Lancashire

Eric Morecambe statue surroundings to be improved

Eric Morecambe statue
Image caption It is hoped the project will benefit the whole town

A five-year project to improve the surroundings of a statue of Eric Morecambe in his home town has begun.

Called A View for Eric, the scheme will see a £1.25m cash boost for the Victorian and art deco buildings in the heart of Morecambe town centre.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Lancaster City Council programme is being launched on what would have been the comedian's 86th birthday.

The council has said the project will benefit the whole town.

It follows an earlier HLF scheme which saw the restoration of key listed buildings such as the Midland Hotel and Mona House.

This time, building improvement grants will be available to properties within the western end of the conservation area.

Julian Inman, who is in charge of the project for Lancaster City Council, said the scheme would attract more visitors to the town.

"I think most people know we've got a great seafront here," he said.

"This is all about making the town behind that bit better and making it somewhere where more visitors want to go.

"I think in a few years' time people won't just come to Morecambe for what's on the front, hopefully they will come here because of what is a bit further behind as well."

The Eric Morecambe statue was unveiled in 1999 by The Queen.

Cast in bronze, it features some of Eric's famous sayings - and the names of 103 celebrities who starred alongside him.

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