A garden centre on the edge of Blackpool looks set to be redeveloped for affordable housing.
Breck Homes has applied to Fylde Council for planning permission to build 65 new homes on a site off Cropper Road currently occupied by The Garden Place.
The site is also home to the Dahlia’s Kitchen eaterie, a handful of small stores including pet supplies, storage and stables.
But the scheme would also include a small retail centre with space for a convenience store and two other units, one of which is described a suitable for cafe use.
The Garden Place
A design statement accompanying the applicaton says: “The site constitutes part of an identified housing allocation within a strategic location for development, within which Local Plan policy also seeks a local retail centre.
“It is within an area of transition, already featuring new build residential development and with more in the pipeline which will surround the site.
“The garden centre use on this previously developed land will therefore become increasingly incongruous, whereas the proposed development will make efficient use of the site to make a significant contribution to affordable housing supply, featuring smaller, affordable units.
“It will also satisfy the council’s aspiration for local shops to increase the sustainability of the location. Provision for pedestrian and cycle connectivity will maximise the benefits of these.”
The site on Cropper Road
It is proposed to build 12 one or two bedroom apartments, 21 two bedroom houses and 32 three bedroom houses which would be “100 per cent affordable, with a flexible mix of affordable rent, rent to buy and shared ownership”.
Cropper Road has already seen a number of extensive housing developments built but there are no shops in walking distance, with the developer saying “the growth in housing development within the vicinity reinforces the need for more local provision.”
The applicant adds the scheme would provide homes for workers from both Blackpool and Fylde and help meet Fylde’s annual need for 249 affordable homes.
The visitor centre at Stanley Park has reopened for the first time in 18 months after being shut since the first lockdown in March last year.
Four of the Friends of Stanley Park who volunteer in the centre from left Carol Lee, Lynn Patterson, Jacqui Veazey and Gill Howard.
Volunteers from the Friends of Stanley Park are back manning the council-owned centre while events and groups including the dog club are back in place.
The relaunch has been marked with an exhibition by the Blackpool Boys and Girls Club craft club with the centre open Thursday to Sunday.
The traditional Macmillan Coffee Morning will be held on the weekend of September 25 and 26, Blackpool Civic Trust art competition and exhibition from September 23, and events for Hallowe’en on October 30 and 31.
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Nigel Patterson, chairman of the Friends of Stanley Park, said: “We are finally back after nearly 18 months.
“It has been a long hard pull to the new world but we are here now. We need to seize the opportunities it presents and make our organisation ready for the future and the inevitable challenges we will face.
“We need to look how we can do more to attract visitors to the park as well as serve our local community better .
“We have seen a huge growth in visitor numbers and need to build on this to ensure the park continues for the next 100 years and we leave a great positive legacy for the future by having a more vibrant Park community.”
Blackpool event lights up the sky with countries set to battle it out to be world champions
The World Firework Championships in Blackpool started with a literal bang as the Russian team wowed thousands lined up to watch the display.
The Russians were the first to perform with Ireland, Germany and a celebratory display coming at fortnightly events in September and October.
Blackpool was buzzing with another high profile event following on from the switch on for the extended 2021 illuminations season.
The event was cancelled in 2020 due to the impact of the pandemic.
Advice form the Visit Blackpool page states: “Please note that due to the popularity of the World Fireworks Championship Blackpool, there may be traffic delays arriving and leaving the event.
World Firework Championships 2021: Russian team wows Blackpool
“Take extra time to arrive and would suggest if travelling by car to park in the southern car parks and use the tramway to travel to the event. Alternative public transport via the rail systems and buses are also recommended.”
There is a warning that traffic in the area can be difficult during the events due to the popularity and number of visitors.
The Irish team will now perform on September 25, the German team on October 9 and the final event will be on October 23. Events aim to start at 7.30pm.
A Blackpool woman was left stunned after car thieves tricked a towing company into hauling away her Ford EcoSport from the street outside her home.
The 21-year-old, who has asked not to be named, found her car had vanished from outside her house in Jeffrey Square yesterday afternoon (Tuesday, September 7).
The young woman was able to get her hands on a neighbour’s CCTV footage and was shocked to see her beloved EcoSport being towed away at around 1.45pm.
