Morecambe Conservation Area
Lancaster City Council designated the Morecambe Conservation Area in June 2003. This means that the Council recognised the area as having special architectural or historic interest, the character of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance.
Local authorities have a duty to review designations from time to time. The impetus for the most recent review of the Morecambe Conservation Area (2008) was as part of the preparation for a proposed second Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) for the town.
Morecambe THI 2: A View for Eric
THIs are conservation-led grant schemes designed to regenerate the historic heart of a town or city. The first THI which ran between 2003-2007 involved the restoration of almost seventy properties in the Morecambe Conservation Area, including the grade II* listed Midland Hotel.
Following difficulties acquiring the necessary match funding, Morecambe THI2 - 'A View for Eric' finally launched in May 2012. This is a five year programme of investment focusing on parts of the western end of the Morecambe Conservation Area. For further information, please visit www.lancaster.gov.uk/viewforeric
Background to the Morecambe Conservation Area
A Conservation Area is a place of special architectural or historic interest within which the city council has a duty to promote its preservation and enhancement.
On the 13th June 2003 the city council designated a new conservation area covering the Poulton and central Promenade areas of Morecambe. It builds upon the existing Poulton Conservation Area designated in 1991.
Morecambe Conservation Area’s special character can be said to stem from its relationship with the Bay - from the early origins of Poulton-le-Sands as a fishing village, to the development of Morecambe as a popular holiday resort. In addition to agriculture, the Bay has driven the economy of the area, both in terms of its resources and its spectacular views. When people think of Morecambe, it is the backdrop of the Bay and the views of the Lake District beyond which spring to mind. Indeed, it is this view that Eric Morecambe famously found so appealing.
This spectacular setting has also impacted upon the architecture of the area. The historic village of Poulton can still be read through the road layout and buildings which remain, with Poulton Square at its heart, but this was focussed inland. However, with the arrival of the railway in the mid-nineteenth century, the buildings began to look to the sea.
The architecture was designed to take advantage of the spectacular views. This is evident from the earliest waterfront buildings, such as Craven Terrace, with its bowed bay windows, the orientation of the Corner House Café with its corner windows, to the Art Deco Midland Hotel built on the shore line and designed to appear as a visiting ocean liner. This curved building with its convex side facing the Bay commands unobscured views.
Much of Morecambe’s character also stems from what is intangible, such as its fishing heritage and its historic associations with the stars of music hall and variety theatre. Even the positive air that Morecambe currently has about it now that its regeneration is well underway, with the restoration of the Midland Hotel providing the catalyst, contributes to the area’s character.
It is all of these things which help to define Morecambe Conservation Area’s local distinctiveness and which are the qualities that make the area so unique.
Morecambe Conservation Area Appraisal
The review of the Conservation Area is now complete and following public consultation over the summer, a new appraisal was adopted in September 2008.
This appraisal concludes that the most significant features of the Morecambe Conservation Area are:
• its relationship with the Bay
• the original Poulton Village layout and its seventeenth century buildings
• The fishermen’s cottages, such as those on Morecambe Street and Lord Street
• The uncomplicated vernacular of the early nineteenth century cottages
• The long terraces of nineteenth century boarding houses
• Remnants of the resort’s nineteenth century entertainment buildings: Winter Gardens
• Art Deco heritage, including the Midland Hotel, the Woolworths and Hitchens buildings
• Natural stone and cobble boundary walls and
• Cobble and stone set floorscapes.
The appraisal also concludes that the most important issues which threaten the special architectural and historic interest of the Morecambe Conservation Area are:
• the erosion of historic and architectural features
• Lack of maintenance
• Poor quality shop fronts and signage
• Poor quality public realm and streetscapes
View Morecambe Conservation Area Appraisal (PDF 5.6MB)
Morecambe Conservation Area Management Plan
The effectiveness of the conservation area depends on the way in which it is managed. However, this is not just about the city council effectively exercising its planning powers. Local businesses and residents all have a part to play. The purpose of the management plan is to show how everybody can help to make Morecambe a better place in which to live, work and visit.
Following consultation over the summer the management plan was adopted by the city council in September 2008.
View Morecambe Conservation Area Management Plan (PDF 1.4MB)