BID­DING FOR CHANGE

Lancashire Life - - PLACES TO VISIT -

Fairhaven Lake is going back to the future. If a bid to the Her­itage Lot­tery Fund is successful, the pop­u­lar tourist desti­na­tion will be trans­formed over the next three years.

The ap­pli­ca­tion for the sec­ond batch of fund­ing for the pro­ject was due to be sub­mit­ted at the end of Au­gust, with an an­swer ex­pected early in De­cem­ber. If the HLF say yes, work should begin in earnest next year on restor­ing Ja­panese Gar­dens, cre­at­ing a wa­ter sports cen­tre and im­prov­ing play ar­eas, pic­nic sites and sport­ing fa­cil­i­ties.

Fylde Coun­cil’s ac­tiv­ity de­vel­op­ment officer Julie Vale said: ‘The work falls into four cat­e­gories: we want to im­prove the wa­ter qual­ity of the lake, re­store the build­ings and cre­ate a new vis­i­tor cen­tre, de­velop a pro­gramme of ac­tiv­i­ties, and im­prove the park­land and re­store features of the land­scape.’

The grounds around the lake were de­signed by Thomas Maw­son in the mid-1920s but many of his features have been lost or re-mod­elled over the years.

The ren­o­va­tion pro­ject would also see a Trea­sure Is­land for­est school created on the lake’s larger is­land, al­though it would not in­clude the work­ing can­nons that were in­cluded in Thomas Maw­son’s orig­i­nal plans

His de­signs for the lake – created on the for­mer site of Fairhaven Golf Club – in­cluded a Ja­panese Garden which was cov­ered over in the early 1980s. A com­mu­nity ar­chae­o­log­i­cal dig in spring dis­cov­ered the garden is largely in­tact and while most of the trenches dug that week were re-filled, a flight of steps un­cov­ered then has been left open. ‘We have lost quite a lot of features of the site over the years,’ Julie added. ‘The dig was to do some test digs, to open them up and have a look to in­form the de­sign work be­cause the Ja­panese Gar­dens are so beau­ti­fully pre­served we couldn’t face cov­er­ing the steps.

‘We had a lot of vol­un­teers help­ing dur­ing the dig and we have a lot of momentum at the mo­ment and we need to keep that enthusiasm.’

The Friends of Fairhaven

Lake group are par­tic­u­larly en­thu­si­as­tic. They are work­ing with the coun­cil on the plans and are host­ing a se­ries of events at the lake.

Chair­man Alan Ped­der is orig­i­nally from east Lan­cashire and used to hol­i­day near the lake as a child. He said: ‘We set up as a group with an in­ter­est in the lake, its her­itage, its his­tory and its po­ten­tial and our for­ma­tion hap­pened to co­in­cide with the lot­tery bid and that’s how we got to­gether with the coun­cil.

‘We feel the lake has been in a state of general de­cline for too long and part of our re­mit is to act as a group to en­cour­age wider use.

‘We are in­ter­ested in the restora­tion of wa­ter sports. In the 1920s there were 90 boats avail­able on the lake and they have all gone, apart from the mo­tor boats. We want to bring back kayaks, dinghies and pad­dle boards.’

Ch­eryl Lit­tle with Julie Vale and Alan Ped­der (chair­man of The Friends of Fairhaven Lake) on steps un­cov­ered dur­ing the restora­tion work

ABOVE: At the site of the Splash Pool are Lisa Fo­den and Friends group chair­man Ian Roberts LEFT: Girls play in the Ja­panese Garden at Fairhaven Lake in the 1920s

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