Patients urged to find another doctor as Blackpool GP surgery closes

Home | Blackpool Gazette

People at a Blackpool town centre GP practice have been asked to register elsewhere following the decision to close the surgery.


Elizabeth Street Surgery will close its doors on Friday, October 29 2021 after the practice’s managing partners gave up their contract to provide general practice services earlier this year.

The 4,500 registered patients have all been contacted and given details of the nearest GP practices available to them. The partners at Adelaide Street Family Practice have been acting as caretakers at the practice.

Nick Medway, deputy director of nursing and quality for NHS Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “We want to reassure all people registered with Elizabeth Street Surgery that our priority is to make sure they have continued access to high quality GP services.

The Elizabeth Street GP surgery, which is closing in OctoberThe Elizabeth Street GP surgery, which is closing in October

“All the practices in Blackpool are taking new patients and they are able to choose one that is most convenient for them.

GP patient survey: the best rated doctor’s surgeries in Blackpool as voted by pa…

The nearest GP practices to Elizabeth Street are Adelaide Street Family Practice and South King Street Medical Centre, which are half a mile away, and St Paul’s Medical Centre, which is 1.1 miles away in Dickson Road.

The CCG, which plans and buys healthcare services for the town, will also host drop-in sessions for anyone with questions or concerns about the closure. Assistance will also be available for anyone needing support to complete GP registration forms.

These will take place on:

• Tuesday, August 17, 10am to noon;

• Thursday, August 19, 1pm to 3pm;

• Tuesday, August 24, 10am to noon;

• Thursday, August 26, 1pm to 3pm.

Blackpool and St Annes traffic delays following car and motorbike crash

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A crash between a motorcyclist and the driver of a car is causing traffic delays in Blackpool.


Blackpool Police are warning motorists to avoid the are around Common Edge Road with the the junction of Queensway and Division Lane.

A police spokesman said the crash happened at around 1.50pm and a car and motorbike were involved.

The spokesman said: “The motorcyclist is believed to have suffered a suspected leg injury but his condition is not believed to be serious and a ambulance has been sent out.

Police are at the scene on QueenswayPolice are at the scene on Queensway

“The crash has happened on Queensway close to a busy Blackpool junction so we are asking motorists to avoid the area currently.”

Motorists are being warned of traffic delaysMotorists are being warned of traffic delay

St Annes Enterprise Partnership changes constitution to step out on its own

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A Fylde traders’ organisation which has been closely connected to St Annes Town Council since its launch more than five years ago is striking out on its own.


The key step forward for the St Annes Enterprise Partnership, popularly known as STEP, comes following the demise of the Government-backed Coastal Communities Alliance, under which it was founded early in 2016.

Later that year, after initially being established to promote and improve all aspects of the town, it also took on the mantle of the St Annes Chamber of Trade, when that folded, to become the town’s representative organisation for traders.

To help make the change as smooth as possible, the Town Council is supporting STEP financially with an initial £3,500 grant and more backing to follow in future years.

The launch of the St Annes Enterprise Partnership in 2016The launch of the St Annes Enterprise Partnership in 2016

Partnership takes a big STEP forward

The switch coincides with the imminent departure of mots recent STEP chairman Colin Ballard, who is leaving the area.

He said: “The Coastal Communities’ Fund no longer exists and that was the umbrella for St Annes Enterprise Partnership.

“At the AGM, I outlined a brief background and explained how STEP was now to become an autonomous group, business orientated and voting a committee accountable to the membership.

“I urged for a positive stance regarding progression for the town and wished them all well.”

St Annes Town Council’s town clerk Kevin Martin said: “STEP has for a number of years been supported by Town Council through the provision of dedicated administrative capacity.

“Until its annual meeting, the STEP board had consisted of several representatives from both Fylde Borough and St Annes Town Councils. More recent meetings had seen council representation making up nearly 60 per cent of those attending.

“Therefore, in looking to assist STEP to become more autonomous, St Annes Town Council has agreed to provide a core grant of £3,500 in the current financial year and given an undertaking for funding in future years.

