Frontierland Morecambe: How The West Was Lost

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Frontierland Morecambe: How The West Was Lost

Postby Gary » 14 Feb 2012, 20:18

Originally earmarked as a stand alone article for themagiceye at:, this work in progress - that intersperses media news with personal memories- aims to explore the reasons that sadly paved the way for the demise and eventual closure of Frontierland in Morecambe and reflects upon the uncertainty that has surrounded the site ever since.

Frontierland Morecambe: How The West Was Lost Part 1


I can remember what it was like in the 60s..

Embarrassed my son in the 80s on the kiddy mine train...

Watched Morcambe fade to a ghost town...

What happened?

Carol Oakes

The following text is taken from The, first published 23rd August 2007 at ... _1_1207436

Thanks to The Morecambe Local History Research Group

“The site of Frontierland was once used as a cattle field to rest livestock on its way by boat from Ireland and on to various parts of England.

The land was later a Territorials' gun park and firing range, until a wayward gunner managed to put a hole in a passing passenger ferry.

But its longest continuous use was, of course, as a fun park.

The Figure Eight park there entertained holidaymakers and locals alike for decades.

But in the 1940s it entered a new phase when Leonard Thompson, of Blackpool, added the park to his enterprise…

…By 1970 the Morecambe Pleasure Park, as it had become known, boasted 25 major rides and 10 for smaller children.

In May 1979 plans were approved for a £750,000 monorail to take people from the back of the park across to the prom on 16ft stanchions.

This never materialised.

In 1980 the park embarked on a course that was to take it into conflict with the local city council.

The Fun City indoor amusement hall had replaced the Diamond Horseshoe bingo centre at the park that year, but it was the arrival of the huge 150ft high Ferris wheel that was to start the controversy.

It carried 240 people at a time and could be seen from the M6 motorway but, though it opened to a blaze of local publicity it did not meet with everyone's approval.

One or two residents on nearby roads complained that the unique vantage point offered atop the ride impinged on their privacy – 'they can see into my window' was typical of the comments..

Council planners noted the park had not sought planning permission to erect the wheel – the park owner Geoffrey Thompson said they did not need planning permission as it was a moveable structure on their own land.

"It's a fixed structure, you need permission!" said the planners.

"No! It's moveable," said Mr Thompson and, after another couple of years of wrangling, he proved it by moving it to North Carolina.

There was more argument when the park wanted to launch a Log Flume, to protests from Highfield Terrace.

Work was started, again without planning permission, and there was another bit of to-ing and fro-ing before it opened in 1982. At the official opening Lancaster's Mayor Councillor Geoff Bryan took a ride.

In 1986, in a bid to revamp the declining fairground, a new frontage was planned and in a £150,000 facelift the place was to jump on the 'theme park' bandwagon and re-launch as 'Frontierland'.

In 1987 TV celebrity Jeremy Beadle joined park manager Jim 'JR' Rowland on a promotional stagecoach ride to open the new-look park at high noon on June 4.

Later that year a massive fire was to claim the Fun City building, though it was later reborn as the Crazy Horse Saloon opened by Grand National legend Red Rum in September 1988.

In 1989 the Sky Ride chairlift was opened by tennis star Annabel Croft, taking passengers in two-person chairs along a ropeway that stretched out of the park and over Marine Road to a tower on the promenade and back.

The Cyclone had been renamed The Texas Tornado.

There was a brief flurry of success for the park before its owners started considering its future, as they poured more and more investment into their Pleasureland venture at Southport.

An application was submitted – but rejected by Lancaster City Council in 1994 – to establish a new retail park on the site.

Another feature from Blackpool – a 170ft tower with a revolving and elevating platform – was brought to Morecambe and launched in 1995 with sponsorship from mint manufacturers 'Polo'.

From the text above it is interesting to note that, although declined, a planning application was submitted in 1994 for retail development on the Frontierland site.

This is the same year that The Big One Roller Coaster was built and reportedly came in over budget at Blackpool Pleasure Beach - also owned by the Thompson Family.


My main memory is of my only go on the log flume with a friend in about '92.

I remember very clearly feeling a sense of awkwardness while floating by folks' living room windows while seated in the log.

I could clearly see what they were watching on TV, and obviously they could see me sailing past in my fibreglass 'galleon' like some bargain basket pirate! [RED FACE]

S. A. S. Baynham

The following text is taken from The Lancashire Evening Telegraph, first published Thursday 15th Aug 1996

A VITAL set of clues about the arsonist who branded himself the 'Firefox' after a spate of fires at Morecambe's Frontierland have been issued by the police.

Lancaster Police are hunting a slim, white male, aged between 18 and 19, who had light brown hair. He was wearing a navy blue tracksuit with red or orange striped sleeves.

The description was issued after the first attack on one of the oldest roller coasters in the world - the Texas Tornado. A bonfire was lit under the wooden structure causing about £300's worth of damage at about 10.40pm on August 4.

Shortly after firefighters put the blaze out the Citizen learned that a telephone threat had been issued warning police the firebug would strike again.

Another call threatening more attacks was issued on Monday and on Tuesday morning part of the cable car SkyRide which runs across the prom was also set alight.

Other minor fires at businesses in the resort such as Broombys and Hitchen's as well as small fires at skips in the Arndale Centre are also believed to be linked to the 'firefox'.

So far there have been no more attacks on the theme park but Frontierland have set up extra patrols around the park as well as running daily checks on their rides.

DS Grant Thompson, who is heading the investigation, said: "So far there have been no further developments but this description could help find the person who is responsible for the fires."


"Back in 1982, I was a volunteer driver for Liverpool Community Transport, having passed my PSV test, but still employed in a clerical capacity by Merseyside Transport.

The vehicle I usually drove was a 42-seat Leyland Leopard (PJX 34) that started life with Halifax Corporation. (Co-incidentally, PJX 35 is now a resident of Dewsbury Bus Museum).

I was given a job taking a group of “deprived” youngsters from Liverpool City Centre to Blackpool for a day trip.

The youngsters were probably better described as “depraved”, but during the journey they made a request that was to impact upon me for years to come.

They pointed out that the Blackpool Pleasure Beach charged “per ride”, whilst Morecambe Pleasure Park gave you a wristband with which you could ride all day – a far more economic proposition, and one that was, at the time, unique.

So we diverted to Morecambe.

I was impressed.

There was a log-flume, a wooden roller-coaster (the “Texas Tornado” dating from 1937), a chairlift that took you out over the promenade and back, a miniature train, Noah’s Ark, dodgems, “Wild Mouse” and many others.

From that year on, I took the St James’ Junior Club there by coach every summer as well as organising days out with my mates or girlfriends of the time."

"The park's wristband was simply a loop of string placed over the wrist with a sticky-back label folded over to hold it in place. It was impossible to remove without damaging it.

Simple, but effective."

"..By 1990 I had left Liverpool and had children of my own. We continued visiting Morecambe every year until 1995, when we rode on the newly-installed Polo Tower.

Imagine my shock to discover that Frontierland was no more. But what was more shocking was the story of its demise, along with the funfair at Southport, which held many happy memories from my childhood days.."

Tony Salmon:

The early nineties hadn’t been particularly kind to Morecambe’s tourist industry.

The Central Pier had survived being struck by fire in 1933 but was finally demolished in 1992.

In 1994 "The World of Crinkley Bottom" attraction in Happy Mount Park closed only 13 weeks after opening and the ensuing "Blobbygate" scandal led to a legal battle between Lancaster City Council and TV star Noel Edmonds.

The following text is taken from The Lancashire Evening Telegraph, first published Thursday 28th May 1998.

MORECAMBE could lose Frontierland if the City Council fails to put its 'tourism' cards on the table claims holiday supremo Geoffrey Thompson.

The theme park boss says the future of the resort's main attraction hangs in the balance while uncertainty surrounds the Bubbles leisure complex and the future of Morecambe tourism in general. But in a robust defence of the council's record, Cllr Jean Yates played a trump card and exclusively revealed that three major companies were now looking to invest in the resort.

This week the Pleasure Beach boss told the Citizen: "I want to know if Bubbles (Open Air Pool) will be open or not because things like this have a strong influence on any future investment decisions for this company..

..I have written to the chief executive over the last two years and have not been given any guarantees. All I get is nebulous replies. This council is not showing a lot of faith. They have practically shut down the tourism department and appear to want to close Bubbles...

..They have never publicly said what they see is the future for Morecambe..

..It's very sad. They need to make some positive public statements. If they don't, it will make things very difficult...

It would be a total nonsense for a hotelier or businessman to be asked to invest at the moment when the future is so uncertain.

Our company makes all its executives decisions by August so if we have heard nothing positive by the end of July we will decide accordingly," and he added ominously:

"You can read into that what you will..”

This week many of the town's hoteliers and business people met behind closed doors to set up a committee to oppose the possible closure of Bubbles and Bubbles' boss Brian Bromiley said: "No politicians were invited and we made a lot of headway.

There were representatives from 16 different organisations present and I was quite surprised at the strength of support for the complex. We've also got a 1,000 name petition."

But dismissing Mr Thompson's claims, tourism chairman, Cllr Yates, said: "We've spent £30 to £40 million in Morecambe - if that's not commitment what is?

We've got 18 months to take a fresh look at the Bubbles site and see if we can attract big developers who can see its potential as a leisure complex.

It's one of the best sites on the coast of England. Our dream would be to buy the Midland, get a developer to build extra bedrooms and also get them to develop the entire site as a new leisure complex."

She also revealed which blue chip companies were interested in Morecambe: "Stakis Hotels are looking at the Midland, Apollo are looking at the Winter Gardens and Rank has taken up a lease on part of the Empire complex.

We're not saying Bubbles will close but we do need to be looking at making Morecambe a resort for the 21st Century"

At one time, Morecambe Frontierland was attracting nearly 900,000 visitors a season. Geoffrey Thompson went on record to say that for the following year (1999) the attendance at Frontierland would just barely top 100,000.

Against the backdrop of falling attendances and uncertainty Frontierland was 'downsized' in 1998 when the back section of the park was closed - and as a direct result the park lost some of its rides.

The Stampede roller coaster was one of the first rides to close. It had opened at the park in 1988.

Also removed in 1998 was the family favourite Tea Cups ride (The Perculator)

Dark clouds were gathering over Frontierland..

The following text by Kathryn Flett is taken from From The Observer, first published 25th July 1999

For many years Morecambe seemed to be in denial about its ignominious slide in status - there is, of course, no longer any need for a glamorous gilded 3000 seat theatre in a town with a declining tourist trade, a place where the summer season artistes include a magician called Harvey Rush and Paul Wheater singing Jim Reeves and other country favourites'...

