St Annes Town and plans for UKSPF Projects to improve the Town Centre, Station, Promenade and Pier Links

The Fylde Council Economic Development team submitted UK Shared Prosperity (UKSPF) funding bids to:

  • Increase footfall and visitor numbers to the Fylde Coast
  • Increase the attractiveness of its town centres, so that people will want to visit and stay
  • Help make the transition to net zero

Here we discuss the main projects and how Place Informatics can assist.

Capital Project – St Annes Event Square

The St Annes Event Square Project is capital project focussing on the main meeting location in the town. The remodelling of the space provides more space for businesses and a new flexible space for markets and events. It was designed to champion the growth of St Annes as an events destination, offering a ‘dynamic space’ for hosting a wide range of activities for hosting celebrations and festivities and for fostering more community engagement.

The location will also be used to be at the forefront of providing more connectivity with other points of interest such as Ashton Gardens, the promenade, beach and sea front and the main shopping area.

The facility will bring vital regeneration to the main public realm, attract visitors into the heart of the town and provide a focus for attracting further investment.

An exciting and impressive events programme for St Annes town centre is being developed, encompassing arts, heritage and culture – to encourage visitors into the town centre and to further boost the visitor economy.  

How Place Informatics Will Assist The Marketing And Events Team

Visitor Origins – Where visitors come from is a key indicator of which local population groups make up the most frequent visitors, which will in turn reveal which groups are ripe for targeting and encouraging them to visit through marketing or social campaigns. In addition, analysing the data, you may well find that there are other clusters from further afield that could be persuaded to visit with the right offering.

Events reporting –  Place Informatics event reporting tool is designed specifically for events – providing an overview of footfall volume, event visitors by postcode and visitors by hour of the day to the whole of the town centre.  The data also provides comparisons with the averages, to enable easy comparisons to be made and provides comparisons with the previous month and years data to give meaningful comparisons to the latest data. Each day of the event will be compared, so that Saturdays are always compared to Saturdays etc.

Movement Analysis – Analysing the visitor routes before the transformation, during and after the transformative investment projects are completed can provide evidence to funding authorities and prove return on investment.

Project Completion

The events space is set to be completed by Summer 2024, following plans adopted from the St Anne’s Masterplan, a strategic framework agreed in 2022.

The initiative was funded by Flyde Council’s capital investment reserve and capital virements, the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) and Lancashire County Council[1].

To view the plans visit the website here:

Loyalty Scheme To Support Businesses And Entrepreneurship

A loyalty scheme initiative, launching in July 2023, is set to reward residents and visitors for their patronage within the town centres and shopping districts. Each town will run their own scheme under a pan Fylde brand. Initially piloted in Kirkham, the original scheme was a great success which has now been expanded to champion the town centres across the borough.

Promoting Retail, Leisure, Hospitality And Services

The loyalty scheme will promote independent shopping, professional services, tourism and hospitality.

Customers of all ages can participate and they simply require a physical card to be stamped, whilst participating business can access refresher social media skills, assisting in promoting the loyalty scheme and their products and services, encouraging repeat custom and the shopping locally habit.

UKSPF And Key Stakeholders

The loyalty scheme was supported by Fylde Council’s UK Shared Prosperity fund allocation that have provided set up costs and marketing support. The concept and roll out have been created by a partnership between Kirkham Business Group, Lytham Business Partnership and St Annes Enterprise Partnership, alongside Fylde Council’s Economic Development Team[2].

How Place Informatics Will Help Economic Development Teams

Footfall and visitor numbers – Prior to infrastructure changes, the visitor numbers and footfall can be used as a benchmark before project commencement and throughout the project and beyond giving an unparalleled understanding of the return on investment of the project.

Visitor Origins linked to demographics – Where your visitors travel from and their demographics can be analysed to find out what services and facilities are being used. When home origins are linked to demographics such as age, gender, education level, income levels, this provides a deep understanding of who your visitors are, what else will attract them and keep them in a location for longer periods.

Travel into town –  Find out which methods of transport are used by visitors – from transport hubs such as train and bus stations, to walking, cycling and public or private car parks. Knowing more about travel will reveal more about the needs and wants of visitors and could assist with carbon reduction initiatives.

Visitor Economy And Travel

The problem was identified that the railway station feels disconnected from the town and that various points of interest in the town could be better connected.