“Having now approved a new constitution, STEP will have only one councillor on its board from each of the Fylde and St Annes Town Councils. All other board members will have a business interest in the town.

“It is hoped that this new approach will give STEP the freedom to encourage even more business owners to join and thus make STEP a much more business-led organisation.

“The Town Council looks forward to working with STEP in the future to deliver initiatives benefiting residents, businesses, visitors, and the community generally in St Annes.”


This is how the former JR Taylor store in St Annes would look, if plans approved

Plans to transform the former JR Taylor department store in St Annes into a spa, restaurant, bar and hotel have been welcomed with eager anticipation by civic and trade leaders.


The building at the corner of St Annes Square and Garden Street has been empty for almost seven years, since JR Taylor closed its doors in January 2015 after more than a century of trading.

The application, submitted by Corbenyah Properties Limited to Fylde Council planners, is for a change of use from retail and offices to mixed use and proposes a spa in the basement level, a restaurant and bar at ground floor, and a four-suite hotel on the second floor.

It also details plans for medical treatment and massage rooms on the first floor as well as a roof top bar on the third floor.

How the building would look from St Annes Square if the plans go aheadHow the building would look from St Annes Square if the plans go ahead

Hope that new lease of life for former store is Taylor-made to help boost St Ann…

“The proposal will enhance the appearance of St Annes by complementing the existing surroundings and historical features by providing a high-quality architectural design and will set the path for future investment and development in St Annes.”

Fylde Council leader Coun Karen Buckley said: “The submission of a planning application for JR Taylors has been long-awaited and is most welcome.

Coun Karen Buckley added: “The redevelopment of this site is just what St Annes needs post-pandemic and will give the town a real boost.

The proposed view from Garden StreetThe proposed view from Garden Street

“This flagship store has been much missed by locals and visitors alike who see its reinvention as vital to the town’s survival.

“Given the significance of this building, a lot of preparatory work has been done to advise on planning requirements and I’m grateful to Fylde Council’s regeneration team for their engagement with the agent ahead of the application being submitted.”

Coun Gavin Harrison, chairman of St Annes Town Council and also a Fylde councillor for Ashton ward, which includes the premises, said: “This is potentially an exciting opportunity to redevelop this iconic building and kick start the regeneration of St Annes.

“Obviously there is a long way to go and the planning committee will need to study the details of the application closely but this is just the kind of forward thinking proposal the town needs.

The rooftop bar planned as part of the proposed developmentThe rooftop bar planned as part of the proposed development

“Hopefully we will be able to attract other developers with similarly attractive proposals to make St Annes a destination of choice for many years to come.”

Fylde MP Mark Menzies said: “I am pleased to see the plans finally lodged for the former JR Taylor in St Annes.

“This is a key site and it is incredible to see this level of investment and confidence in the town. An investment of this size will also attract further schemes in the town.

“There have been a number of new shops open in St Annes recently and I want to see a concerted effort to get more investment in the town centre.

A view of the planned entrance to the barA view of the planned entrance to the bar

“We must redevelop the spaces above the shops which are sitting empty.

“If we convert those spaces into homes and offices, those residents and workers will use the town centre and further boost its economy.”

Colin Ballard, chairman of the St Annes Enterprise Partnership, said: “JR Taylor was a major feature of St Annes and this planning proposal sees a new, dynamic, expansive and innovative submission for that building and this town.

“If you agree then say so – let’s stop being negative in objecting and give our town a dynamic move forward.”

If approved, the changes would mean the installation of a glazed enclosure and third floor extension to the corner turret; replacing the existing hipped roof with a glazed flat roof and curved canopy for the roof top bar; alterations to the ground floor to create new entrances as well as first and second floor balconies to the side.

It is thanks to our loyal readers that we can continue to provide the trusted news, analysis and insight that matters to you. For unlimited access to our unrivalled local reporting, you can take out a subscription here and help support the work of our dedicated team of reporters.

Another view of the barAnother view of the bar


Fleetwood dad admits attacking his son with a hammer in paranoid drunken rage

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A paranoid dad attacked his eldest son with a hammer believing he was involved with his girlfriend, a court has heard.


