Morecambe, once a thriving seaside town, has in recent years lost much of its appeal.
The once bustling and colourful promenade that boasted arcades and a theme park (Frontier Land) in its heyday is now lined with empty shops, run down properties and a reputation for being a place where dreams go to die.
When Morecambe was in its prime it offered seasonal employment opportunities to many people as tourism was a massive source of revenue and thus provided a secure source of income as well as a sense of purpose to the residents of the town.
People would come from far and wide to visit the town and this gave the locals a real sense of pride as well as a personal investment in the upkeep of the beautiful coastline.
When people have purpose and pride they flourish and thrive and as they do so the place that they inhabit also prospers. Unfortunately when these things are taken from the people the place in turn suffers the same fate and begins to lose its original attractiveness.
When the theme park which had been there since 1906 and became Frontier Land in 1987 closed in November 1999 this marked a massive downturn in Morecambe’s ability to bring in the people and although there remains one or two seaside style arcades, these are generally used by locals seeking to supplement their income rather than holidaymakers just having fun.
During the major reorganisation of local government which took place in 1974 the municipal borough of Morecambe & Heysham was abolished and Morecambe became a part of the Lancaster City Council area.
When Morecambe became part of Lancaster council this may have seemed like a good idea at the time but through the years as Morecambe has faced decline and dereliction the problems have been impacted by the unspoken but very apparent sense of Lancaster seeing Morecambe as its poor relative and seemingly treating it accordingly.
Drug addiction, drinking to excess and gambling are all prevalent issues that Morecambe battles and although Lancaster has its fair share of these issues the majority of the poverty and problems appear to be exclusively Morecambe’s.
This is to be expected when you give a town purpose, local pride and a sense of worthwhile identity and then snatch it away in such a short time and such an effective manner.
People who have no purpose or prospects will invariably gravitate to a life of escapism in the arms of addiction which in turn often leads to crime and more importantly a negative view from others in society outside of that reality. Once the people adopt this negative self concept they eventually embrace it and even begin to find a sense of identity within this brokenness.
There is hope however, there is on the horizon a project called Eden which will offer employment opportunities to many local people and also bring a much needed boost to tourism as people once again flock to Morecambe for positive reasons and not just cheap accommodation.
One thing that you can never take away from this wonderful place however is this, you will never witness a more beautiful sunset than you will over Morecambe Bay.
The views of the hills across the bay and the way the sun seems to fall right into the sea is something of absolute breathtaking beauty and as you stand on the shore and see this take place it is possible in that moment to forget the pain of the place and it’s because of this that I believe that Morecambe’s future glory will one day exceed that of days which currently seem a long time lost in the cold light of day.