...The Labour council managed to get quite a bit done, enthusing the town with a bit of a 'vision', but residents lost faith after the premature announcement of an exciting revenue generating new tourist-attraction:

A Noel Edmonds-endorsed Crinkley Bottom theme park.

Mr Blobby-land soon went spectacularly, and very publicly, belly-up, however, and the local council is now run by a bunch of Independents.

...The ongoing £40million redevelopment is making a difference to Morecambe but it still feels like a town with one foot planted firmly in the past and the other poised hesitantly, waiting to step forward.

On the seafront, Gypsy Lee, who has plied her trade in Morecambe for 46 years ('my mother was here for 60') reads my palm for a tenner.

I'm going to live to a great age, apparently and although I've had a 'difficult few years, surrounded by chaos, things are looking up'.

In fact, things look up rather faster than I expect as soon as I stumble across P. Brucciani, purveyors of award-winning Ice-cream, tea, coffee and snacks.

..With its red formica tables linoleum and acid-etched glass Venetian scene, Brucciani's is a perfectly preserved slice of the 1930s...

If this were Brighton it would he abuzz with earnest conversation over Penguin classics and the fog of a million Marlboro.

But this is Morecambe and there is only me, six septuagenarians in Pacamacs and even though it is run by Italians, there is no espresso machine.

Despite this, it is heaven.
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Postby Gary » 14 Feb 2012, 20:45

Frontierland Morecambe: How The West Was Lost Part 2

The following text is taken from From the Lancashire Evening Telegraph, first published Friday 24th Sep 1999.

THE face of Morecambe's Frontierland is set to change with the development of a shopping complex at the theme park, the Citizen can exclusively reveal.

The plans are still in the pipeline but Frontierland has put a number of its biggest rides up for sale and is looking at the potential of a retail centre similar to the popular Freeport development in Fleetwood.

Bosses at the theme park are remaining tight-lipped about the plans but Company Secretary and Director of the Pleasure Beach, David Cam, said: "Yes, we're looking to change the face of Frontierland.

Discussions are now under way with the council looking at various alternative proposals.

"We will make an announcement as soon as we have something concrete."

A city council source said: "It's commercially sensitive at the moment but if it goes ahead there will be major changes.

Any investment in the resort is always welcome."

Morecambe MP Geraldine Smith said: "It's good news for the area.

Shopping is a popular leisure activity and I think a mixed development at Frontierland would be great."


The real memory that sticks out for me was riding the Texas Tornado when I was just 5 years old!

..From that moment on at that young age, that's what got me loving the woodies!

I can remember the Log Flume quite well along with the Fun House.

I used to love going down the vertical wall as a child and trying to make my way up the moving steps.

I remember riding The Haunted Silver Mine and walking through a very dark Noah's Ark.

The Ghost Train was always fun.

I can remember having my wristband as a child and my grandparents watching me as I came off the Ghost Train and went straight back on for about a dozen times!

The Stampede coaster at the back of the park was great fun too. The first drop always made my stomach jump really high!

The teacups were always great fun and you could spin them yourself, which is something I would like at the Pleasure Beach in Blackpool!

There was also the ride (the name totally escapes me at the minute) where it was a haunted walk through.

I can remember walking through the ride with a group of people and none of us being sure where to go, so we tugged and pulled on a door which we thought was the way out (it turned out to be the cleaners cupboard with the mop!)

..Riding the Rattler roller coaster and feeling a huge gust of wind in my face everytime I entered the apple section.

Travelling on the El Paso Railroad miniture railway around a section of the park.

..The American Coaster and the Sky Ride going over the park and out over the road.

I always feared that because I was a child I was going to slip out under the bar of the Sky Ride car and fall onto the promenade as the ride left the park!

Frontierland was a fantastic place where I was very happy as a child.

Andrew Love: Webmaster of the original Frontierland Remembered website interviewed on themagiceye 2005

The following text is taken from from the Lancashire Evening Telegraph, first published Friday 5th Nov 1999.

THE number of rides at Morecambe's Frontierland are to be reduced casting doubt over the theme park's future..

A number of jobs are likely to go at the park although the company is thought to have other plans in the pipeline.

Morecambe councillor Tricia Heath said it was sad to see the theme park scaling down its operation.

She said: "It's obviously not what people want.

Maybe it's time to look at something new.”


Texas Tornado is the one UK woodie I could possibly have ridden, but didn't.

My main chance was when I was up in Lancashire in 1999 - alas, time was tight.

Eventually made it to Morecambe in 2001, but by then it was too late.

Graeme Cassidy

In 1999 The Runaway Mine Train (Originally called The Wild Mouse and built in 1960) was closed. The ride was moved to Southport Pleasureland where it thrilled many riders under the name of King Solomon’s Mines.

1999 saw the closing down at Frontierland of the Ghost Train, Giant Slide and several other small attractions.

The brilliant Texas Tornado wooden ‘out and back’ rollercoaster was to take its last passenger in 1999.

The ride was originally designed by Harry G Traver and opened as Le Cyclone in Paris (1937) where it only operated for a year.

The ride was moved and rebuilt in Morecambe as The Cyclone between 1938 and 1939. The layout was drastically altered at this time. It was renamed The Texas Tornado when Morecambe Pleasure Park changed its name to Frontierland in 1987.


One thing I do regret is not having the chance to ride the Mine Train - either at Frontierland or Pleasureland. I do have faint memories of riding the Sky Ride and Polo Tower as a child though, which stick out more to me than the Texas Tornado.

Adam Whittaker

The Texas Tornado was put up for sale for the bargain price of £100,000 but sadly there were no buyers.

The Following Advert appeared in a November 1999 Issue of World's Fair:



WOODEN ROLLER COASTER - 2 Philadelphia Toboggan trains, one forward
facing, one rearward facing. Track length Approx. 2,500ft., 3 main
dips, return bend and 3 main dips.

CHANCE 16 GAUGE RAILWAY - comprisiing of locomotive with V4 petrol
engine and hydraulic drive plus 2 carriages. Some track. Passenger
capacity 12 adults or 24 children.

CHANCE TRABANT - A rotating and elevating ride. Circular carriage 20 X
2 seat units - 40 passengers maximum. Footprint 47ft. diameter.

WALTZER - Tradional Maxwell (UK) manufacture. Exstensive refit 1998
seaso. 10 cars, 5 passengers per car. 50ft. diameter.

SKY RIDE - Fixed seat cable way using two bull wheels with two
intermediate towers. Continuous movement, approx. 12 minute ride cycle.


Enquiries: John Harding, General Manager,
Frontierland Western Theme Park,
Promanade, Morecambe, Lancs.,
England LA4 4DG.[/color]

Frontierland last operated as a permanent Theme Park in 1999 and closed as such on 7th November 1999.

The following year (2000) it contained many travelling fair rides operated by showmen and went by the name 'Frontierland Family Theme Park'.


I think the park had been doomed before my project started as it was only part open in the summer of 2000.

DJ Clark: interviewed on themagiceye regarding his photographic project "A Little English City"

In 2001 following the closure of Frontierland Family Theme Park, themagiceye - during a whirlwind visit to Morecambe - spotted a flyer attached to some hoarding.

The writing was on the wall for Frontierland literally.

The park was closed for good.

If proof was needed that there was no going back then sadly this was it...

The flyer read:

RULES (2000)





Such a great park, pity I was too young to appreciate it properly...

Lüke Hellwÿck

..And there was more bad news for the tourist industry in Morecambe..

The following text is taken from The Visitor, first published on Wednesday 19 September 2001 at ... -1-1200854

The curtain has finally been drawn on the saga of the derelict Bubbles site.

Councillors made the final decision to demolish the decaying attraction at a full council meeting last Wednesday.

Leader of the cabinet, Tricia Heath, said: “The lack of maintenance at the site has caused this decay.

“It’s of no relief to the cabinet that this leisure facility will now go, it’s very sad. In the long term consultations will take place with the public and relevant groups about the future of this site.”

Coun Mark Turner, of the MBI group, said the council had tried until the eleventh hour to save the Bubbles complex and keep an important tourist attraction in Morecambe.

The following text is attributed to Jim Trotman Principal Tourism Officer from 2002

“Many of our residents remember Morecambe as it was some 30 years ago but part of our task is to explain that Morecambe needs to look forward and to attract new markets and that it is not possible to return the resort to providing the same type of attractions that were provided in the past and which declined because of increasingly worldwide competition.

..For 2002, we hope to see a quality destination shopping attraction on the former Frontierland site with some rides remaining for the younger children to enjoy while their parents or grandparents enjoy the shopping.
Other major development sites remain for sale and the City Council is keen to attract quality, all-weather attractions rather than "cheap and cheerful" attractions that would only operate in the summer months.”

The following text is taken from The Westmorland Gazette, first published 14th February 2002

A MULTI-MILLION pound retail leisure complex at Morecambe's Frontierland will be given the thumbs up.

The ambitious project, which could create up to 150 jobs, has been the subject of a planning inquiry and has been put to the Secretary of State for a final decision.

And, having met with Stephen Byers to discuss the regeneration of the resort, local MP Geraldine Smith says she is very confident there will be a successful outcome.

"Having held discussions with Stephen Byers I am confident that we will have a successful outcome and that construction work can begin this year.

The site (Frontierland) is currently a blight on Morecambe's promenade and if the go ahead is given a great many local jobs will be created.

The development consists of factory outlets and a landscaped plaza and the developers, Morrisons, claim it will generate £8 million worth of spin-off trade.

Property Management Director, Mr Roger Owen, said the multi-million pound development was an opportunity for the whole of Morecambe to attract more visitors.

He said: 'These proposals will bring people back into Morecambe and bring in money.

The rest is up to Morecambe itself.'

..Morrisons' plan to keep and refurbish the Polo Tower, which will become an integral feature of their proposals, and the scheme also includes a food court, a new bus service, rail links and cycle routes.

Tourism Chairman, Cllr June Ashworth, said: "It is a marvellous opportunity for the town and with the planned linkages, visitors will move out from the new centre into the town and along the promenade.

In that way the new development will have a halo effect that will benefit all retail and tourism operators in the resort."

There were considerable concerns that if the planning inspector turned down the development, Morecambe would have been left with a large derelict site on the promenade, and the local Chamber of Trade are worried that it could put smaller town centre shops out of business.


..Seeing a turntable from the miniature railway next to the station of The Cyclone which was renamed to the Texas Tornado.

I can't remember going on it, although would love to see a layout.

Following this I remember my next visit when Charles and Diana got married and going on the my second ever rollercoaster the Schwarzkopf Jet Star (located at the back of the park) and shocked that there was no restraints on it.