David Clarke, 45, of Kemp Street, Fleetwood, burst into the bathroom of their home on the evening of August 20 last year

Prosecuting, Verity Quaite said the raging dad ordered him to “open the f***ing door” and shouted: ” I’m going to smash your head with this hammer” before barging in and attacking him.

A younger teenager tried to help the victim as Clarke shouted get out of my f***ing house.

Crown CourtCrown Court

The victim suffered injuries to his hips and lower back and attended A and E, but medcis found he had no fractures.

Police arrested Clarke the next day and he made no comment.

Father accused over ‘acid attack’ on son, three, will stand trial next month
Miss Quaite added: “This could be deemed to be a highly dangerous weapon. There has been a substantial impact psychologically and emotionally on the victim.

Clarke, who has three convictions for four offences including battery in 1996, admits causing actual bodily harm.

In a victim impact statement the young man, who moved in with his grandma after the attack, said he was “frightened to death” of his dad, who he had also worked with, and didn’t think he could trust him again.

But defending, David Traynor said: ” I am instructed that relations have been restored. He is now living in his own accomodation but they are in touch.

“Mr Clarke has sorted out his alcohol and drug use.

“He is a working man in a full time, strenuous job.

Recorder Michael Blakey imposed a community order with a rehabilitation requirement.

He said: ” The victim was in fact your son and you, simply because you were in drink or drugs, became paranoid about your girlfriend, thinking your son had something to do with her, and you let rip with a hammer causing him injury.

“Fortunately he managed to get away. Goodness knows what would’ve happened had he not – you may have been in the dock here for far more serious offences.

“Your pre sentence report indicates how embarrassed and ashamed you are about how you behaved on that occasion and how sorry you are about what you did to your son.

“What is pleasing is you recognised the difficulties you labour under and you, for the last 12 months, have been clean and sober in that you sought help from your GP and also had help from a substance misuse team.”

He made a deprivation order for the hammer.


Bargain retailer B&M Stores finally confirms it will open next to new Bispham Aldi supermarket

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Discount retailer B&M Stores confirmed it would be opening a new store in Bispham, despite previously saying was “not on their list.”


Work is progressing at a new Aldi supermarket unit in Holyoake Avenue, Bispham, which is set to open sometime in Autumn, according to the retailer.

But plans submitted to Blackpool Council also showed the 20,000sq ft retail space, formerly a Poundstretcher store, would be divided into two separate units with rumours circulating that one would be occupied by discount store B&M Stores.

The Gazette asked B&M whether it had earmarked the unit for a new store, but it denied the rumours in February – and then again in March – saying “it was not on their list.”

Discount retailer B&M Stores has confirmed it will be opening a unit in Bispham next to a new Aldi supermarket, which is currently under construction.Discount retailer B&M Stores has confirmed it will be opening a unit in Bispham next to a new Aldi supermarket, which is currently under construction.

However, the retailer has now confirmed the second unit will in fact become a new B&M store, although an opening date is yet to be confirmed.

A spokesman for B&M said: “We can confirm that we are due to open a store in Blackpool on Holyoake Avenue.

“We don’t have a confirmed opening date yet, however we expect this to be before Christmas.”

Last year, Aldi developers moved forward with their plans for Holyoake Avenue after they agreed to pay £30,000 to improve the busy junction with Bispham Road, Plymouth Road, and Warbreck Hill Road.

The car park is being overhauled to make it safer for pedestrians, and traffic would only be allowed to drive out from the farthest exit from the junction, documents revealed.


Blackpool Illuminations Switch On 2021: Brit Award nominee and X-Factor’s Ella Henderson plus Liverpool indie band The Wombats complete line-up

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Multi-platinum selling singer-songwriter Ella Henderson and Liverpool indie band The Wombats have been announced as the final stars to join the Illuminations Switch On line-up.


The acts complete the line-up brought in by Switch On organisers VisitBlackpool and MTV, who have joined forces to bring a host of stars together to kick off one of the resort’s biggest attractions.

The acts will be joining Queen of Latin and multi-winning world dance champion Shirley Ballas, who has competed at in the resort throughout her glittering career and will be the first-ever star in the history of the Lights event to pull the switch in the Blackpool Tower Ballroom.

