£17m retail park planned for Morecambe

Plans have been unveiled for a £17m retail and leisure park in Morecambe.

Morcambe retailDeveloper Opus North wants to build a quality 100,000 sq ft complex of fashion shops, a hotel, restaurants, a family pub and 376 parking spaces on the former 10-acre Frontierland fairground site at Morecambe Bay.

If approved by planners, the new Bay Shopping Park, which is adjacent to a 70,000 sq ft Morrisons store, will create 500 jobs and fill the site on Morecambe Promenade.

Two public exhibitions of the plans were held at Morecambe Superbowl at the end of November, before Opus North submits a planning application to Lancaster City Council at the end of February.

Andrew Duncan, the managing director of Opus North, revealed that several well-known fashion stores were interested in coming to the new retail and leisure park.

He said: “We are proud to be bringing forward major investment in a well-known but disused site. It is our intention to create a lasting legacy of jobs and investment for Morecambe.

“The reaction of local Morecambe residents, when we exhibited our plans, was extremely positive. 87 per cent of those who commented on our proposals were in favour of them, which is very encouraging.

“This is the only retail development of a comparable size which is scheduled to open in the Morecambe and Lancaster region before 2017. It will provide a massive boost to the local economy and regenerate an area of the bay which has fallen into disrepair in recent years.”

Frontierland, part of the Blackpool Pleasure Beach empire, closed in 2000. Supermarket giants Morrisons bought the land in 2001 and initially aimed to open a Freeport-style shopping complex. But these plans never came to fruition.

A Next, Homebase and gym/sports shop opened on the site in 2008 but the rest of the land remained vacant as Morrisons struggled to sell during the recession. Andrew Duncan added: “For the past 12 years, this site has proved difficult to develop. Now, however, we believe we have devised plans which will create a thriving retail and leisure park of which Morecambe can be proud”.