Blackpool Council wants to introduce bus lane enforcement cameras on part of Market Street, Church Street and Corporation Street.
The proposed area of enforcement of the new bus lane cameras in Blackpool town centre
The council is proposing to install the cameras, which will enforce restrictions between the hours of 10.30am and 6pm, on the corner of West Street behind the Municipal Buildings and on the corner of Market Street and Church Street, to deter drivers who flout the law by driving in areas designated for buses and taxis.
As part of ‘Making Blackpool Better’ plans, Corporation Street now has more space for buses to stop and wait, making it easier for passengers to connect with other services in the town centre. Recent work has included widening the road for safer access for buses and taxis, as well as improving the road and pavement surfaces.
If approved, the next phase of the plans would include the introduction of the cameras. Cabinet Member approval has been granted for the council to publish public notices in The Gazette. From the date the notices are placed (September 6), there is a minimum three-week consultation period during which any comments will be considered.
If installation proceeds, an initial grace period will be in place during which any unauthorised driver using the bus lanes will be issued with a warning letter rather than a fine.
As part of the plans, drivers who persist in using the bus lanes will be fined £60, reduced to £30, if paid within 14 days but increased to £90 if not pad after 28 days.
Coun Neal Brookes, Blackpool Council’s Cabinet Member for Enforcement, Public Safety, Highways and Transport, said: “ “The bus lanes are there to give priority for buses and introducing the cameras would help to ensure that everyone follows the rules, and the system works as it should.
“In the past, people have abused the bus lane by parking in taxi and bus bays. Hopefully the introduction enforcement cameras can provide a deterrent to any driver who is tempted to abuse the bus lane.”
The first fund-raising event in tribute to the late comedian Bobby Ball since lockdown has provided a bumper £19,000 boost towards the planned statue in his memory.
‘Bobby’s Brunch’ at Lytham’s Clifton Arms Hotel on Sunday proved so popular that Bobby’s widow Yvonne said it could have sold out twice over – and it ended up generating almost twice as much as the £10,000 Yvonne hoped night be raised for the statue appeal.
“I really can’t thank everyone enough,” said Yvonne,
“It was a wonderful success and a really memorable occasion, You could feel the love in the room.”
The brunch event at the Clifton Arms Hotel, Lytham, was a huge success
Artist chosen to sculpt Lytham statue of Bobby Ball
“We are delighted with how the appeal is going – and so grateful for everyone’s generosity,” added Yvonne. ”My thanks especially to Debbie and Mark Baxter, Deni Middleton and Debbie Wilkinson, who helped so much with the organisation of Sunday’s event.”
Bobby’s long-time partner in the legendary Cannon and Ball duet, Tommy Cannon, was among the audience on Sunday and at one stage joined Bobby’s sons, performers in their own right as The Harper Brothers, to sign a song which Yvonne described as “very moving”.
A host of performers, many based locally, were involved in the show in Bobby’s honour, which followed a meal.
Comedians Johnnie Casson and Phil Walker
They included locally-based comedian Phil Walker along with the likes of popular singer Paul Dobie and the group Flip, all giving their services free of charge to help the statue fund.
Phil said: “With the pandemic, it was the first opportunity for us to get together and pay tribute to Bobby and I was honoured to be involved.
“I have fond memories of watching Cannon and Ball from the wings when they played Blackpool when I was younger and I’m proud that my first major gig as a comedian was supporting them at Bournemouth.
“When I went into panto, Bobby had just moved to the area and was always ready with really valuable advice.
“He was a regular attender at our Woofers comedy nights at Lowther Pavilion and I really miss him.”
Bobby died last October, aged 76. Artist Ben Twiston-Davies has already been commissioned to sculpt the statue of him close to the Lowther Pavilion theatre, where he was a patron.
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Work to upgrade the historic front of the Grade II* listed Winter Gardens is set to proceed after being backed by heritage chiefs and council planners.
The scheme will see shop units in the Empress Buildings overlooking St John’s Square restored to as close as possible to their original state.
A council planning report said the investment seeks “to unify the existing ground floor frontage which at present is made up of a row of shop fronts which differ in design and appearance and do not relate well to the upper floors of the buildings.”
It is proposed to install new shopfronts using hardwood timber, with large windows and awnings “to achieve an active and open frontage”.
