Lytham St Annes in Lancashire has seen a dozen shops close in just two months with fears part of it is becoming a ghost town for business, according to a local. The businessman said the place is full of charity shops, barber shops, nail and tattoo bars, but has little else to attract visitors.
Made up of Lytham and St Annes, Visit Lancashire’s website says the dual towns, collectively known as Lytham St Annes, are “worlds apart in both character and atmosphere”.
But it appears to be a tale of two towns as some locals claim St Annes gets no help to attract visitors to the seaside town, which is just a couple of miles from the bright lights of Blackpool.
Named only as Alan, the owner of the Ducks Nuts Tapas bar told LancashireLive that the St Annes part of the town has received no support from the local authority, Fylde Borough Council.
He said: “They spend all of their money to help Lytham and very little help in St Annes. Walking around the high street and it’s a totally different atmosphere to St Annes and it’s not because they’ve got better shops there.
Margarets Florists owner Ann, who has not been named in full, told Lancashire Live there needed to be more awareness of business needs in St Annes and more support for new commercial ventures.
She praised 90 minute parking in the town, but said St Annes many eateries need to be celebrated much more in order to attract customers.
Among the businesses shutting up shop in the town are Squire men’s shop, Shoe Zone, Firepit and a furniture store.
A spokesperson for the local authority told Lancashire Live that Fylde Council values all businesses and the economic contributions they make.
The spokesperson pointed to the employment of a town centres officer and links with St Annes Enterprise Partnership and St Annes Independent Retailers groups.
The council says it has committed over 20 percent of its total UK Shared Prosperity Fund allocation to supporting businesses across Fylde, with projects including support for aerospace, automotive, advanced engineering and manufacturing sectors.
A town centre footfall monitoring project for St Annes, Kirkham and Lytham will help identify opportunities for events to attract people, according to the council.
A St Annes masterplan for the next 5-10 years includes projects which seek to connect the town centre with the local promenade to boost the economy.
A £13.14million Levelling Up round two funding bid submitted by Fylde was unsuccessful in January.
The council is waiting for a Government announcement with details for round three.