Garstang is an ancient market town in mid Lancashire in the north west of England. It has a current electorate of 3,500.
The town’s history stretches as far back as the Domesday book and beyond when it was spelled “Cherestanc”.
For centuries Garstang, situated between the much larger communities of Preston and Lancaster, has been the hub of the wider agricultural community. A market with a heritage dating back to the Stuart period and earlier continues to be held every Thursday.
Garstang has its own town council, which runs this website. The council has 12 members and employs a clerk and a lengthsman. The council’s powers are limited but it keeps a close watching brief on many issues, including planning, highways, policing, etc..A parish precept is levied to fund the council’s spending.
The town council took over from the former Garstang Parish Council in 1974, when English local government was re-organised. At that time the council voted to take “town” status, which meant Garstang has a mayor rather than a parish council chairperson.
Garstang is a part of Wyre district, which is run by Wyre Council based at Poulton-le-Fylde. Wyre is a district of Lancashire, which is run by Lancashire County Council whose headquarters are at Preston. Most public services in Garstang are provided by the borough or county council.
Garstang has three councillors on Wyre Council (the Garstang ward comprising Garstang, Nateby and Cabus).
Garstang has one councillor on Lancashire County Council (Garstang division includes Garstang and several of the surrounding parishes).
The town is part of the Wyre and Preston North parliamentary constituency.
Garstang’s “claims to fame” include being
- the world’s first Fairtade town (from the year 2000)
- a regular winner of the Britain in Bloom and North West in Bloom awards,
- being winner of the Entente Florale Europe in 2008 (which designated the town as one of the most environmentally-friendly in Europe).
The 1960s witnessed a building boom in Garstang with several bungalow estates being constructed. There has been on-going housing development since then, with the most recent estates being to the north of the town.
Public facilities in Garstang include a library (Windsor Road), sports/leisure centre (Windsor Road), swimming pool (Oak Road) and health centre (Kepple Lane). A recycling facility is in the nearby parish of Claughton (Brockholes Way).
The town has a thriving commercial centre, with many independent shops as well as regional and national chains.
Garstang has several churches: St Thomas (CE), Methodist (Park Hill Road), Free Methodist (Windsor Road) and United Reformed Church (Croston Road). Just to the south of the town at Bonds there is a Catholic church (SS Mary and Michael) and a Quaker Meeting House at Calder House Lane, Bowgreave.
There are numerous social, voluntary and artistic organisations, many of which are centred on Garstang Arts Centre.
Among many popular events organised annually are the Garstang Children’s Festival, Garstang Agricultural Show and Garstang Victorian Festival.