The Empress Buildings
The planning application, which was approved using delegated powers, was supported by the Blackpool Civic Trust, the Theatres Trust and the council’s own built heritage manager.
A statement from the Theatres Trust said : “The plans seek to revert the shopfronts which form part of the Winter Gardens complex back to a traditional style with hardwood timber frames which would unify them, as they are currently of contrasting and insensitive styles which detracts from the significance of the complex and the wider setting.
“The proposals do not impact on the operation and function of the theatre and performance spaces within the Winter Gardens and would enhance the buildings’ appearance and contribute towards efforts to revitalise the wider area.”
Funding for the work has come from the council’s £7.84m Quality Corridors project which is funded through the Growth Deal.
That includes the £2.3m Property Improvement Scheme which has helped upgrade the external appearance of more than 20 properties on Topping Street, Church Street, Talbot Road, Cedar Square, Deansgate and Edward Street.
The Empress Buildings were constructed in 1894 as four bays set either side of a wide central bay which formerly contained an arched entrance to the Empress Ballroom.
Members of a Fleetwood anti-paedophile group were cornered and allegedly attacked by angry locals as they apprehended a suspected predator.
The 56-year-old man was arrested ‘for arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence’.
Members of Fleetwood Enforcers UK, a self-proclaimed child protection organisation, were cornered by a mob in Coventry yesterday while carrying out a sting along with members of Children’s Voices, a similar group.
The group had arrived in the area to meet a 56-year-old man after it was alleged he had exchanged inappropriate online messages with an undercover volunteer who he thought was a 14-year-old child.
After confronting the man and calling the police, they were set upon by angry members of the public
Members of Fleetwood Enforcers UK and Children’s Voices formed a barrier between the mob and the man, who was suspected of a child sex offence
In a livestreamed video, at least three women and two men could be seen approaching the group, with one woman shouting ‘you can’t run, you can’t hide’.
They then cornered the Fleetwood Enforcers and Children’s Voices volunteers and the 56-year-old target, shouting abuse.
One woman could be heard shouting, “We’ve had loads of nonces on our street and we’re sick of it,” later adding, “I’m going to smash his head off a brick wall.”
Another man said: “We’ll get the car. They’re going to come up with their car and run you over. You’d better get out of the way.”
Volunteers tried to escort the suspect away from the growing crowds
Members of Children’s Voices begged for calm as they waited for police to arrive, but were accused of protecting the man, and scuffle was seen to break out.
Police then arrived and arrested the 56-year-old, who was later released on bail.
A West Midlands police spokesman said: “A 56-year-old man was arrested from an address in Coventry on August 22 for arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence. He has been released on police bail while our investigation continues.”
Following the incident, which was viewed online by hundreds of horrified people, the angry mob followed the volunteers as they returned to their van. One man threatened: “I’m going to get my dog to eat every single one of youse.”
Furious locals approach the group and the 56-year-old male suspect
Afterwards, a spokesman for Fleetwood Enforcers UK said: “We literally had to run to the van. We had a couple of fights on the way. Apparently they think we’re protecting this guy because we were getting him locked up. So some barmy a****** decided that he wanted to have a go. He certainly didn’t like the fact that I was eyeing him. He had to be pulled away several times. He’s busted the wing mirror…
“They came out with bottles. One guy had a screwdriver, I’m pretty sure. It looked like a screwdriver in his hand. It could have been keys. And they didn’t give a **** that we were there. They wanted him and they would have gone through us, and the fact that we wouldn’t let them – that was enough in their mind to come at us.”
A Children’s Voices volunteer said: “A couple of us have been assaulted, but… the sexual predator has been arrested. The whole team’s perfectly fine. It got a bit dangerous out there. We are all OK, it’s just a bit of a rowdy neighbourhood I guess.”
On its Facebook page, the Fleetwood group later blamed the incident on people giving out the location of the sting as it unfolded. They said: “Thank you for all the messages and concerns. I can confirm the team are safe.
A scuffle broke out when volunteers refused to hand the man over to the angry people
“They were assaulted and their vehicle was damaged, this is unacceptable, all due to individuals giving out (the) location. These people will be banned from our page and we are now considering our options regarding doing live stings.”