Chris McFarlane
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Postby Gary » 14 Feb 2012, 21:05

Frontierland Morecambe: How The West Was Lost Part 3

The following text is taken from The Morecambe Town Centre Strategy Adopted – May 2002

Phase 1; - Development of the former Frontierland site as a Factory Outlet Shopping Centre;

4.9 In 2000 the Blackpool Pleasure Beach Company closed most of the Frontierland Amusement Parkleaving only the Ranch House Public House and a small area to the rear in use.

4.10 In March 2002 following a Public Inquiry the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions granted planning permission for a Factory Outlet Centre on the site. This will ensure that the site continues to perform a role as one of Morecambe’s premier visitor attractions.

4.11 The scheme proposes the development of the site as a Factory Outlet Shopping Centre with a gross floor area of around 8,800 sq. m. It will contain up to 56 individual shop units and a food court. It will sell predominantlyfashion and table top goods in out of season and end of line ranges from top international brands. It will be fully enclosed and be in a modern design with entrance towers reflecting a Marine/Seaside theme.

4.12 The scheme includes the creation of a new landscaped area of open space on the Marine Road frontage and the retention and restoration of the Polo Tower.

4.13 The benefits of the scheme include

The direct creation of 150 permanent jobs and a similar number of indirect jobs through suppliers and contractors, as well as construction jobs;

The provision of a major new tourist attraction bringing around 930,000 visitors per annum, the majority of whom will be new to Morecambe;

The development of a high quality building which will enhance the seafront;

The landscaping, to a high standard, of an area of 0.25 ha on the Promenade;

The reclamation of 3.41 ha of degraded land in a prominent location on Morecambe seafront;

The creation of 6339 sq. m (net) of new retail floorspace and the attraction of quality retailers to the town;

Improvements to linkages between the Central Promenade Area and the Arndale Centre with new pedestrian crossing facilities, environmental improvements to Victoria Street and the provision of a shuttle bus;

The retention and refurbishment of the Polo tower as a distinctive attraction;

The provision of 286 new visitor car parking spaces;

The provision of new cycling and walking routes and the enhancement of existing walking routes between the Town Centre and the West End.

A major boost in the development of a positive new image for Morecambe;

4.14 The proposed development will commence shortly and the FOC is expected to open for business in the Spring of 2003.

The following text is taken from The Morecambe Visitor, first published 10th March 2004 at ... _1_1216431

...Now the council, as reported in The Visitor recently, is pushing for the frontage to be tidied up "to hide the site behind", at least until a decision is made on its future.

Steve Riley (He once worked as part of the park management at Frontierland) for one, would certainly welcome some positive developments, after witnessing years of decay and decline.

"I don't really care what they do with it now, as long as they do something," he (Steve Riley) said, staring out onto the 10 acres of dirt, puddles and stone.

Once themed on the Wild West, how sad it is now Frontierland is little more than a bleak and desolate desert..."

The Midland Hotel with The Polo Tower in the distance. Photo taken in 2004 by Anne at

The following text is taken from The first published 17th March 2004 at ... _1_1216456

MORRISONS says plans to build a major new leisure club on the old Frontierland site are "a step in the right direction for Morecambe".

Bosses at the supermarket chain hope to submit a planning application to Lancaster City Council next month to create a new health and fitness centre and two stores on the derelict Marine Road site.

Roger Owen at Morrisons said "negotiations are well along the line" with leading names in the leisure and retail industries.

"It's a start, a step in the right direction for Morecambe and we will continue negotiations to fill the balance of the site," said Mr Owen.

John Donnellon, director of regeneration at the council, said: "It is very early days but we would welcome anything that will bring jobs in to Morecambe.

We will look into whatever Morrisons has to offer – although we will not accept housing – but not rush into anything just for the sake of having something there.If they are looking at a proportion of the site and not all of it, we would still expect them to tidy up the frontage."

The Visitor reported in February how Morrisons was looking at alternative uses for the former Frontierland after struggling to find tenants for a proposed factory outlet centre.

The chain was granted planning permission in 2002, following a public inquiry, to build 56 retail units to sell a range of factory seconds and surplus stock at discounted prices.

"Ideally we would have liked the original plans to go ahead, but the market appears to have shifted away from that type of development," said Mr Donnellon.


I used to go Frontierland every summer with family when we went camping near Morcambe between about 91-94.

Sadly dont have any pics of the place for some reason :(

The last time I went to Frontierland in 97 it was raining heavily and my mum wouldnt let me go in..

That was the last time I went when the park was still running.

LOL.. gutted.

Geoff Blears

The following text is taken from The first published 19 May 2004 at ... -1-1216757

EIGHT brightly coloured carousel horses formerly used on a children's ride at Frontierland were stolen from a storage area near the site.

The junior horses worth around 500 each were stolen between Friday, May 7 and Wednesday, May 12.

Three were later recovered but the remaining five are still missing.

Steve Riley, manager of the Ranchhouse said: "The horses are made of fibreglass and each one is around 2ft high and 3ft long, brightly painted in red, green and blue with a white background.

"Fairground memorabilia is popular, and Blackpool and Southport fairs both have charity auctions where items are sold off to eager buyers.

"These horses are collectors items and there is a big market for them.

"At the time of the theft a man was seen carrying one of the horses down West End Road and it's highly likely that someone local committed the theft or knows the whereabouts of the horses.

"The horses could be used to set up another small ride or sold on as ornaments for people's houses.

"I would appeal for anyone with information to contact police as these things are unique. Even if someone painted them we would still recognise the pattern."

The following text is taken from The first published 10th August 2004 at ... _1_1217115

Frontierland housing plans

PLANS for eight terraced houses on land previously used by pleasure park Frontierland have been revealed.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach has submitted the proposals for the three storey houses on the old Grove Street depot.

The depot was used while Frontierland was in operation but is now surplus to requirements.

The proposals have provoked shock among local residents who question the need for a new development when there are already empty houses nearby.

One couple wrote to The Visitor to say the plans were "madness" and the area is already overpopulated.

A spokesperson for Blackpool Pleasure Beach said the depot on the site is currently unused and the proposed development would "improve the aesthetics of the site".

The plans can be viewed at Palatine Hall.

The following text is taken from Morecambe Today, 20th July 2005

RETAIL development specialists behind plans for a DIY store at White Lund say plans for a similar store at Frontierland would be a 'massive' wasted opportunity for the resort.

Pettifer Estates have been working with AXA Insurance to bring forward development plans - likely to involve a Homebase store - for the site of the company's existing operations at White Lund.

They say the success of their planning proposal could be crucial in securing AXA's future in Morecambe, as it will fund the company's relocation to more modern office accommodation.

Pettifer Estates Director, Charles Pettifer, said:

"We are proposing an appropriately sized store that meets the council's own assessment of local need on an accessible site well-suited for this kind of heavy retailing.

"We completely agree with Geraldine Smith MP and other local representatives that warehouse-based retailing at Frontierland would be a massive waste of an exceptional opportunity.

This is a key seafront site, and should surely be earmarked for a more integrated and imaginative leisure-led development.

"The Manchester Evening News recently suggested that Morecambe could once again become one of the region's most fashionable resorts."

"The location is fabulous, the natural assets are world-class, but there is still a need to develop a more modern tourism and leisure offer. Frontierland is the obvious location."

"We would be astonished if that asset was squandered to deliver some short term or opportunistic advantage. Once it's gone, it's gone."

The following text attributed to Ray Wilcockson is taken from This is Lancaster, first published August 12th 2005

A VISION Board funded by The North West Development Agency is currently brain-storming a dream of how Lancaster and Morecambe may develop in a sustainable way over the next 20 years.

Its brief, timetable and list of members are available on Lancaster city council's website, where the chairman notes that we really ought to be making better use of the unique assets of Morecambe Bay.

However, Morrison's plans for the Frontierland site are likely to go to a planning meeting in October - at least two months before the Board proposes to publish a draft for consultation.

Vision Board manager Catherine Potter aptly describes the current state of Morecambe tourism as something of a hidden treasure and punching below its weight, while financial prudence seems to underpin what vision the council has.

A council that thinks like this, yet is proud of its promenade, stone jetty, poetry path, and (multiplying) seafront sculptures, is a council in two minds.

By opposing the residential elements in the Frontierland plans and calling for more events like the successful Kite Festival, Geraldine Smith, MP - a Vision Board member - appreciates, I suspect, that the more there is for tourists to do in Morecambe the more often they will visit and the longer they will stay.

The 2007 guests at The Midland Hotel will, for example, thank us for open, clean, accessible promenade toilets and at least some sign that it won't be too long before The Winter Gardens, re-awakens for their delight.

My hope is that our MP will back those who argue for a council policy that provides a greater guarantee of success for such new hotels by insisting that prospective promenade developers focus on leisure, culture, heritage, and entertainment.

It would greatly help her were Morecambe more equably represented on the Vision Board and I advise the immediate co-option of representatives from Urban Splash, Morrisons, the Friends of The Winter Gardens and the promenade fairground at least.

It may also be beneficial to explore the potential for a joint tourist strategy with Barrow-in-Furness, where cruise-ships may soon be calling.

Meanwhile, the council should resist any overtures from residential and industrial developers in relation to the central promenade. This is sacrosanct tourist territory that defines the resort's very identity.


It would have been my 11th or 12th birthday when my parents took me & 3 mates for the day.

It was the 1st time any of us rode a 'big' wooden coaster ('cause Blackpool's Little Dipper doesn't count!).

But I remember visiting before then, a day out with mum & grandparents who took me to see 'the biggest big wheel in the world', but while they let me look at it, they wouldn't take me ON it!

I remember the flume was particularly slow, but a lovely ride through the tree tops.

Me & mates held the side of the trench, completely stopping the boat mid-course!

..And the Cyclone (Texas Tornado)... the 3rd drop was the best!

Colin McWilliam:

The following text is attributed to Michelle Brookes and taken from 16 November 2005 at ... _1_1199650

Fresh progress on old Frontierland site:

MAJOR plans for redeveloping the former Frontierland site have moved a step closer.

Outline planning permission has been granted for a development of the derelict site to include housing, a hotel, leisure centre, garden centre and retail outlets.

The main site ceased as a funfair around five years ago, with any existing rides to be dismantled if the development goes ahead.

Planning officer Andy Roe said: "At the moment, the Frontierland site is a major eyesore for everyone. There is a genuine need for this type of mixed use development which would fit in with the West End Masterplan. It would provide a much better frontage to Marine Road than the vacant and unattractive site we have now."

Objections to the proposed plans came from members of the Morecambe and District Cham-ber of Trade and Commerce who voiced their opposition to the plans because they were not considered a tourism development.

A petition signed by 71 local residents had been submitted, with most expressing the feeling that they didn't want housing on the site. There was also a lengthy objection from the planning advisors for B & Q, who had previously applied to have a store near White Lund, but were refused.

