors and allow the town to remain prosperous.

counterbalance understands that the latest of these developments, (the plan to convert the redundant wine bar) has extensive catering facilities. Indeed, the whole of the first floor is to be kitchens, so we don't have too many fears about another eating business opening up to attract visitors into town, (along with the money those visitors earned elsewhere) to improve the local balance of payments, and to line local pockets and provide employment.

If it were to show signs of turning into an unsuitable venue like the backstreet nightclub that causes so much trouble when it is open, the matter can be controlled by the licensing committee.

History of St Anne's
We stay in St Anne's because it is exceptional and special. To understand how and why it came to be so, we need to understand the forces and people that created it. An opportunity to do this in both an authoritative and entertaining way is at hand.

Each Friday in July, acclaimed local historian Peter Shakeshaft is giving a talk on the history of St Anne's - how it grew from early origins as Heyhouses to the 'Opal of the West' we know and love.

Peter is about to launch his new book, and his talks will give a flavour of the vast amount of research he has undertaken over several years, including his extensive research amongst the uncatalogued documents at the Lancashire County Archive.

The talks are going to be held at the United Reformed Church Hall, St George's Road, St Anne's (near the town centre, just across the road from the present Conservative club) as follows.

  •   7 July 'Heyhouses - a farming community'
  • 14 July 'Heyhouses - Family life 1550 - 1960'
  • 21 July 'St Anne's - Birth of a new town'
  • 28 July 'St Anne's - Opal of the west'

The talks start at 7.30 pm each Friday and there is no entry charge, but a voluntary collection will be taken in support of the Bone Cancer Research Trust.

Parking Mystery in Blackpool
The recent report that said Blackpool was in the top ten best places for parking seemed something of a mystery until you remember that in order to attract external funding and get the casino schemes approved, their deprivation index has been allowed to become so high that hardly anyone in their right mind would want to go there anymore, and when they do, the parking arrangements are such that they don't return. So it's only logical there must be lots of parking space available.

Dated:  19 June 2006


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