Supporters of Ashton Gardens

SOAG exists to protect, preserve and enhance Ashton Gardens

The Ashton Institute before its removal


SAG's 1998 Campaign

The Safeway campaign of 1998

The Safeway Campaign

This period saw the creation of the Save Ashton Gardens campaign. It began when council officers who had worked with Safeway's land agent Mark Dransfield on the development of a supermarket in the market town of Kirkham saw the possibility of re-generating St Annes in the same way. The opposition to this was led from inside the Council by the Director of Tourism and Leisure, and from outside the Council by Mrs.  (later to become Councillor) Barbara Pagett, pictured in the red coat and blue hat above.


Autumn 1996

Dransfield approaches the Council's Director of Tourism & Leisure  regarding a plan for Safeway expansion into Ashton Gardens.

February 1997 

It was revealed that the scheme for the a new store would involve building on part of Ashton Gardens.

June 1997

The Save Ashton Gardens campaign group was formed to protect the Gardens from development.

29 September 1997

A special Planning Committee considers the possibility of an enlarged superstore.

2 October 1997

Express:  Barbara Pagett letter reports the petition is up to 7,023 signatures.

9 October 1997

Express: 100 angry residents gather at town hall to protest at threat to the gardens.

30 October 1997

The Director of Tourism & Leisure issues a confidential report to Councillors, setting out the impact of proposals.

4 December 1997

Express. Dransfield buys railway station site off Glen Eldon Road. and Tory Councillors propose a motion to prevent the Council from selling or otherwise disposing of any of the gardens.

Saturday 31 January 1998

Safeway plans and model set up in shop, and SAG protest march. 

Thursday 5 Feb 1998

HALSA come out in favour of the proposal. St Annes Town Centre Forum refuse membership to people involved with SAG.

Wed 4 Feb 1998

Express offers Safeway and Mrs Pagett 500 words to put their cases.

Friday 6th Feb 1998 

Date of the Public Meeting at United Reformed Church. It is over subscribed and a second meeting has to be held later for those who could not get in.

27 February 1998

Letter from the Garden History Society describes the Safeway plan as "One of the worst acts of vandalism it has ever been my misfortune to see." 

5 March 1998

"Express". Has the "Vandalism of Ashton Gardens" headline on the front page. 

10th March 1998

Nigel Hill, (Director of Planning and Technical Services) says that on the best possible interpretation of the public survey that Safeway had undertaken, the research shows 60% were in favour. 

18 May 1998

Second public meeting to oppose the plans held at LSA High School - 130 participants.

21 May 1998

The Council meeting at Lowther Gardens (with over 350 members of the public present), narrowly decides not to proceed with the scheme.

Let Us Have Your Story

We are presently compiling a book that will tell - in their own words - the story of the people involved in the first Save Ashton Gardens Campaign. If you were involved, or went to any of the meetings and would like to tell the story of how you became involved and why

Whether it is a paragraph or a chapter, we would like to hear from you. We can either have a chat and compose your story from that, or if you prefer, you can write it yourself. For more details please contact the Secretary
Supporters of Ashton Gardens 

Copyright 2012 Fred Moor.
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