SAFEWAY chiefs believe they have got green for go with a revolutionary new plan for the Ashton Gardens development in St Annes.

They hope they have taken the sting out of major opposition by retaining the bowling greens that were to be moved to the seafront in plan number one.

And only 1.97 acres of the gardens will disappear with the new store shifting across St George's Road to occupy the indoor market and the rest of that block.

The amended plans were exclusively revealed to the Citizen this week and follow an extensive public consultation exercise.

Changes address all issues raised and include:

Enhancing the outlook for the residents of Ashton Court Gardens.

Substantially increasing the level of landscaping within the car parking area.

Creating three new shops enhancing the shopping link to the town centre.

Modifications to the Winter Garden building including a tiled roof, to address concerns over maintenance.

The police station has also disappeared from the map, but it will be situated elsewhere in the town.

Many features of Safeway's original proposals remain in place including new lights throughout Ashton Gardens, a state-of-the-art play area for children, enhancement of the war memorial, new paving and pedestrian links as well as the creation of a nature trail.

During the public consultation, an impressive 60 per cent of completed forms were in favour of the new store while 36 per cent disagreed with the proposals.

Tracy Hostler, public affairs manager for Safeway Stores, believes the new proposals will win over many of these people as well as Fylde councillors who were shown plans and a model of the development yesterday (April 22).

She commented: "There are a handful of councillors who are opposed to our plans but we hope they will now see that we have done everything we possibly can.

"We hope they will see it as a much needed, long-term investment in the town. With the help of the people of St Annes, our new plans have been adapted, responding to local concerns and we are confident the new scheme is a more acceptable alternative.

"It greatly reduces the area of Ashton Gardens required, while still ensuring the future vitality of the town.

"We have demonstrated our commitment to consult local people about our proposals and this will continue."

Mark Dransfield, of Dransfield Properties, acting on behalf of Safeway Stores, added: "Everything that the store takes from the park is being replaced with something better."

Converted for the new archive on 14 July 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.