THE world’s first international Fairtade Centre WILL open in Garstang this summer after all, following a change of heart by building owners Wyre Council.
Campaigner Bruce Crowther has pencilled in late August for the opening of the Fairtrade In Garstang (FIG) centre and cafe at the former Discovery Centre.
It is hoped the opening will coincide with the town’s arts festival.
News of the lease approval follows months of frustration for the town’s Fairtrade activists, who have seen opposition from established traders, cafe owners, some town councillors and Wyre Council’s estates department.
Mr Crowther heard of the council’s change of mind from MP Ben Wallace, who had intervened on the Fairtraders’ behalf.
He said: “It’s fantastic. I have been inundated with emails of congratulations and media interest.”
He said the setting up of the centre would mean that Garstang, after 10 years as the world’s first Faitrade town, would have a physical focus to show to the many visitors who are encouraged to the town by its Fairtrade status.
He said: “It is a wonderful chance to show what Fairtrade means.”
The small print of the lease will be thrashed out this month, following which builders will move in to carry out conversion work.
As well as a cafe, much of the area within the FIG centre will be given over to displays of the work of the Fairtrade, including Garstang’s vital contribution to the movement.
The centre has been dubbed by some as The Chocolate Factory, as one activity will be workshops on chocolate-making from cocoa beans.
There has already been international interest in the project, with funding from overseas.
A delegation of 15 councillors from Fairtrade towns in Norway is planning a visit later this year, as