The woman had previously helped Frederick English when he was having a seizure himself
A man who sexually assaulted a woman as she was having a seizure has been sentenced to eight and a half years.
Frederick William English, 42, had been told to stay away from the woman due to a previous attack on her.
But when English, an alcoholic, spotted her in a supermarket in Blackpool he followed her and begged her to buy cider for him.
He later gave her friends a false name to worm his way into a social gathering in Blackpool, Preston Crown Court heard.
Inside the address, English told the woman he was unwell and needed to be sectioned. He asked her for a kiss but when she refused he pounced on her, and she felt her neck crack.
He grabbed her by the leg and began twisting it as if he was trying to break it, the court heard.
The woman managed to fight off her attacker, but then he fell to the floor he began having a seizure.
Despite the attack on her, the woman removed his teeth to prevent him from biting his tongue, but he put them back in and bit her hard on her hand, causing a nasty injury to her thumb.
As English began to come round from the seizure, the woman took herself to another room However her attacker followed her and climbed into bed with her.
She again challenged him, but felt herself begin to suffer a seizure.
At that point, English began to sexually assault her while she was on the floor. She was unable to push him away, due to the seizure.
As she jerked out of the seizure, she challenged him again, saying: “Do you know how disgusting what you have done is?”
The woman called an ex partner to come to help her and went to hospital where the injury to her hand was treated.
Judge Graham Knowles QC, sentencing, said: “Your violence on that occasion was something you persisted with when you had the opportunity to do it.
“It was a most unpleasant offence demonstrated by the fact that all ill was in your hands. You would do what you wanted to do and demonstrated all the contempt you had for her.”
He added: “She was having a seizure and far from offering the kind of help she offered you, you started to touch her… as she begged you to stop.
“It was a vile, disgusting, and extremely serious offence.”
The judge added that English, of Dickson Road, Blackpool, used physical and sexual violence towards the woman and has previous convictions for attacking women.
He said the defendant posed a risk to women and said he was a dangerous offender, warranting an extended sentence.
Judge Knowles QC handed down an eight and a half year sentence for sexual assault – made up of five and a half years custody with a three year extended period on licence.
He also sentenced him to 15 months concurrent for assault occasioning actual bodily harm (ABH) and a further three months concurrent for breaching a court order.
DC Isobel Garratt, of West CID, said: “English is a dangerous individual who subjected his victim to horrendous assaults to satisfy his own depraved sexual interests. The sentence handed down to English reflects the seriousness of his offending and I am pleased that he will continue to be monitored even after he is eventually released from prison.
“I would like to praise the victim in this case for the courage and bravery she has shown throughout the judicial process.
“I hope this case and its outcome will give other victims of sexual offending the confidence to come forward, knowing that we will listen to them and act on the information they provide.”
A St Annes chapel could become a storage and distribution warehouse after plans were lodged with Fylde Council.
The proposal is to use the former Queensway Chapel on Walter Avenue as a storage unit and distribution site for a rug import business.
The chapel itself has been vacant for 16 months after it stopped becoming a place of worship for local Methodists.
According to the documents submitted to Fylde Council planning officers, the small company that plans to buy and use the chapel want to make renovations to the building, which they are currently renting.
Queensway Chapel in St Annes
It states: “The chapel has stood empty for 16 months and though visited by current owners for essential maintenance , it is beginning to show signs of neglect on the residential face.
“We propose not to change this facade of the original chapel , only to improve it cosmetically with new replacement UPVC windows, repainting the fences and erecting a new decorative metal gate to create a safe area to the chapel side access.
“We import and sell hand made Persian rugs from France and Belgium. We also sell antiques and collectables. Our business is conducted 95 percent online and five percent at trade fairs.”
The documents show that if approved, the front chapel will become storage for carpets and other stock, which will be shelved The rear hall will also be used for storage and taking photographs of stock.
The statement added: “We are not a retail establishment and thus need mainly storage and distribution. We make no noise and create no disturbance and I feel our impact on the area will only be positive.
“We are currently renting property but the building needs severe improvement and we are now in a position to buy. The chapel is highly unlikely to be purchased again for a place of worship and we feel our proposal has the best chance of maintaining its character and having minimal impact on the surrounding tenants and residents.”
The plans will now be considered before the planning officials at the council.