Lytham’s Conservative councillors would like to see Lytham Institute become a new base for a town council complete with community facilities, should local government reorganisation go ahead.
The councillors have backed the idea of a parish council only in the event Fylde Council and Lancashire County Council are replaced with a more distant unitary authority.
Lytham Councillor Michael Sayward said: “We all want to see a revamped Lytham Institute up and running for the good of the community and for the town.
“If we move towards a unitary authority, we have already said we’ll support a parish council in the town, and this could be the way we find funding to revamp the building which is in need of serious repair and updating.”
County Councillor added:“We have had several public meetings about Lytham Institute and we know that a number of community groups have been working hard to put plans together to retain the building as a facility for both community and business use that will benefit both residents and the local economy – but matters are now on hold due to the current pandemic.”
“If we can base a town council at the Institute, we may well be able to find funding to turn the rest of the building into a community facility.”
The Institute belongs to the people of Lytham, and is currently held in a trust of which Fylde Council is the only trustee. Lancashire County Council’s previous Labour administration closed the Library Service in the building in 2016; the new Conservative administration reopened the service in the town’s Assembly Rooms in 2019.
Coun Ray Thomas said: “The Institute has been underused for years, but there was a lot of interest at the meetings for public meeting spaces which could be used for all sorts of purposes; perhaps the formation of a town council is the catalyst, we need to get a plan together for the building.
Coun Peter Anthony said: “Lytham Institute is a key building in our town centre and we want to see it become a useful venue for residents, and a draw for visitors.
“If we are looking at a town council, then hopefully this will open some doors to funding which will allow us to realise the potential of a sorely underused and wasted building in Lytham.”
C.Cllr. Tim Ashton