In the footage, two men – one driving the low-loader and another in a white Transit van – can be seen casually winching her yellow EcoSport onto the back of the recovery truck before driving away.
In the footage, two men – one driving the low-loader and another in a white Transit van – can be seen casually winching her yellow EcoSport onto the back of a recovery truck before driving away with it
The woman reported the brazen theft to police and shared the footage on Facebook in a desperate bid to find her car.
Luckily, it didn’t take long before she was reunited with her stolen Ford.
In a bizarre twist, the man who was paid to tow her car away spotted her social media appeal and rushed back to her home to explain what had happened.
He told he had been tricked into moving her car by the man in the Transit van, who had told him the Ford was his and it needed taking to a garage 9 miles away for repairs.
The car’s owner, a 21-year-old woman from Jeffrey Square, Blackpool, has now been reunited with her stolen Ford EcoSport
She said: “He told me he had been paid by the man in the white van to take the car to his unit.
“The man had told him, “it’s my car and I’ve locked the keys inside and I need to take it to my garage to sort it”.
“So they loaded it up and took it to the unit. All the time, this gentleman driving the low-loader is thinking he is just doing his job.
“Well thanks to the power of Facebook, the man realised it was a stolen car and immediately showed up at my house to tell me he knew where it was and could take me to it.
“And he did just that. He drove me there to get my car back and it was parked right there outside a unit at Braithwaites Yard Business Park in Warton, near Lytham.
“He honestly had no idea he was being paid to take my car away. But we still don’t know who the man in the white van is who paid for it.
“I’d love to know who he is and how he thinks he can get away with this.”
The incident is being investigated by Lancashire Police and the force has been approached for comment.
The 21-year-old added: “I’d like to say thank you so much to everyone involved in helping me get back my car back, including the man with the tow truck.
“Honestly, the amount of support and help I’ve had from the community is overwhelming and I could never have done it alone.”
Blackpool is set to invest £2m updating its CCTV system in order to boost public safety including from any potential future terrorism threat.
The council is proposing to almost quadruple the number of cameras monitoring the town centre and Promenade from 92 to 346, and create a new Command and Control Centre.
Cameras would have 360 degree vision while more than 100 speakers are being attached to CCTV columns capable of delivering public safety messages.
A report to the council’s executive says the Manchester Arena bombing inquiry had highlighted the need for stronger systems to protect the public and manage large public events.
The current control room will be moved
The CCTV centre will be moved from the defunct Bonny Street police station to Municipal Buildings on Corporation Street, enabling the resort to have an incident coordinaton centre.
This could be used by different agencies including the council and police to “manage and coordinate large events and borough-wide major incidents.”
It would also help the council meet expected new legislation to ensure the public are “protected from terrorist attacks and ensure organisational preparedness”.
Initial findings from the Manchester Arena Inquiry in June this year also “highlighted a number of failings and lessons learned with regard to
Many cameras are now out of date
security” including in relation to CCTV.
The executive report adds: “Whilst these lessons are for a different environment the principles of the lessons identified should be considered in relation to CCTV, especially with the council hosting major events such as concerts, air shows and the World Fireworks Championships.”
It was revealed last December that Blackpool’s CCTV system needed a major overhaul due to the technology becoming obsolete.
The executive report warns: “A great deal of equipment and screens within the control room are coming to the end of their natural life”.
It is proposed to replace most of the existing 92 cameras and provide a further 254 cameras, which would result in Blackpool’s core CCTV system having 346
updated cameras in total.
Updated technology would improve the quality of images captured and enable police and enforcement officers to access them more quickly.
It is also proposed bo buy a mobile CCTV unit linked to the new control room for use at events, hot spot areas and for emergency incidents.
Monitoring would be carried out by council enforcement officers and volunteers, with more volunteers expected to be added to the roster.
Coun Tony Williams, leader of the Conservative group on the council and who has previously criticised the level of CCTV coverage in the town, welcomed the proposed investment.
But he added: “Installing new cameras and improved monitoring will only pay dividends if combined with other factors that need implementing such as improved lighting, increased security personnel and user friendly car parks.
“I think its also important to realise that not all crime is conducted in the town centre. Recently there has been a huge surge in residential crime and certain neighbourhoods need to be monitored and protected in any crime reduction schemes.”