A new arrival plaza at the railway station with an active travel hub is planned to provide a gateway to welcome visitors to the town.  

Therefore increasing the interconnectedness of the station with the other areas of the town such as St Anne’s square, the pier link, pier and car park in front of it, the South Promenade and the Island, with leisure attractions is going to be undertaken.

The station improvements will include a campaign to increase the frequency of trains, which in turn will require a new platform to be constructed.

There will be new cycle hire and storage facilities in the station that will complement the new cycle routes to be constructed, including a new cycle lane from the square to the beach.

Pedestrians will enjoy wider walking routes and super crossings for pedestrians and cyclists will be introduced.

How Place Informatics Will Help Tourism Managers

Distinguish between local residents and tourists -The data can show the differences between residents who are from the local area, visitors from the wider region and from further afield from around the UK.

Visitor Loyalty – Finding out which competing towns, stores or locations your residents visit can help to uncover what is missing in your town.

Visitor Itineraries – The most popular tourists routes can be identified and in contrast, any routes that are underutilised can also be found. The well-trodden paths of visitors along pathways and tourist routes before and after a capital project or infrastructure development from can be measured.

Overnight Stays – The number of day visitors compared to the number of visitors that make overnight stays can also be identified. Knowing this information will change the scope of which services, facilities, accommodation and activities will be required by visitors.

Making The Transition To Net Zero

To help meet the challenges of climate change, a number of feasibility studies are planned, such as the council’s own carbon footprint and how to reduce it’s carbon emissions.  business support measures are planned.

Traffic reduction measures will be put in place and cycle lane improvements are to be made.

How Place Informatics Can Help Sustainability And Carbon Reduction Specialists

Local resident loyalty – Do you know how many of your local population shop locally everyday and if they frequently travel to neighbouring towns, what are the reasons for this? Finding out the reasons for the leakage will assist in planning to provide services or stores that are currently ‘missing’ from your towns offering, which could save numerous car journeys per year.

Dwell time –Assessing the dwell time and visitor volume in towns, market areas, urban green spaces or large grocery stores will provide a benchmark for future improvements and may provide clues as to how the dwell time can be increased. For example, if parking charges all shoot up after 2 hours, would reducing or eliminating this jump mean that visitors are more inclined to stay longer?

Travel methods – The GPS data can analyse what speed the phones are travelling, therefore can distinguish if visitors have travelled in by car, walking or cycling. If you have a capital investment project for more cycle lanes, walking or pedestrian routes, the data can measure the effectiveness of the project, before, during and after completion.

About Fylde Borough

The Fylde peninsula is situated on the Lancashire coast in the North West of England, neighbouring Blackpool, Preston and Wyre. Fylde Council have responsibility for the South section of the Fylde coast, encompassing the largest towns of Lytham and St Annes in the borough of Fylde.

Fylde has 12 miles of golden coastline and a number of market towns. The area is well known for pretty villages, stunning countryside, heritage sites and leisure pursuits such as walking, cycling, sailing and golfing which attracts visitors from all over the UK as well as residents and commuters.

Fylde Population

Fylde has a population of 81,400[3] people. Although the borough boasts a highly skilled workforce and has higher than UK average wages, it is predicted that between 2018 and 2043 the population of Fylde will increase by 16% and the number of households will increase by 24.6%.

The Fylde area has also seen declining visitor numbers since the pandemic, due to the increase in home working and a reduction in work trips and has a higher than average economically inactive population.

Levelling Up Fund And UK Shared Prosperity Fund

Neighbouring Blackpool and Morecambe have also benefitted from the Levelling up fund and the UK Shared Prosperity Fund – both have been given the green light to go ahead. Blackpool submitted their ‘Multiversity’ bid – which will deliver a new educational campus for Blackpool and to Lancaster have exciting plans to create the ‘Eden Project of the North’ in Morecambe.

The refreshing improvements across the Fylde coast are set to bring a sense of pride to local communities and attract more visitors from around the UK and overseas visitors too.

About Place Informatics

Place Informatics provide visitor behaviour and footfall data and gather their data from anonymous GPS mobile phone signals, storing no personally identifiable information and is fully GDPR compliant.

If you want to know more about the ever-changing trends in consumer and visitor habits in any location such as Town Centres, Retail and Shopping locations, Green Spaces, Tourism and Heritage sites please contact us to see the data available for your location.

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[3] Lancashire Insight, Census 2021


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