Supporters of Ashton Gardens

SOAG exists to protect, preserve and enhance Ashton Gardens

The Ashton Institute before its removal


Selected Quotations

A few facts

94% of 1,000 St Annes people said "NO" to the sale of any land in the gardens.

8,000 people sent written objections to the sale of the land

 A match funding loan would have repayments of about 60,000 per year for ten years. Every year the Council gets 80,000 from selling sand from St Annes beach, and 120,000 takings from the miniature golf course. We say either of these could be used to repay the loan without increasing your Council Tax.

The Council has capital reserves it could use for the match funding, but it doesn't regard getting a 300% return on your money as being a high enough priority.

 The gardens are a charitable gift from Lord Ashton, not the corporate property of the Council.

Ashton Gardens is within a Conservation area. There are only nine such areas in Fylde.

Ashton Gardens is listed as Grade Two on the National Register of Historic parks and Gardens.

In 1914, the Council first acquired the land for Ashton Gardens on a term of 999 years, then acquired the freehold. Lord Ashton funded the purchase of the land on behalf of the people of the town.

The last use of the Ashton Institute was as a Youth Club run by Ansdell Baptist Church Youth Workers. Prior to that it was a sports club with snooker, table tennis and other facilities.

The last use of the Plaza Bingo Hall was bingo. In planning terms this is a recreation and leisure use. According to planning policy TREC12, this building should not have been allowed to change from this class of use to residential




Views of  bodies and individuals about the campaign




Scott Wilson Resource Consultants 

This firm are specialist historic landscape consultants appointed by the Council to prepare the Ashton Gardens Historical Restoration Management Plan. They said: 

"The denial of planning permission to develop on any area of this garden must be seen as a key to the retention and restoration of the historic character of the gardens. This relates not only to the change in boundary that would result from such development and loss of land but to the irreversible change that would result from demolishing an original and public building, such as the Ashton Institute and its replacement with privately owned hard space or buildings".

The Garden History Society

The Garden History Society monitor and advise on Registered Historic Parks

"We therefore object strongly to its demolition, on the grounds that demolition would result in the loss of a building which makes a positive contribution to the character and appearance of the area".

English Heritage

Referring to the probable impact of development on the grant aid available from the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage wrote:

"In the present circumstances, English Heritage would be minded to repeat your consultant's own concerns in any advice we were asked to provide to the Heritage Lottery Fund in connection with your parks bid. I would be grateful if you would explain this to members of your Leisure and Property Committees as well as to your Planning Committee on 28th March. I understand that this will come as a disappointment, but the opportunity of a financial solution not only to the park's restoration but to the repair of structures within it, such as the Ashton Institute, makes the disposal of buildings and land within the park for development purposes to be prejudicial and premature to this process".

Lytham St Annes Civic Society

Local civic watchdog said:

"It is quite incredible that this demolition should even be considered at this particular time. The historic and amenity value of this park, and of the promenade gardens is just beginning to be appreciated. The demolition of this building could - and should - seriously affect the award of any grants for the park as a whole"

English Heritage

Responsible for monitoring the UK's Conservation Areas said:

I am convinced that the regenerative potential of the site could be unlocked for the intended use without demolishing the Ashton Institute building".

A Fylde Council Planning officer 

Justifying a closing date for objections after a decision has been made by councillors

" This statutory period of notification expires on 26th May. As previously advised, the application will be presented at the next DC committee on 25th May. If Members are minded to approve the application, there will be a resolution to approve the application, but the decision will be made by the Delegating Officer (ie, the business Unit Manager) on the expiry of the statutory period."

SOAG's Chairman: fred Moor 

In all my years in local government, I don't think I have seen a worse display of disregard for protocol nor partial conduct by what should be impartial officers and elected members as we have seen when each of these planning applications has been considered. The Council's formally adopted planning policies have been disregarded, minutes of decisions that were never taken have been created, and common sense abandoned.  It is difficult to escape the conclusion that a substantial capital receipt from selling this land interfered with what should have been an impartial planning process.

Fylde Council's Corporate Objectives 

Used to be printed at the front of each agenda.  The Council's first two core values are: 

"Respect and enrich local democracy" and  "Listen to local people and adopt an open style"

Fylde's Planning Policy 

The first words of the Council's Planning Policy on Indoor Leisure Facilities say:

"The Council will seek to retain all existing indoor public and private sport and recreation facilities. Proposals for the redevelopment of such facilities will not be permitted."
Supporters of Ashton Gardens 

Copyright 2012 Fred Moor.
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