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January 2012
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March 2012

Redevelopment of Formby Village Toilets

In the last post I wrote about my suggestion for a redevelopment of the 'mothballed' toilets in the Furnace Avenue car park. I suggested this proposal should be included as part of a bid for a 'Portas: Town Team'.

The idea has evoked some response in the twitter stream: @formbyvillage. I mentioned that this was not an original idea and since my post, I've found details of another example.

Have a look at the two images below and spot the differences and the similarities.




The first photograph is the Formby Toilets block in it's current mothballed state. The only similarity between the buildings is probably their size. The second photograph is of the Thirsk Town former toilet block situated in the centre of the town. (See:

The difference is that it has been redeveloped into a Tourist Information office. It's run as a 'Social Enterprise' by volunteers, which is how all the Charity Shops in Formby are run and managed.

My suggestion is that our toilet block should be renovated as a Tourist/Town Information centre also stocked with appropriate goods like those in Thirsk. There would still be room for toilets for the public, but that they would be less likely to damage or misuse because they would be only available when the centre was open.

The redevelopment alongside all the Village existing and forthcoming Improvements by Formby Parish Council, would help to redefine the centre of Formby as a 'destination town'. It would encourage those thousands of visitors who flock to the beach to come to the village and help reinvigorate the retail heart of the town.


Portas 'Town Team' Bid Update

Earlier this week I met with two of the Formby Parish Councillors, who have volunteered to look at the idea of making a bid for a Portas Pilot Town Team Bid. It was a fruitful meeting and we agreed these actions

  • To meet with Sefton MBC officers to register our bid preparations
  • To meet with the local Traders.
  • To prepare a 'draft' bid application form.

The Parish Council members have agreed the boundaries of the bid area should focus on the village shopping centre only, but to role out the benefits to Formby's satellite shopping centres. They're also hoping to include a proposal for the empty former M&S shop next to HSBC Bank.

I suggested the mothballed toilet block in the Furness Avenue car park should be adapted so that it's primary purpose becomes a 'Tourist/Town Information' centre but also providing public access to toilet facilities. Presently the cost of renovation outweighs the likely benefits. A similar scheme was undertaken in Cumbria. A team of local residents formed a 'Trust' made a successful bid for Lottery funds and now run a thriving community led 'Information Service'.

What do you think a Portas Town Team Bid should include? The Pool Trust have just published their consultation document for the pool grounds, this is an ideal opportunity to develop an integrated improvement plan for the centre of our town.

Norman Wisdom Seen at BP Petrol Station

Image of Norman Wisdom
I've just come across a very small but fascinating glimpse of the past in Formby. Norman Wisdom starred in a film called 'What's Good for the Goose' that was made in 1969. He played a banker who is attending a conference and on the way he picks up two teenage hitch-hikers and finds himself confronting the 'Swinging Sixties'.
Some of the scenes were filmed in Formby, at the BP Petrol Station where Norman fills his car with petrol and the adjoining roundabout, where the two hitch-hikers get their lift.

Two photographs document those scenes.

These and more photograph of many of the scenes from the film are are featured on the Reelstreets web site. They are an intriguing glimpse of Southport, the Formby By-Pass and other parts of Merseyside.


Freshfield Road Repairs Completed


Sefton MBC have completed the resurfacing of  Freshfield Road in the vicinity of Formby High School and the road has reopened.

Motorists should be aware of the 'school zone' 20mph speed limit. The signs are very clear.

The students of Formby High School will be pleased to see that their campaign of some years is gradually bearing fruit.

Freshfield Road is frequently driven along too fast by too many vehicles it will be interesting to see whether there is any change in drivers behaviour.

Sefton MBC Removes Village Flower Hanging Baskets

Sefton Council have removed the street light hanging baskets as part of their cut's in services. An agency based in Derby who provided them in the first place sent their 'white van' men to complete the removal. I just happened to be on hand to catch sight of and record the moment.