Several councillors voiced their objections to the proposals including Coun David Kerr who said: "Tourism is finished in this district if this development goes ahead."

Evelyn Archer said: "We're bending over backwards for developers who'll get pots of money if this goes ahead. We're damaging the Arndale Centre's trade. It's just a way of fetching in a use for disused land."

Head of planning., Andrew Dobson said: "We need investment in big gaping holes in the town. If we sit here and hope the site will be filled and turn developers away, what message does that send out?"

Coun Abbot Bryning added: "Morrisons have been the catalyst for development in Morecambe. Seaside resorts have changed and will continue to change – what more do people who represent Morecambe on the tourism front expect?"


For the years before it closed we used to go a few times a year, there was always promotions on and we never found the park busy.

Chris McFarlane

The following text is taken from The, first published 27th September 2006 at ... _1_1204163

LANCASTER City Council is ready to get tough with supermarket giant Morrisons and force it to tidy up the former Frontierland site in Morecambe.

It is six years since the closure of the theme park and, apart from the demolition and removal of many of the rides, the site has been left derelict.

A hoarding meant to screen the site from tourists has itself become an eyesore and cannot hide a huge mound of earth. The final straw was the erection last week of razor wire around the Polo Tower.

Coun Janice Hanson, the council's cabinet member with responsibility for the regeneration of Morecambe, said it was time to get tough with the company.

"Ideally we would like them to get on and implement their planning permission (for a new development on the site)," she said.

"But if that's not going to happen in the short term I think we've reached the stage where something has to be done because it really is unacceptable.

"The people of Morecambe have supported Morrisons for many years and I think it's time they do something and sort it out."


All those great pictures of FRONTIERLAND, MORECAMBE, took me back a few years.

I used to have a yearly pass for this and had hours of fun with my cousin going on all the rides:

Mouse Trap (Wild Mouse), Dodgems, Haunted House, Ghost Train, Fun City (wow that was great!!) and the big Wheel was another fantastic ride.

We used to play for hours on end there.

My Uncle used to work at the fairground too.

God I loved those days, it was the best fairground in the world.

It's so sad now it has closed, seeing all the rubble where used to stand such a great place!!!

Now its just a total eyesore!!

Emma Thompson (nee Pryce)
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Postby Gary » 14 Feb 2012, 21:40

Frontierland Morecambe: How The West Was Lost Part 4

The following text is taken from The, first published 23rd August 2007 at ... _1_1207493

..There was not to be much movement until – possibly encouraged by regeneration and development company Urban Splash's interest in the adjacent art deco Midland Hotel – JJB Sports and the Homebase chain announced formally, a couple of years ago, plans to locate there.

Clothing retailer Next followed suit in 2006 and work on all three major units can be seen continuing apace today (2007)

Outline planning permission has also been approved for building residential units on the front of the site, but no more detailed plans have yet been submitted.

..The land has, in its different guises, always played a major part in shaping Morecambe's fortunes and it looks certain to continue that way well into the future…

In an interview with Park World Online in 2007 Jim Rowland (Once general manager and then Director at The Morecambe Park) spoke about Frontierland:

"..They’ve closed the park down since I left, but times changed and once the illuminations went, I was pretty sure the park would go too.

What also happened was they wanted to build two big nuclear power stations and all the boarding houses took the workers in; there was no room for the holidaymakers.

That was short-sighted really because once they had built the power station, the holidaymakers stopped coming..."!.html

...2008 and eight years after Frontierland closed, The Log Flume lies derelict.

The following text is taken from the publication:Morecambe Destination Benchmarking 2008: England’s Northwest Research Service

..Destination Benchmarking is a study which enables a destination to not only explore its visitors’ perceptions but also to compare itself against other locations..

..This report presents the findings of a survey of visitors to Morecambe, undertaken between July and September 2008..

Key Messages from the Benchmarking:

In general, Morecambe has seen a mixed fortune according to the data suggested by this year’s survey. (2008)

Although in some areas it compares poorly to the benchmark for resorts, in others it has shown significant improvement.

Accommodation: Morecambe continues to shows levels of satisfaction with accommodation that are equal to benchmark, and this is more significant for this year’s results with a higher proportion of visitors using serviced accommodation.

Attractions: Morecambe saw an increase in satisfaction levels in this regards, this being most notable for Range of attractions, at a time when all other resorts showed no change.

..Ease of finding way around: Morecambe has seen significant improvement in the satisfaction with Road signs and Display maps & info boards. However, this is ‘matched’ by a significant decrease in satisfaction with pedestrian signage around the resort.

Toilets: There has been a very positive improvement in this, with scores for both Availability and Cleanliness moving from negative to positive – and also now exceeding the benchmark for a resort.

Upkeep and Cleanliness: In all measures, but especially the Cleanliness of the beach Morecambe has seen significant improvements; the benchmark indicates that resorts in general saw a downward trend.

Destination impressions: In common with all resorts, Morecambe saw an improvement in the perceived atmosphere and welcome.

Feelings of safety: Although a majority of visitors to Morecambe felt safe both from crime and traffic (94% and 92% respectively), those who felt this ‘strongly’ were much lower than in 2006.

Overall enjoyment: There has been a fall in the satisfaction of the overall enjoyment of the visit – but, importantly, an increase in the Likelihood of recommending Morecambe to friends and family.


I had many happy times at Morecambe.

I loved the fairground. Thanks to the website you have it's the only happy memories I have left.

The powers that be who gave the go ahead for flattening Frontierland - I will never forgive them.

Sadly Morecambe means nothing to me now.

Ian Laing

The following text is taken from The Visitor first published on August 6th 2009 at ... _1_1213371

TWO hundred flats, a hotel, 28 houses and a new pub could still be built on the old Frontierland site.

Owners Morrisons have applied for a renewal of planning permission for a proposed 'mixed-use' development on the derelict former theme park.

The supermarket chain was given outline permission for the scheme in 2006 but this expired in April 2009.

Property developers David McLean Homes had agreed to build the new development until they went bust in 2008.

Morrisons is now searching for new developers for the site.

The application for the redevelopment of the site consisted of the removal of the remnants of the old Frontierland theme park and to provide an 80-bed hotel, 65 retirement flats, 125 further apartments, 28 town houses, a new public square and a pub/restaurant adjacent to the retained Polo Tower.

The following information acts as a good summary of events up to 2009..

The following (Application Number 09/00644/OUT Dated 28th September 2009) is taken from : ... x?ID=16500

Following the closure of the amusement park in September 2000, the applicants acquired the surplus land and lodged a planning application (Ref: 00/00967/FUL) for the erection of a factory outlet centre including 8,800 sq m of retail development, with a food court, parking, landscaping and servicing.

This was recommended for approval by the City Council in March 2001 but planning permission was only granted in February 2002 following a 'Call-In' Public Inquiry.

In the event, the delay in reaching this decision by the Secretary of State, combined with a downturn in the market, resulted in a loss of momentum and this combined with only a limited demand for a factory outlet centre in Morecambe, and led to the scheme not being pursued.

Accordingly, in the light of the market interest that had been shown in the site, the applicants submitted an application in July 2004 (Ref: 04/00497/FUL) for leisure and non-food retail development on the part of the application site to the immediate south of the existing Morrison superstore. However, it was felt that this represented a piecemeal use of the site and did not provide sufficient links with the surroundings.

Additionally, certain retail policy matters required further clarification. As a result, and particularly following the publication of the West End Masterplan in January 2005, the application was withdrawn in pursuit of a more comprehensive scheme for the site.

The outline application submitted in 2005 (Ref: 05/00928/OUT) tried to address the piecemeal concerns by showing how the site as a whole could be developed with a mix of uses. However, a full application (Ref: 05/00929/FUL) was submitted at the same time for 3 retail warehouses on part of the site, which was subsequently approved, developed, occupied and became operational

Though the applicant marketed the remainder of the site, and received strong interest from a residential developer, again the market overtook events and the developer in question went into receivership. The permission then lapsed earlier this year (2009).

Therefore the applicant is now applying for outline permission again, in line with the 2005 submission, though this time only for the western (undeveloped) part of the site.


I loved the park and always had a great time there.

The Cyclone (aka Texas Tornado) was a fantastic woodie with the old style PTC cars and restraints which gave lots of airtime.

The Noahs Ark, Funhouse, Ghost train were all classic living pieces of history and I was gutted when I found out it had gone.

Pete Andrews

The following text is taken from first published on 27th February 2009

Let's invest for rediscovered English seaside

JUST about every 2009 tourism projection you read about this year makes the same point.

Holidaymakers in their thousands will be turning their backs on crowded airports and staying away from many European destinations, deciding instead to holiday at home this year.

The poor performance of the pound against the Euro – coupled with the economic hardships affecting just about every family – will persuade those who do take a break this year to do so in this country.

Which should be very good news indeed for a town like Morecambe.

With the publicity surrounding our designation as the 'Best Reinvented Resort' from Coast magazine, the Midland Hotel reopening and the 10th anniversary of the unveiling of our Eric statue, Morecambe should at least be in people's minds as a possible short-stay destination.

.. those in charge of tourism locally are certainly expecting a busy summer.

But – with The Dome scheduled to close just before the season starts properly, festivals and other events under threat, the former Frontierland site still an unsightly mess and some public loos set to be boarded up – just what will they think of our resort?

A reinvigorated local tourism industry, capitalising on the 'rediscovery' of the English seaside, could help Morecambe buck the economic trend.

It could revitalise our shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants and help them battle through the currently depressed commercial situation.

Which is why attractions, events, venues and facilities should come at top of the list of things for our councillors and private backers to support.

It makes sense to invest a bit now in order to reap the rewards – which would help us all – in the future.

The following text is taken from the Seaside Voices section of the excellent "Morecambe: A blog for the people of Morecambe" February 22nd 2010

What should be done with the old Frontierland site?

1. Site_Admin | February 22, 2010 at 1:21 pm

FrontierLand should be reopened

2. Mrs Marjorie Cardy | February 25, 2010 at 12:38 pm

A great idea would to use the site as a swimming stadium which is sadly lacking in Morecambe, a so called seaside resort!

3. Michael Broome | June 19, 2010 at 9:34 pm

It should be reopend Frontierland was a big draw to people I live near Kendal and I used to come to Frontierland and Bubbles all the time. Why would people come to visit Morecambe when there are no tourist attractions left? Instead of building more flats and hotels build some tourist attractions!

4. Sandra Keating | August 12, 2010 at 12:03 pm

Re open Frontierland – it was a great fun place.

