Local councillors are spearheading a move to revitalise one of Southport’s more “forgotten” retail areas by launching a scheme to help improve it.
They’ve joined forces with traders on Bispham Road in High Park to look into ways of creating more of a “village-like feel” to help boost business and community spirit in the area.
Norwood’s Labour councillors are actively pursuing several ideas and have already contacted many of the retailers on the road. Councillor Greg Myers says the response so far has been very positive.
He said: “Living here, I’ve long felt that Bispham Road needed a bit of TLC and discussed it with my colleague Mhairi Doyle around the time she was elected.
“We both agreed that it has a great energy to it and is well used but that it would be good to build on that and try to foster more of a coherent village-like feel to it, pulling together both the business and residential aspects.
“With Carran Waterfield and myself then joining Mhairi as councillors, the idea of the Bispham Road Improvement Group started to develop and I began contacting local business owners. With the Covid crisis, things ground to a halt but now that is easing a little we are pressing ahead.
“We’ve also been talking to the High Park Project who are very keen to help, as ever, and have also been looking at ways of boosting community resilience.
“They’ve put a survey across a range of topics out to a number of residents in the area and I’ve been told that the responses so far suggest this sort of scheme would be welcome.
“One of the things we are looking at is how we can create more interest in the area, so at times such as Halloween and Christmas, for example, it helps bring more people to the local businesses and provides events for local residents.
“My ward colleagues and I, for instance, are investigating the possibility of not just a real Christmas tree which would have to be replaced each year but a permanent living tree that could act as a focal point all year round.
“If any local residents or businesses have any ideas they’d like to contribute or want to get involved then they can contact me directly or leave their details at Bispham Road Post Office.”
Local Post Master David Hartley says he and other businesses in the area are only too pleased to back the aims of the project:
“Having been here for some time now I’d be delighted to see Bispham Road less forgotten for want of a better phrase and more loved. It’s been tough times for many due to the Covid crisis and this would be a great way of helping overcome that.
“Bringing together retailers and residents with councillors and community groups will hopefully also build on the sense of public spirit that has been shown during the period.
“You never know, it might even bring a touch of Birkdale Village to Bispham Road – though I can’t see the artisan cheese shop opening up just yet, besides we’ve got a great little Sainsbury’s and One Stop that do us just fine.”
Any local residents or businesses wishing to help can contact Cllr Myers directly via email@example.com.