The Wombats and Ella will perform on Friday September 3, along with KSI and Wes Nelson, in a concert that will be live-streamed to a global audience.

The Wombats, one of the biggest indie bands of the noughties, launched their music career 15 years ago and have released three top five UK albums since.

Their 2015 hit, Greek Tragedy, has attracted more than 30 million streams following its viral success on TikTok.

The band will also be taking second-to-top billing on the main stage at the Reading and Leeds Festivals later this summer.

Over the past nine years, Ella Henderson has emerged as one of the country’s brightest young music talents. By the age of 25, she had been nominated for two Brit Awards, landed a number one debut album and single, and reached more than a billion streams.

Brit Award nominee Ella Henderson has been announced as one of the latest stars to grace the Tower Ballroom at the Illuminations Switch On event this year. Pic: VisitBlackpoolBrit Award nominee Ella Henderson has been announced as one of the latest stars to grace the Tower Ballroom at the Illuminations Switch On event this year. Pic: VisitBlackpool

Now signed to Rudimental’s label, Major Toms, she continues to be one of the UK’s most in-demand writers and vocalists, and her platinum collaboration This Is Real with Jax Jones was one of last year’s most played songs.

The show will culminate in the switching on of the 2021 Illuminations display by the queen of ballroom, Shirley Ballas, the head judge on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, to trigger the start of an extended four-month display.

This year, the Illuminations Switch On will be hosted by TV and radio presenter Becca Dudley, and will be watched by an audience made up of winners of a free-to-enter ballot.

The show will also be live streamed across MTV and VisitBlackpool channels.

Liverpool band The Wombats have been announced as one of the latest stars to grace the Tower Ballroom at the Illuminations Switch On event this year. Pic VisitBlackpoolLiverpool band The Wombats have been announced as one of the latest stars to grace the Tower Ballroom at the Illuminations Switch On event this year. Pic VisitBlackpool

Last year, the streamed event attracted a global audience of more than a quarter of a million households.

Around 1,500 tickets will initially be available to join the live audience. The ballot has now closed and winners will be informed in the week commencing August 16.

The ticket allocation is being split equally between local residents and visitors.

The live stream will start at 8pm on Friday 3 September and can be viewed free of charge at:

Johnny Vegas remembers Murder On The Blackpool Express co-star Una Stubbs as ‘an absolute light’

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Johnny Vegas has remembered his Murder On The Blackpool Express co-star Una Stubbs as “an absolute light” following her death at the age of 84.


The actress, best known for roles in the film Summer Holiday, the BBC sitcoms Till Death Us Do Part and In Sickness And In Health, and as Mrs Hudson in Sherlock, died on Thursday in Edinburgh surrounded by her family.

One of her last roles was as Peggy in the 2017 TV film Murder on the Blackpool Express opposite Vegas, Sian Gibson, Sheila Reid and Nina Wadia.

Vegas told BBC Breakfast: “She had a massive impact in such a short space of time and was just the loveliest actor to work with.

“She was an absolute light, an absolute joy. And probably in that very special category of on paper I wouldn’t have expected us to be pals on set, but she had time for everyone, she loved everyone, she was an absolute joy.

“A natural instinct for comedy and one of those people when she spoke to you she had a genuine interest.

“When she asked questions she was interested in you, so you had all this fun on set and then all these wonderful conversations off set.

“The fact that all of us that worked with her were contacting each other going things like ‘Something wonderful has gone’.”

Sir Cliff Richard, who starred opposite Stubbs in Summer Holiday, previously paid tribute, saying: “She was the most exciting person to be with, she was funny, she could really do just about anything – act, dance, she could even sing.”

“Anyway, she has left us and all I want to say is I personally will miss her greatly and I know that our industry on the whole will also miss her greatly.

“Her talent, her joy, everything that she was will remain with us all. While we remember her, she will still be with us.”

Stubbs, who was born in Hertfordshire in 1937, had a career in film, television and theatre spanning decades, including a recent role as Mrs Hudson in the BBC’s Sherlock opposite Benedict Cumberbatch.