So what of the future for the Frontierland Site? The following is taken from:

Lancaster City Council
Morecambe Area Action Plan
Initial SA Report
Options Development
Report No 009-WX44644-WXR-01
Date 11 November 2011

Appraisal of Frontierland

Option A – mixed-use development with significant commercial/leisure development

Mixed use development on the currently derelict Frontierland site would improve natural surveillance and reduce fear of crime, it would also provide opportunities to provide improved public services, connect the battery to central Morecambe and remove a current derelict site which could be viewed as a hazard.

New development would increase confidence for further economic development i.e. empty derelict sites within an area lower economic confidence. In addition successful mixed use development would increase job opportunities for the local population which would help to achieve a thriving economy.

This option could be developed to create a ‘spearhead’ site to start regeneration within Morecambe.

It is likely that new development would enhance townscape character and quality in the immediate vicinity as Frontierland currently appears run down and derelict from the promenade.

However, design and scale of new development should be mindful and sensitive to the adjacent Conservation Area.

Development of the site would lead to an increased traffic flow in the area which could exacerbate current safety issues associated with traffic incidents and would reduce local air quality which could affect health.

However, some adverse effects have been identified as a result of implementing this option.

The option would not contribute to improving local housing stock and could detract from other central areas of Morecambe. In addition, a new mixed use development on this site may have a negative effect on the Arndale/Euston Road sub-area Option as it could further fragment the retail offer in Morecambe.

Additional retail units on the promenade at Frontierland could also add to the current problems with short term visitor patterns as visitors would not be encouraged to visit the Arndale/Euston area where there are currently empty units.

Option B – Predominantly residential with limited other uses fronting Marine Road only

There is currently a lack of high quality housing within central Morecambe and research has shown there are heath and social benefits that arise from high quality housing. Residential development on this site would also improve natural surveillance and improve fear of crime.

This option would also act as a link between surrounding residential areas in Morecambe to the town centre, particularly the West End.

New residential development on the Frontierland site would increase confidence for further economic development i.e. empty derelict sites within an area lower economic confidence and could be considered more financially viable in the current economic climate providing they can be sold.

It is likely that new development would enhance townscape character and quality in the immediate vicinity as currently Frontierland appears run down and derelict from the promenade.

However, design and scale of new development should be mindful and sensitive to the adjacent Conservation Area. There are better opportunities to include greenspace in residential development rather than commercial development.

Although fairly specific at this stage there is a lack of housing in central Morecambe with gardens. Providing housing with gardens would increase green space (albeit private) within the AAP boundary, which would also offer health benefits to home owners.

Alternatively, areas of communal greenspace could be provided.

It should be ensured that local services have the capacity to deal with an increased population i.e. schools.

2011 and many remnants of Frontierland still remain:


..Looking across the bay I could almost believe that the resort was having something of a rebirth.

But then looking at the sorry sight that once was Frontierland presented a completely different picture.

The Polo Tower looked rather forlorn and the remaining western front facia only partially hid the rubble strewn derelict amusement park.

For some reason a bar at the front of the block was still open but all of the rest of the amusements were merely memories in my head...

Phil Gould
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Postby Gary » 15 Feb 2012, 10:53

Frontierland Morecambe: How The West Was Lost Part 5

The following text is taken from BBC News Lancashire 28th July 2012 at ... e-19019541

A designer from Morecambe has put forward plans to the town's council and the landowners to transform the Polo Tower into a hi-tech landmark.

The tower on the promenade is a remnant of the Frontierland Theme Park and now houses a mobile phone mast.

Robert Aitken wants to turn it into an "interactive digi-tower" which broadcasts images and messages with a digital telescope.

Landowner Morrisons is yet to comment on the proposals.

Mr Aitken said in his plans he would have slim television screens running the entire length of the tower clad in aluminium.

He said it could also have software to help wildlife watchers identify birds across Morecambe Bay.

Mr Aitken said the costs would not be high for the project.

"You have got the structure there so all you are doing is cladding it and paying for the IT... so it should be good value for money," he said.

Mr Aitken believed the new tower could become a landmark for Morecambe like Blackpool's famous tower.

Councillor Janice Hanson, cabinet member with responsibility for regeneration, said: "The city council welcomes anything which contributes to the debate on the future of the Frontierland site and the Polo Tower.

"This is a key site for the regeneration of Morecambe and the council will be publishing ideas over the next few months as part of the Morecambe area action plan."

The following text is taken from The Visitor first published on August 10th 2012 at ... -1-4813796

AMBITIOUS plans have been revealed for a new 2,000 seater entertainment arena and indoor ice rink at the former Frontierland.

The ex-fairground could also become home to a sculpture gallery, 50 apartments, shops and cafes and a spectacular walkway, linking the site to the railway station and the seafront.

InsideLA, a Lancaster-based group of designers, project managers and tradesmen, have unveiled their ‘Morecambe Central’ project hoping the public will get behind it.

Gary Lightfoot, project manager, called it “potentially the most important development for Morecambe in decades”.

The InsideLA team also includes James Halliday, CEO of Lancaster-based digital marketing company 21EV, and Lancaster architect Shaun Graham.

“This proposal would enhance Morecambe’s desirability as a tourist destination,” said Mr Lightfoot. “With the demise of The Dome a few years ago, Morecambe now has no purpose-built, large auditorium and we think this is a serious hindrance to Morecambe’s weekend festival ambitions.”

The blueprint for the Frontierland site comes hot on the heels of plans to revolutionise the Polo Tower.

Robert Aitken, an international museum designer from Bare, recently unveiled his vision for a one-of-a-kind ‘Digital Tower’ to replace the disused former fairground ride.

Mr Halliday said InsideLA would be interested in working with Mr Aitken to make both schemes happen.

InsideLA, who have spent three years developing their concept, are also in talks with site owners Morrisons.

The land is believed to be available for around £3m. They would also have to obtain planning permission from Lancaster City Council before work could begin.

A spokesman for Morrisons said: “We are continuing our discussions with the council planning department about the future use of the (Frontierland) site and will be considering all options.

“We will be meeting with the planners shortly to consider how the site can be integrated as part of the council’s intention for links to the town centre.”

Following the closure of The Dome and The Carleton, the Platform is the town’s sole remaining purpose-built live entertainment venue. The 1,000-capacity former railway station is operated by Lancaster City Council.

The following text is taken from The Visitor published 7th October 2012 at: ... -1-4988061

Crime in the resort is rising.

Addressing Morecambe Town Council last Thursday night, Sgt Lindsay Brown told councillors crime was up 1.9 per cent year-on-year.

He put the rise down to burglaries of sheds and garages and said residents should not be surprised if police were more visible in the town.

He said: “We have to alter what we are doing in order to halt the rise. People will see a lot more police on the streets of Morecambe over the next couple of months.

“We have had slight reductions in crime all the time I have been here, around four years, and this rise is nowhere near putting us back where we were.

“It had got to the stage where it couldn’t go any lower, we were really down to the bottom and because of a number of factors, spending cuts and the like, it has risen.”

He added that despite the rise, equivalent to 43 more crimes, anti-social behaviour was down 17.8 per cent on last year. Councillors also received a presentation regarding a proposed new series of music events, Morecambe Rocks.

Proposer James Halliday said events ranging from one-day concerts to three-day festivals could be held on either the former Bubbles site or former Frontierland site, capitalising on the current boom in “music tourism” and raising the profile of the local music scene.

He said the first event could be held as early as May Bank Holiday weekend 2013 and attract thousands of visitors to the resort.

The plans are in the early stages and councillors are to look at a business plan before moving ahead with any decision on backing the scheme.


It's sad to see Frontierland in the state it is now.

It was a great attraction.

I spent lots of time in Morcambe as a child.

There are great opportunities here to create a resort for all.

Blackpool is becoming too rowdy and it's time we had somewhere safe for all to enjoy the seaside fun.


The following text is taken from the The Visitor first published 12th January 2013 at: ... -1-5296752

MARGATE is a dilapidated seaside resort with a large number of empty shops, a former fairground standing empty on its promenade and residents worn down by years of decline and disappointment.

Sound familiar?

But while the famous Kent seaside resort and Morecambe are startlingly similar in many ways, Margate is turning the corner.

Like Morecambe, in 2012 the south-east coastal town gained a £100,000 Government cash boost as a Mary Portas Pilot Town.

Now its empty shops are slowly being filled, a majestic £17.5m Turner art gallery has opened on the seafront attracting 500,000 visitors in its first year and an Oscar-winning director is shooting a film about the town.

What’s more, leading travel publisher Rough Guide voted Margate one of 2013’s must-visit destinations alongside Stockholm, Dubrovnik and Puerto Rico, no less.

Meanwhile, the town’s old Dreamland amusement park, as seen on the famous ‘Jolly Boys Outing’ episode of Only Fools and Horses, could reopen next year as a ‘heritage’ theme park, home to classic rides from all over the world - including one from our own Frontierland.

(This refers to The Wild Mouse: Built in 1960 and operating until 1999 at Morecambe’s Pleasure Park. The ride was relocated to Southport in 1999 where it opened in 2000 and renamed ‘King Solomon’s Mines’)

Margate received £10m for the project including £3.7m Government cash to rejuvenate UK seaside towns. This was from the same ‘Sea Change’ pot Morecambe’s Winter Gardens applied for in 2009...and didn’t get.

To rub ironic salt in Morecambe wounds, Margate has recruited one of our own to head the Dreamland project.

Morecambe-born Wayne Hemingway’s firm Hemingway Design will create the overall scheme and branding for the disused site.

“Margate is showing a real collective effort by everybody to make a difference,” said Wayne, 51.

“They have a council who are willing to take risks in making decisions. They ‘get it’ and will have a go.

“They are influencing some great things to happen down there.”

When Wayne talks with such passion about the Margate resurrection, one question springs easily to mind.

Why aren’t you doing this in your hometown?

According to Hemingway, the answer is quite simple. Our local authority won’t employ him.

“I’ve been in touch with Lancaster City Council over the years but there’s been no interest at all,” said Wayne.

London-based Hemingway loves his birthplace. He visits Morecambe regularly, is a patron of the Winter Gardens and even indulged one of his other great passions by DJing at the town’s soul music festival a few years ago.

He also wanted to remodel the central promenade area next to the Midland Hotel, entering Urban Splash’s international design competition in 2006.

But Flacq won the contest, developers Urban Splash plumping for their sketches centred around modern high-rise flats and shops.

Urban Splash’s scheme, scheduled to go before Lancaster City Council planning in 2013, has caused a public outcry. Hemingway himself remains critical of the plans.

“Shops and houses on that prime promenade location, what’s that about?” said Wayne.

“That’s the most special piece of land in Morecambe.

“It beggars belief they are thinking about it.

“Do something world class in that world class location or do nothing....”


I lived most of my youth (8 to 18) in Morecambe, so knew Frontierland mainly in the sixties.

