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INTERVIEW: Petition launched for showers on Morecambe Prom as plans hit council 'stumbling block'

Morecambe Bay swimmer Simon Walker

A regular swimmer in Morecambe Bay has launched a campaign to install open-air showers on the Promenade.

Simon Walker says showers would "provide convenience and promote hygiene and cleanliness" for people using the Bay.

The online petition has backing from local councillors and Morecambe BID.

But Mr Walker says the idea has hit a "stumbling block" with Lancaster City Council, which owns the Promenade. 

The council said they are "supportive in principle" but a feasibility study needs to first be carried out.

"I think it will be of a great benefit," said Mr Walker.

"There are more than 6,000 members of MALLOWS, the local swimming community. We've got jet skiers, families with little toddlers with sandy feet.

"We're looking at the Clock Tower, round the cafe. We've got a couple of options."

LISTEN to Simon Walker talking about the petition

Simon, who has been swimming in the Bay for around five years, said: "You get covered in sand and mud...sometimes the water quality isn't fantastic.

"It would be nice for people to rinse off, get themselves clean and all their kit and equipment clean as well.

"I'm sure if we get some good numbers on the petition that will give us some backing for the council to make a move on this for us."

The petition can be found HERE.

The page at Change.org says: "We've already secured external funding at no cost to the local taxpayer and just need signatures to help local councillors push this through. 

"With high footfall expected due to the Eden Project coming to the area it is essential that we provide amenities that cater to these visitors' needs while also enhancing their experience at our beautiful seaside town.

"The implementation of this amenity will not only improve the quality of life for locals but will also make our town more attractive to tourists thus potentially boosting local economy through increased visitor spending."

The campaign has cross-party support among local councillors.

Charlie Edwards, Conservative county councillor, said: "I fully support this petition as the council need to realise that the only way to make Morecambe a destination is to provide facilities that visitors need.

"I have been working with the group to find some funding for this project.

"The more people who sign the petition, the better chance we have of success."

Lizzi Collinge, a county councillor and also Labour's parliamentary candidate for Morecambe and Lunesdale, said: "I've been supporting the MALLOWS campaign for new showers on Morecambe Prom which will help local swimmers and be a draw for visitors too.

"The group have done a great job of raising funds and now need a bit of support to put their plans into action. Really now it's just a matter of getting engagement on the practical plans needed so that showers can be installed and maintained safely. 

"I have to admit that's it's been a bit frustrating and has taken far longer than I had hoped when I first got involved. Local councillors Joanne Ainscough and Margaret Pattison have been really helpful in trying to push through the bureaucracy and get things moving so I really hope things get going soon!"

John O'Neill, manager of Morecambe BID (Business Improvement District), said: "We welcome any improvements in Morecambe that will benefit both residents and visitors alike. Fresh water showers are definitely a benefit for all."

A Lancaster City Council spokesperson said: "We acknowledge the request for the council to consider installing showers near the Clock Tower and in principle the council is supportive. 

"However, to evaluate any proposal which will have a long-term impact on its budget, a feasibility study will need to be conducted first. 

"Investigations into the installation costs for such a facility on Morecambe Promenade, as well as the long term cost of its operation and maintenance is ongoing."

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