A statement from her family said: “Mum passed away quietly today with her family around her, in Edinburgh. We ask for privacy and understanding at this most difficult and sad of times.”

Her agent Rebecca Blond said: “We are desperately sad to have lost not only a wonderful actress, whose screen and stage career, spanning over 50 years, was so extraordinarily varied, from Till Death Us Do Part to Sherlock, as well as memorable performances in the West End, at the Old Vic, Donmar Warehouse, Sheffield Crucible and National Theatre, but also a wickedly funny, elegant, stylish, graceful, gracious and kind and constant friend.

“She was also a highly respected and exhibited artist. We will miss her enormously and remember her always.”

Other well-known television roles included Aunt Sally in Worzel Gummidge and Miss Bat in The Worst Witch, as well as a role in the Fawlty Towers episode The Anniversary.

She first appeared on screen in the 1950s in series such as Benny Hill and Rush Hour.

After her turn as Sandy in Summer Holiday, she appeared in Sir Cliff’s next film Wonderful Life and later in his BBC TV series It’s Cliff Richard!

For several years, she was a team captain in the weekly game show Give Us A Clue in the 1980s and also made appearances in Heartbeat, Benidorm, Victoria Wood’s We’d Quite Like To Apologise, The Catherine Tate Show and Agatha Christie’s Marple.

She also played Caroline Bishop in the BBC soap EastEnders and more recently appeared in The Durrells, Call The Midwife and Midsomer Murders.

In addition to her work as an actress, Stubbs was also a keen amateur painter who had her work displayed at the Royal Academy in London.

Stubbs was married to actor Peter Gilmore from 1958 to 1969, with whom she adopted son Jason, and then married Nicky Henson in 1969, before they split in 1975.

The couple had two sons, Joe and Christian, both of whom are composers.

Christian wrote on Twitter: “Some of you may have known her as Rita, as Sally as Bat or Hudson but to my two brothers and I she was known as Mum.

“Thanks for everything Mum RIP.”

Sherlock co-star Cumberbatch labelled Stubbs “a wonderful, talented, stylish, gentle, joyous and honest friend”.

In a statement to the PA news agency, he added: “A joy to work with, to laugh with and to make laugh. So humble and yet so damn good.

“She lit up the room and will be sorely missed by all who were lucky enough to know her, but she will be remembered forever with fondness and love.”


Polish Spitfire on show at Blackpool Airport

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A Spitfire flown by a Second World War Polish fighter ace has landed in Blackpool after a delay caused by the pandemic.


The Mark V Spitfire is on display at the Hangar 42 aviation museum at Blackpool Airport this weekend after flying in for a special visit.

The aircraft, P8331 Sumatra, is painted in the colours of Wing Commander Piotr Laguna, who was stationed in Blackpool in the early days of the war after escaping from his native Poland when the Nazis over ran the country in 1939.

He and other Polish airman who escaped the German Blitzkrieg, trained at Squires Gate before joining RAF squadrons to fight against the Luftwaffe which had been bombing Britain during the Battle of Britain.

A Polish Spitfire painted in the colours of a WW2 hero based in Blackpool is on display at Hangar 42. Pictured is volunteer Paul Lomax.A Polish Spitfire painted in the colours of a WW2 hero based in Blackpool is on display at Hangar 42. Pictured is volunteer Paul Lomax.

Piotr had been a bomber pilot in Poland fighting the Nazis and after his escape, he eventually assumed command of A Flight of 302 Squadron, the first Polish fighter squadron in the RAF.

A year later he was Commanding Officer of the First Polish Fighter Wing (303,306,308 Squadrons) based at RAF Northolt.

Sadly on June 27, 1941, Piotr was lost to anti-aircraft fire in a daring sortie whilst attacking a German airfield in Coquelles, just outside of Calais.

Dave Harvey, Pilot of the Polish Heritage Flights Spitfire and Hawker Hurricane collection will be hosting a number of meet and greet sessions at the Spitfire Visitor Centre, Blackpool Airport.