I used to work with the beach horses just across from Frontierland and we used to get a lot of tourists coming across the prom for a ride on some ‘real’ horses after having fun on Frontierland.

Happy memories there!

But my personal memories of Frontierland are from a later date, in the early eighties in fact.

I married a Frenchman in 1972 and moved to France.

We had two daughters and every summer we came to stay with my parents for a few weeks.

Almost as soon as we arrived, both the girls wanted to go down to the Camel Derby on the seafront of Frontierland.

We always enjoyed our time there and the people who ran the place were great fun and always encouraged my daughters to compete with ‘their’ camels.

Good fun for all the family.

The last time my younger daughter, now 29, came with me to see her grandparents, she was so disappointed to see the state of the site and wondered where the Camel Derby could be now!

I do so hope that Morecambe manages to get its act together soon and that it won’t allow the building of flats on the former Bubbles site!

What an awful idea!

It would ruin the beauty of the seafront!

The revamped Midland Hotel is fine, as it’s an architectural heritage, but not modern flats for heaven’s sake!

Lindsay Gilliers-Gilson

The following text is taken from The Lancashire Evening Post (lep) first published on 8th February 2013 at ... -1-5391641

Vision for Morecambe cable car ride

Mark Draddy is rallying support for the first ever Trans Bay Cable Way, which would take passengers on a ride through the sky from the promenade to the Lake District.

Mr Draddy, a landscape garden designer from Milton Keynes whose family lives in Morecambe, believes this could be the biggest tourist attraction in the UK.

He has held talks with David Morris, MP for Morecambe, who likes the idea.

“I’m just ‘the little guy’ and it’s just an idea at this stage,” said Mr Draddy.

“But this could be a golden opportunity to put the North West of England back on the national tourist map and to put Britain back on the international tourist map.

“Most cable car installations are popular visitor attractions and to date there is nothing of this scale in the UK.

“The economic benefit for Morecambe, Grange-over-Sands and Barrow-in-Furness to name a few could be immense.”

Mr Morris said: “I am supportive of any project that will bring jobs and tourism to Morecambe and Lunesdale.

“Clearly there will need to be a discussion about how this project can be funded and a discussion about environmental issues.”

Mr Draddy has studied other cable car rides in Vietnam, Malaysia, Armenia, Hong Kong and France, some of which are suspended over water.

He suggests the ride could start from near the Frontierland site, cross the Bay and make its first stop-off in Grange-over-Sands before heading into the Lakes.

The following text is taken from A Local Plan for Lancaster District. Morecambe Area Action Plan ( to 2021)
Publication Version 2013 (Published October 2013)

9.3 Unfortunately, one large area towards the West End comprising the greater part of the former Frontierland amusement park site remains vacant and very much an eyesore. Some 2.4 ha in extent, the condition and prospective future of this site arouses much public concern. Out of any beneficial use since the park closed in 2000 the site contributes nothing to central Morecambe and what it offers is a barrier to the movement of pedestrians to and from the West End. The adjacent site of the former Bus Depot on Grove Street is integral to the future redevelopment of this area.

9.4 To bring this site into a beneficial use is challenging. Development for retail uses is not considered appropriate given the location remote from the town centre. There is no reasonable prospect of a new substantial leisure development or of any predominantly public use. In this context development predominantly for housing affords the best prospect of making a beneficial use of the site and there has been market interest in this in recent years. Housing would help activate central Morecambe by increasing its resident population. Further, it gives the opportunity to provide new quality linkages for pedestrians and cyclists through to the West End via West End Road and into the edge of centre Retail Park adjacent to the east.

9.5 Development at this site should include an element of commercial uses fronting to Marine Road to help activate the seafront and sustain some footfall here to support business trading further along Marine Road to the west. Too large such an element though risks pulling footfall and activity from the town centre and to its detriment.

9.6 Any development of the site should provide a direct route for pedestrians and cyclists through to West End Road.


I loved Frontierland as a child and had many happy memories there, loved the cable car going over the road that was the best bit and the mine shaft roller coaster.

Adam Kean

It all went quiet for a bit..and then there were some stirrings..

Frontierland Morecambe: How The West Was Lost Part 6

The following text is taken from The Visitor Published 11th January 2014 at ... -1-6362201

Designer Wayne Hemingway has warned residents to be cautious over plans to build a retail park on the Frontierland site.

The Morecambe-born TV personality said: “It’s vital they get it right and the town shouldn’t be afraid of saying ‘no’.”

Developers Opus North have announced a new vision for the derelict site which may include big-name fashion shops, a hotel and a family pub.

A reader survey by The Visitor in November revealed 90% support for the plans.

But Hemingway said: “Any development is not good development.

“The plans are exciting because the site has been empty for so long. But they should make sure that it’s not just well designed but amazingly designed and that people are critiquing the ideas constantly.
“Sometimes developers think they are doing a town a favour. Yes the developer is helping the town but the town is helping the developer to make money.

“That space is tremendously valuable. It’s part of the crown jewels of a town that’s having some form of resurgence and you’ve got to protect those crown jewels.

“What goes there has got to create a legacy. The Midland is now the shining star on the seafront because it was beautifully designed in the first place, and in the same way the Winter Gardens will be restored to its former glory and have a future, because that was beautifully designed.

“They won’t be saying this about some of the buildings built on Morecambe seafront during the past 30 years. They won’t be fighting over Morrisons in 100 years’ time. So whatever goes on the Frontierland site has to be special.”

Wayne and his wife Gerardine are famed for founding the Red or Dead clothing label and now run their own London-based design company Hemingway Design, specialising in housing regeneration.

Hemingway, 52, was speaking on a visit to his hometown to kickstart plans for his second Morecambe Vintage-by-the-Sea festival in September.

Reflecting on last year’s successful debut Vintage day at the Midland hotel, he said: “It was great, such an uplifting event.

“We knew within an hour or two of opening we were onto something because people were queuing. “We’re looking forward to this year. If you’ve got ideas, please get involved, if you’re a local business, artist, creative person, musician.

“We’re over two days this year, expanding into different venues.

There’s going to be more music and more dancing than there was last time. The vintage marketplace was enormously successful.

It got so busy it became uncomfortable so we’ll move that into a location with more room.

The street food market in the Midland car park sold out, so we’ve got to expand that and make it a ‘foodie delight’.

“We’ll start to announce the content soon and tickets will go on sale in the spring.”

The following text is taken from The Visitor Published 15th January 2014 at ... -1-6371863

A developer’s vision for the derelict ex-Frontierland site will be unveiled to town councillors this week.

Representatives of Opus North will be guests of Morecambe Town Council at a meeting this Thursday night.

The Yorkshire developers want to build a new retail park, a hotel, family pub and a care home on empty land formerly occupied by Morecambe’s Wild West-themed fairground, owned by supermarket giants Morrisons.

The meeting at Morecambe Town Hall starts at 7pm.


They ruined the place and the same is happening at Blackpool.

They forced an entry fee on Frontierland and look what happened.

Richard Wayne Adkin

The following text is taken from The Visitor Published 29th January 2014 at ... -1-6403719

A £17m development planned for the former Frontierland site in Morecambe will be named the Bay Shopping park.

Developer Opus North is proposing to build a 100,000 sqft complex featuring shops, a hotel, restaurants, a family pub and 376 parking spaces on the ten-acre former fairground site.

Two public exhibitions were held at the end of November and the planning application is set to be submitted to Lancaster City Council at the end of February.

Andrew Duncan, MD of Opus North, said: “The reaction of local residents, when we exhibited our plans, was extremely positive.”

The following text is taken from The Citizen Published 31st January 2014 at ... Morecambe/

David Morris MP is backing plans to redevelop the former Frontierland site in Morecambe.

The Developers, Opus Land (North) and supermarket chain Morrisons hope that the £17 Million project will bring 500 jobs, 376 parking spaces as well as a new hotel and retail outlets.

The Morecambe & Lunesdale MP has been talking to Morrisons about redeveloping the site since 2011.

David Morris MP said: “I was pleased to meet with Opus Land North to discuss their proposals. I welcome this new development and will be working with the developers to ensure it enhances the front at Morecambe.”

“As I understand it, the developers will be submitting their planning application in the next few weeks.”

“I hope the development will give visitors to Morecambe and people who live nearby access to a range of retail outlets as well as visiting the existing shops and restaurants in Morecambe.”

Anyone wishing to find out more about the proposal can take a look at

The following text is taken from The Visitor Published 26th February 2014 at ... -1-6460982

"Whisper it quietly...but Morecambe might just be turning the corner.

The Heysham to M6 link road is finally being built, a new £17m shopping park is planned for the eyesore Frontierland site, a £5.5m housing regeneration scheme is under way in the West End, and there are other signs that Morecambe could be looking at a much brighter future...

Work is well under way on the M6 link road and Morecambe’s business community couldn’t be happier.

Industry leaders say the 4.8km dual carriageway - on course to open in the summer of 2016 - will bring huge economic benefits by slashing journey times and cutting congestion, making the district a more attractive place to trade.

A study for Lancashire County Council predicts North Lancashire will get a £4.40 return for every £1 invested in the road.

Just this week, part of Torrisholme Road was closed as part of work to build a new bridge which forms part of the £124m project to link the Heysham bypass with Junction 34 of the M6.

And people across the area have seen the arrival of diggers and workmen over the last few months.

Problems faced by hauliers travelling to Heysham Port were raised in a recent report which concluded “road bottlenecks” were hindering access to them - stifling growth.

Link road developer Costain aims to train and employ 100 local jobless people.

Thirty have already gained jobs.

Project manager Andrew Langley said: “It’s great the scheme has now started, we must now ensure we deliver this challenging scheme safely and to the highest quality.”

The link road includes new slip roads, a new bridge over the River Lune and a 600-space park-and-ride site."

The following text is taken from The Visitor Published 14th March 2014 at ... -1-6461482

"A leading politician believes Morecambe is on the up and up.

Councillor Janice Hanson is positive about the town’s future now work on the Heysham to M6 link road has begun and because other regeneration schemes are in the pipeline over the next two years.

They include planned shopping park on the ex-Frontierland site, and the Chatsworth Gardens housing renegeration scheme and a £1m lottery grant for the West End. Coun Hanson, deputy leader of Lancaster City Council, also believes the Morecambe Area Action Plan (MAAP) - a 10-year blueprint for town planning policy - will attract even more cash into the town and create more jobs.

The council is working with Carillion, a leading Midlands-based developer, on ways to make Morecambe attractive to investors.

She said: “Through the MAAP the council is setting out a long term vision to work with developers to identify schemes that will achieve our aims of attracting investment and jobs into the town. In Heysham, we expect to see significant business growth as employment land that has been inaccessible for years is unlocked

Developer Opus North is due to submit plans for a ‘Bay Shopping Park’ on the former Frontierland site to Lancaster City Council in March.The quality 100,000 sq ft complex would include fashion shops, a 60-bedroomed hotel, restaurants, a family pub and 376 parking spaces and create 500 jobs.

Meanwhile Wilmslow developer Place First has already been given permission to start work on the Chatsworth Gardens scheme. The first phase of the project will see Victorian properties on Albert Road and Chatsworth Road in the West End replaced by 51 brand new modern two, three and four bedroomed apartments.."

The following text is taken from The Visitor Published 10th April 2014 at ... -1-6548657

Marks and Spencer and Debenhams have topped a residents’ poll of shops they would most like to see on the Frontierland site.

A survey by Opus North, who want to develop the old ex-fairground into a shopping park, had the two high street giants as clearly the most popular choices.

Next on the list of preferred choices were TK Maxx, followed by H&M.

Opus North are in talks with some of these big-name retailers hoping to attract them to the planned £17m site.

A report says the public has given “overwhelming support” to the plans for the ex-fairground on Morecambe seafront.

The survey results were revealed as Opus North fomally submitted plans for the development to Lancaster City Council.

The council planning committee will meet to make a decision on the plans later this year. The Polo Tower and Ranch House would be demolished as part of the plans, which also include a new family pub, hotel and restaurants.

Marks and Spencer used to have a food and clothing store on Euston Road in the town centre until it closed more than 25 years ago.

The following text is taken from The Lancaster Guardian Published 11th April 2014 at ... -1-6556461

Planning Applications:

14/00388/FUL, former Frontierland site, Marine Road West, Morecambe redevelopment of former amusement park to form retail units, restaurants, family pub/restaurant, hotel, car parking, landscaping, public art and access, for Opus Land North (Morecambe) Limited and Wm Morrisons Supermarkets.

The following text is taken from The Visitor published 2nd September 2014 at ... -1-6818129

Design guru Wayne Hemingway has described plans to build a shopping park on the Frontierland site as “vague and lacking in detail”.

The Morecambe-born entrepreneur voiced his fears as it emerged that Lancaster City Council had asked developer Opus North to provide more information about the £17m seafront scheme.
Opus North wants to build a new modern retail centre called the Bay Shopping Park on the derelict ex-fairground site, creating 500 new jobs.

The Yorkshire-based developer is in talks with big-name chains and also wants to build a 62-bedroomed hotel and new family pub-restaurant.
There has been overwhelming support for the plans from residents and MP David Morris.
Opus North originally hoped the plans would go before Lancaster City Council in mid-September.
But a council spokesman said it would be later than that, as they wanted more details on “highways and traffic, retail impacts and elevational detail”.

Mr Hemingway, who runs London-based design firm Hemingway Design, said: “Of course, everyone should welcome the site coming back into use and the aspiration for decent retailers like Marks & Spencer and decent eateries.

“But if it comes back to life as a poorly designed, poorly detailed and executed development then it will be worse than it remaining empty.
This is a strategically important prime site on the promenade of a British seaside town that is starting to turn the corner and should be treated with top class design thinking.
The elevations and sketches that are in the public domain are so vague and lacking in detail, I fear there is a danger that little of the quality that the site deserves could end up being delivered.”

A spokesman for Opus North said:

“More than 1,200 local people have contacted us to support our plans. Our development team is working closely with the council to get the plans absolutely right for Morecambe. The design will be contemporary, attractive and a credit to the seafront. As a result more people will enjoy shopping in Morecambe, stay longer and spend more money across the local economy.”

Meanwhile, David Morris MP has called for Lancaster City Council “not to drop the ball” on the plans.

Mr Morris said:

“I am convinced that this plan to regenerate Frontierland is right for Morecambe. After 15 long years we finally have an exciting and viable scheme on the table.”

The West End Million Steering Group also added their voice to the chorus of support.

A spokesman for the group, who are in charge of £1m worth of Lottery funding awarded to the West End, said: “We see that the creation of jobs locally will have a beneficial effect on the economy of the West End.”

Owners of the rival Arndale Centre and developers British Land, who are planning a major retail development in Lancaster, have both objected to the scheme.

The following text is taken from The Lancaster Guardian published 19th September 2014 at ... -1-6850015

"In the last few weeks the Lancaster Guardian has reported on objections to the regeneration of the derelict, dilapidated and downright ugly site that used to be Frontierland.

This site, which has lain barren for years, has steadily become more of an embarrassment to the views and the economy of Morecambe, and while every effort has been made to improve the offer of the town from local traders and others, regeneration in Morecambe has been for some time a concept with a mint shaped hole in the middle.

This development, which will cost approximately £17m, will create 500 jobs and transform the site.

It is somewhat of a surprise then, to see both the Belfast based and US owned Colliers International who run the Arndale, and British Land who want to redevelop the canal corridor in Lancaster, objecting to this scheme.

The Arndale say that the site will have an impact on the centre of town and point to empty shops at 18.5 per cent. Maybe it would be worth their while pointing out that the percentage of empty shops in central Morecambe just two short years ago was 30 per cent? Maybe they would be well advised to look at their own property in and around their own site and ask why they are empty?

We should take no lectures on quality from the organisation that has brought us Poundland and Brighthouse.

British Land on the other hand say that the regeneration of Frontierland will have: “a serious impact on shopping in Lancaster”. I can only hope so. Maybe that serious impact will be to enliven British Land into getting on with their plans.

Either way we’re constantly told by free market economists that competition is good. That it increases quality and lowers prices.

It seems that free market economics is good for some companies so long as the free market is nowhere near them. We should get behind this scheme and bring much needed money and jobs into the local economy."

Darren Clifford

Armed Forces and Veterans Champion

Labour Group Secretary

County Coun for Morecambe South (Westgate and Torrisholme)

The following text is taken from The Visitor 24th September 2014 at ... -1-6858535

It was once Blackpool’s second Tower.

Now the Polo Tower has been earmarked for demolition amid safety fears.

Residents in its current home of Morecambe have complained the 168ft landmark at the old Frontierland fairground site was swaying and creaking noises could be heard at the base.

An investigation by structural engineers found there was no imminent danger, but owners Morrisons have told Lancaster City Council they believe the tower should still be pulled down.

No date has been set for the proposed demolition as further survey work is scheduled and the council will first have to give planning permission.

The Polo Tower has been a controversial fixture on Morecambe seafront since 1994.

It was originally known as the Space Tower and was built at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in 1974.

The tower was moved in 1993 to make way for the Big One rollercoaster and was installed at Frontierland, also owned by the Thompson family of Blackpool.

The tower, sponsored by Polo mints, opened in 1995 and boasted a revolving circular platform which went up and down the structure, offering spectacular views across the bay at the top.

Although initially the tower proved popular it soon fell into disuse and a state of disrepair.

Frontierland closed in 2000 after visitor numbers continued to fall but the 
tower remained.

Morrisons had a contract with a telecommunications company to use the giant Polo tube as a mast until the agreement expired in 2013.

Since the park closed, the site has had a chequered history.

In 2001 planning permission was given to build a Freeport-style retail outlet village on the derelict site but the plans were scrapped due to little interest from retailers.

A further proposal to build a hotel, leisure club and luxury apartments on the site collapsed in 2009 when the developers went bust.

In 2007, Coun Ron Sands called for Morecambe residents to boycott Polo mints until the shabby tower was pulled down because it was “neither a credit to Morecambe’s spectacular seafront promenade nor the nation’s favourite mint”.

Then in 2013 developers Opus North revealed a £17m blueprint for a shopping park, hotel and family pub on the Frontierland site, to include demolition of the Polo Tower and its replacement with a piece of public art.

After overwhelming public support for the plans, Opus North was recently told by Lancaster City Council to go back to the drawing board and provide more information on “highways and traffic, retail impacts and elevational detail”.

Revised plans are expected shortly before the council can make a decision.

The following text is taken from The Visitor 14th October 2014 at ... -1-6895349

An amended planning application has been submitted to LancasterCity Council by Opus North, who are proposing a £17million shopping and leisure development on the site of the former fairground in Morecambe. Morecambe Town Council will be making observations on the amended application which includes:

Updated information on site drainage;

Updated information on the contaminated land report;

Mitigating any retail impact on Morecambe town centre, which includes £200,000 towards public realm improvements – the town council has recommended the installation of interactive electronic white boards;

Traffic measures on Marine Road, for safety reasons;

An updated car park management plan.

In May, the town council made it clear that they wholeheartedly supported the proposed development at Frontierland on the basis that it would bring much needed employment to the area and rid the town of a long derelict site. Opus North provided Lancaster City Council with additional information on a handful of topics, at the request of council officers. This does not constitute a resubmission of the application. At an extraordinary meeting of Morecambe Town Council today, Tuesday, October 14, at 7pm, councillors will be asked for their views on the amended application in order to confirm their support for the scheme. Councillors will then consider whether they want to make any further comment to the city council.

The following text is taken from The Visitor 21st October 2014 at ... -1-6907724

A town councillor has branded the Arndale Centre ‘a disgrace’ for opposing a rival shopping park in Morecambe – as D-Day looms for the £17m scheme.

Evelyn Archer launched a public attack on Arndale bosses as it emerged that a decision on the planned ‘Bay Shopping Park’ at the former Frontierland fairground site is due to be made on November 10.
Mrs Archer and her fellow town councillors also rounded on developers planning a rival retail area in Lancaster.

At a meeting of Morecambe Town Council, Mrs Archer said: “The owners of the Arndale Centre have invested no money in it and I don’t see how they can object when the Arndale is such a disgrace.”
Later, Mrs Archer told The Visitor: “I’m so annoyed. I think this development is good for Morecambe. We need something that’s going to bring people into town.”

Morecambe town councillors from all parties showed rare unity as they joined forces to back the Frontierland blueprint, brainchild of Yorkshire developers Opus North.

The following text is taken from The Visitor 10th November 2014 at ... -1-6943955

Plans to build a £17m shopping park in Morecambe have been given the go ahead.

A planning committee of Lancaster city councillors has green-lighted the Bay Shopping Park development at the former Frontierland site.

The decision was made at a packed meeting at Lancaster Town Hall on Monday.

Final approval still must be given by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

Developers Opus North want to build a new shopping complex at the seafront site including big-name chains, a hotel, pub and 336 car parking spaces.They want to sign major-name retailers for the park but have not revealed who they are, although it is believed they have been in talks with Primark and Mothercare.