Volunteer Paul Lomax takes a close look at the aircraft.Volunteer Paul Lomax takes a close look at the aircraft.

The aircraft was due to visit in June, but the extension of lockdown restrictions meant the event had to be delayed.

The 90 minute sessions, include a welcome and tea and coffee, a meet the Pilot session in which Dave will talk about the Polish Heritage Flight, the Aircraft he flies and about the Spitfire, plus a walk around the aircraft and pre flight checks etc with a chance to look in cockpit.

There will also be a brief guided tour of Hangar 42 from its knowledgeable volunteer team.

John Coombes from Hangar 42 said: “We are delighted to have such a close working relationship with the Polish Heritage Flight and hope that they will feature in our future plans to expand the Spitfire Visitor Centre as an educational centre, with these iconic warbirds at its centre.

Inside Hangar 42Inside Hangar 42

“RAF Squires Gate played a major role in training RAF personnel during WW2, with all Polish RAF Squadrons being formed in Blackpool, before deployment, this visit is a fitting tribute.”

Hangar 42 is open to the public every Saturday from 10am until 4pm and also also takes school visit bookings for September and beyond.

To take part in the special Polish Spitfire events this Sunday visit the Facebook page to book tickets in advance:


Blackpool’s council boss reflects on running the town ‘from her kitchen’ during Covid

Home | Blackpool Gazette

The individual chosen to lead Blackpool Council usually operates out of a smart office in Bickerstaffe House with a sweeping view across the resort.


But not so Coun Lynn Williams.

Having been elected council leader in July last year, she describes herself as ‘leading from the kitchen’.

It’s a reference to the fact that like many of us for the past year or more, she has been working from home.

Coun Lynn WilliamsCoun Lynn Williams

Taking stock on her first 12 months in the role, she remarks all her time in charge has been during the Covid pandemic.

So when asked what the biggest challenge has been during her first year in office, it’s difficult to know where to start.

She said: “Being the leader effectively from my kitchen presents different challenges, but we have all had that.

“The main challenge has been our Covid response, but also that everything else continued as well.

Plans for new housing include development at Grange ParkPlans for new housing include development at Grange Park

“I’m particularly proud of Children’s Services where we have made significant progress with Ofsted and the children’s commissioner, with the Secretary of State saying our services no longer needed to be run by the children’s commissioner.

“Now coming out of Covid we have to focus on our young people as they have been disproportionately impacted. ”

While multi-million pound regeneration projects are popping up all over the town centre, for Coun Williams it’s also about getting ‘stuff done’ that means a lot of residents.

She said: “One of the reasons I became a councillor is because my eldest daughter said ‘there’s not much going on here’.

“I want to make it better for everyone who lives here – and that means things like cleaner streets and a better environment which is stuff that matters to residents.

“It Stops Here (a movement to create safer environments for women) is really important because I want Blackpool to be safer, and if it’s safe for women and children then it’s a safe place for everyone.

“Good housing is also key to community resilience and kids even do better at school if they live in better housing.

“And we’re on with that. We have plans to deliver new housing. It’s a basic right for people and families to have good housing and I’m determined to provide that.

“I’m also pleased we haven’t waited on our commitment to tackling climate change. We got on and held our climate change conference despite Covid and have made it a high priority.”

But Coun Williams knows tourism is still one of the big jobs at the town hall, and she has taken the step of adding that responsibililty to her own role as leader.

She said: “It’s great to see people coming back to the town and we have been successful in getting our conference centre built and attracting funding through the Town Deal.

“But we can’t rest on our laurels, we have to carry on. It’s really important coming out of Covid that we are still really out there.

“The conference centre will be the biggest change in the town centre in my lifetime.

“Even though we have not had the major political conferences here for a while, people do want to come here and I’m confident we’ll see them return.

“I’m seeing lots of confidence in Blackpool with new businesses opening in the town centre. You only have to look at the Hotel Indigo plan for the former Post Office building on Abingdon Street to see that.

“But it’s not just about regeneration – I want Blackpool to be a great place to live, to improve facilities for young people, have more greener areas.

“I know that’s what people want because it’s important to me too as it’s my home town.”