Lancaster City Council challenged Opus North and site owners Morrisons to act quickly to sign up top quality retailers for the site.Coun Janice Hanson, Cabinet member with responsibility for Regeneration and Planning, said:

“It’s down to Opus to be true to their word by implementing the planning permission and attracting top quality retailers. More than 10 years ago the site gained approval for a ‘Freeport’ style development which was never implemented because the retailers could not be found.We certainly don’t want that to happen again and all the talk is that this development will help to lead the renaissance of Morecambe.
Opus have convinced the people of Morecambe that the development will attract top quality retailers, but so far we have had no indication from the developer as to the names of any that have expressed a specific interest in the scheme.The city council has supported the developer’s vision. The ball is now with Opus and it’s down to them to make this development one which will make Morecambe proud and not to saddle us with yet another forlorn hope.”

It was also revealed at the meeting that the Arndale Centre could be sold.

Current owners JAP (Morecambe) LLP, who objected to the Frontierland plans, could strike a deal with New River Retail who own several shopping centres around the UK

Frontierland Morecambe: How The West Was Lost Part 7

The following text is taken from The Visitor 4th February 2016 at ... -1-7716087

Developers still tight-lipped over Morecambe shopping park

The names of the shops at Morecambe’s new £17m seafront retail park remain clouded in mystery.

Developers are still tight-lipped on who might move onto the new Bay Shopping Park more than a year after planning permission was given.

Opus North has finished a tendering process and will appoint a building firm to start work on the former Frontierland fairground site shortly.

But a spokesman said while there “has been movement with retailers behind the scenes” he was unable to give any names.

The only confirmed tenants so far are Premier Inn and Brewers Fayre.

The new 60-bedroom hotel and pub-restaurant will replace the Ranch House pub which closed on Sunday.

The spokesman said surveyors had been inside the former Ranch to prepare for its demolition, possibly in May.

He also said the Polo Tower would be demolished once a contractor is appointed.

Last July, Opus North confirmed they had been in talks with B&M Bargains and TK Maxx.

The Yorkshire firm, in partnership with site owners Morrisons, had aimed to start work in autumn 2015.

But in September last year, they said “practical hurdles” had slowed down talks with retailers.

Telecoms giant EE (formerly Orange) were also using the 168ft Polo tube as a mast but the licence was due to expire at the end of January 2016.

Planning permission was granted for the new shopping park, to include shops, restaurants and more than 300 car parking spaces, in November 2014.


The following text is taken from The Visitor 4th July 2016 at ... -1-7996379

Morecambe shopping park now ‘urgent’ after pub fire

Calls for work to start on a new Morecambe shopping park have intensified after a major fire wrecked an empty seafront pub.

As an arson enquiry was launched at the Ranch House, the deputy leader of Lancaster City Council and the pub’s former boss have called for developers to get on with the “long overdue” £17m Bay Shopping Park.

Coun Janice Hanson, deputy leader of Lancaster City Council, said “urgent action” was needed to demolish the pub after Friday’s fire and to confirm a start date for the long-delayed retail park.

“It is vital that this work takes place as soon as possible and the building is not allowed to deteriorate further,” said Coun Hanson. “The council granted permission to develop the land nearly 18 months ago. I know that (developers) Opus have been working towards setting a start date, but it is important they now deliver on the promises they have made to the people of Morecambe.

“This prime site has been left to linger for too long.”

Publican Robert Ellershaw, who was forced to leave the Ranch in January to make way for the shopping park, said:

“Since the day we went there have been kids going in there and it surprises me that it has been as long as five months for something like this to happen. “Now this has happened, there is an opportunity for (owners) Morrisons to say that it’s long overdue, we’re going to announce the timescale (for the shopping park) and who’s coming, because there doesn’t seem to be any movement.”

Mr Ellershaw took over the Exchange pub on Regent Road with his wife Debbie after being given notice to vacate the Ranch in January.

“It’s upsetting, a lot of customers have said it’s a sad end to the Ranch House,” he said. “Although I am happy with the choice I made (to take over the Exchange), we could have still been there now instead of leaving in a crazy rush.”

Opus North, would-be developers, said they remain “100% committed” to the new shopping park and “conversations with operators continue to go well”.

A large team of firefighters from Morecambe, Lancaster, Carnforth, Silverdale, Milnthorpe and Fulwood were called to the fire at around 6.10pm on Friday. Crews fought for around three hours to bring the blaze under control. Nearby businesses including Morrisons and DW gym were evacuated as smoke spread and the road was closed temporarily between Central Drive and Albert Road. Lancashire Fire and Rescue said it is possible the blaze was started deliberately...

Work on the former Frontierland fairground site was originally due to start in September 2015 but was delayed. The developers said “practical hurdles” had slowed down talks with retailers.

Telecoms giant EE (formerly Orange) were also using the 168ft Polo tube as a mast but the licence was due to expire at the end of January 2016.

In February 2016, Opus North announced it had finished a tendering process and would appoint a building firm to start work on the former Frontierland fairground site shortly. But a spokesman said while there “has been movement with retailers behind the scenes” he was unable to give any names. The only confirmed tenants so far are Premier Inn and Brewers Fayre. The new 60-bedroom hotel and pub-restaurant is due to replace the Ranch, a popular Wild West-themed pub during its heyday.

The Polo Tower is also due to be demolished once a contractor is appointed.

The following text is taken from The Visitor 30th August 2016 at ... -1-8096400

Marks & Spencer want to return to Morecambe and the deal could be done in a matter of weeks. Talks are well under way to bring a Marks & Spencer Foodhall to the new Bay Shopping Park at the former Frontierland fairground site

Developers Opus North said they are weeks away from concluding the deal. Many Morecambe residents have longed for years for the return of a Marks & Spencer shop to the town.

M&S had a town centre outlet on the corner of Euston Road and Victoria Street until the chain pulled out of the resort in the 1980s – which many saw as symbolic of the decline of the town as a shopping destination.

A spokesman for Opus North said: “The Marks & Spencer Board has approved opening a new Marks & Spencer Foodhall at the Bay Shopping Park development in Morecambe.

“Negotiations are currently underway with the intention of concluding a deal in the coming weeks to bring M&S to Morecambe.

“Related to this, a planning application is shortly to be submitted to Lancaster City Council, which will amend the existing planning permission to accommodate a Marks & Spencer Foodhall at the development.”

An M&S spokesman said: “We are always looking at new sites for stores to ensure we have a relevant local offer, and Morecambe is a town we are currently interested in.”

The news comes after weeks of speculation and scepticism among residents about the lack of movement at the seafront site. Opus North and site owners Morrisons were granted planning permission in November 2014 and work was originally due to start in autumn 2015. But the planned £17m development was hit with a series of snags as the developers said “practical hurdles” had slowed down talks with retailers hoping to occupy spots on the shopping park.

The fire at the former Ranch House pub in July was the latest setback for the development.

“As one would expect, the recent fire at the Ranch House has complicated progress on site, but arrangements for demolition are now well in hand,” said the spokesman.

“Provided deals are concluded with potential occupiers, we anticipate starting work on site before the end of the year.

“Clearly, regeneration of the site is taking longer than either we or local people had hoped. We are very grateful to the community for the patience it has shown and hope that the progress being made provides reassurance that Opus remains committed to delivering a quality retail development in Morecambe.”

Other plans for the Bay Shopping Park include a Brewers Fayre restaurant and 60-bedroom Premier Inn hotel to replace the Ranch House.

To Be Continued..
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Re: Frontierland Morecambe: How The West Was Lost

Postby Gary » 19 Feb 2012, 13:45


A Great Sky Cam Video: Morecambe Now & Then Feb 2015
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Postby Gary » 23 Feb 2012, 18:09


Frontierland Morecambe: A Video by Tony Sadler
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Re: Frontierland Morecambe: How The West Was Lost

Postby Gary » 07 Aug 2012, 09:18

If any readers out there have any memories about Frontierland Morecambe that they wish to add or share, please email me, Gary, at and I'll include them in this ongoing (not so) mini project with credit of course.

Many Thanks!

Gary Radice / 2005 / 2012 / 2013
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Re: Frontierland Morecambe: How The West Was Lost

Postby Gary » 27 Oct 2013, 16:08

If any readers out there have any stories about Frontierland Morecambe that they wish to add or share, please email me, Gary, at and I'll include them in this ongoing (not so) mini project with credit of course.

Many Thanks!


Gary Radice / 2005 / 2012 / 2013
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Re: Frontierland Morecambe: How The West Was Lost

Postby Gary » 31 Jan 2014, 10:07

If any readers out there have any pictures from Frontierland Morecambe that they wish to add or share, please email me, Gary, at and I'll include them in this ongoing (not so) mini project with credit of course.

Many Thanks!


Gary Radice / 2005 / 2012 / 2013 / 2014
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Location: St Helens

Re: Frontierland Morecambe: How The West Was Lost

Postby Gary » 01 Feb 2014, 20:32

If any readers out there have any current rumours about Frontierland Morecambe that they wish to add or share, please email me, Gary, at and I'll include them in this ongoing (not so) mini project with credit of course.

Many Thanks!


Gary Radice / 2005 / 2012 / 2013 / 2014
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Re: Frontierland Morecambe: How The West Was Lost

Postby Gary » 13 Apr 2014, 07:52

Marks and Spencer and Debenhams have topped a residents’ poll of shops they would most like to see on the Frontierland site :(
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Re: Frontierland Morecambe: How The West Was Lost

Postby kevin » 14 Apr 2014, 10:23

That's sad.
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Re: Frontierland Morecambe: How The West Was Lost

Postby Gary » 07 Sep 2014, 10:12

My grateful thanks to Nick Laister for giving all enthusiasts the chance to reflect and remember the once great park that was Morecambe Frontierland! :-)
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Re: Frontierland Morecambe: How The West Was Lost

Postby Gary » 22 Sep 2014, 21:18

Recommended YouTube for Frontierland: Cableway, view from the Cableway of the park and promenade, shots of the Carousel Early '80s: Log Flume, Wheel and Texas Tornado The "Soapy" Log Flume '90s: Noah's Ark, Tumble Bug, Flyers, Ghost Train, Fun House, Texas Tornado Texas Tornado Cameron Seddon's video of Morecambe Frontierland in August 1993 Texas Tornado on ride shot in 1999 1992: Great shots of Frontierland '94 - '95: More great shots of Frontierland The Haunted Silver Mine Morecambe Raiders at Frontierland 1994 The Stampede Roller Coaster The Guinness Time Piece: Morecambe 1962 A Ride on the POLO Tower 1998 Jim Lowe's visit to a deserted Frontierland in 2008 Steve Smith's On-Ride video of The Ghost Train at Frontierland Morecambe filmed during 1994 season and edited 2012 Steve Smith's video of The Perculator (Teacups Ride) circa 1997 Steve Smith's video of "Morecambe Frontierland: Another Look"
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