And he warned against becoming “a Big Brother society under constant surveillance” saying CCTV should be “just one of the tools in the box”.
Dave Blacker, chairman of the Talbot ward PACT (police and community together) also welcomed the proposals.
He said: “I think the vast majority of our Talbot PACT members will be delighted with the planned investment in CCTV.
“It worked to reduce crime before in our town and it can work again. Clearly if you are going about your lawful business you have nothing to fear.”
The £2m investment would be drawn from various pots of capital spending in the town centre, while an additional £100,000 is proposed to be set aside to meet support costs such as recruitment and training.
The executive is due to consider the recommendations when it meets on Monday September 13. If the scheme goes ahead, it is expected to take around 12 months to implement.
A bid is also being made to the Government’s £25m Safer Streets Fund aimed at improving the safety of women and girls in public spaces following the killing of Sarah Everard in London in March this year.
Consultation has taken place with women in Blackpool to be part of the new CCTV project, including helping to monitor and identify potentially dangerous behaviour.
Since the CCTV control room opened, more than 2,000 evidence discs have been produced to help tackle crime.
* 550 in relation to assault;
* 300 in relation to theft;
* 700 in relation to begging and anti-social behaviour;
* 750 in relation to drug dealing, missing persons, vandalism, road traffic accidents, arson, slip, trips and falls, suicides, sexual assaults, rogue traders and fly-tipping.
History of CCTV in Blackpool
The town’s CCTV camera system, launched in 2001, had cost in the region of £1.5m to set up, and in 2009 it was costing £600,000 a year to operate.
Cameras were monitored round-the-clock seven days a week until cuts were made in 2011, and the number of CCTV operators was reduced from 11 to three as part of a £908,000 package of cuts covering parking and CCTV.
Monitoring was reduced to Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
The council stopped monitoring its CCTV cameras in April 2013 as part of a package of savings which saw £187,600 slashed from the CCTV budget as part of total council cuts of £14.1m.
Live surveillance was reintroduced in November 2015, largely using teams of volunteers.
A High Court judge ruled in March last year that the club was “vicariously liable” for Roper’s actions as they were “so closely connected” with his relationship with the club.
However, in a ruling on Thursday (September 9), three Court of Appeal judges overturned that decision, concluding that the club should not be held responsible for the abuse perpetrated by Roper.
Blackpool FC have won an appeal over a £20,000 damages award it was ordered to pay to an aspiring footballer abused by a paedophile.
Lawyers representing DSN said they will bring a challenge at the Supreme Court in a bid to overturn the appeal judges’ ruling.
The High Court previously heard Roper, who died in 2005, sexually abused DSN and “many other young footballers during his time working as a scout” while recruiting players to Blackpool’s school of excellence – a “stepping stone” to signing a contract with the club.
Despite being convicted of indecent assaults against young males on four occasions before he abused DSN, Roper was said to have “the run of the place”, even entering Blackpool’s Bloomfield Road ground via the players’ entrance on match days.
At a trial in January last year, the court heard evidence from half a dozen men, including DSN, who were abused by Roper while training with Blackpool and Nova Juniors, a youth team run by Roper which acted as a “feeder club” and wore Blackpool’s distinctive tangerine colours.
One witness who was abused by Roper between the ages of 11 and 16, known only as CFS, said he told Blackpool’s youth coach Jack Chapman about the abuse, and was told a week later that “he had had a word with Roper and assured me that it would not happen again”.
Another witness, JKL, said he thought Roper’s abuse was “an open secret” at the club which first-team players would joke about.
The court also heard Roper was responsible for bringing in some of the club’s most financially lucrative players in the 1980s – some of whom attracted then record-breaking transfer fees, credited with saving the club from financial ruin.
In his ruling last year, Mr Justice Griffiths found that Blackpool was vicariously liable for Roper’s abuse of DSN, saying: “I am satisfied that Roper’s abuse of DSN on the New Zealand tour, and the New Zealand tour itself, were so closely connected with Roper’s relationship with Blackpool FC that it is just to hold Blackpool FC vicariously liable for it.”
He awarded DSN £17,000 in general damages, and an additional £2,000 to cover the cost of cognitive behavioural therapy.
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Blackpool had contested DSN’s claim, arguing the club was not liable for the abuse as Roper was not an employee and the claim was brought too long after the event.
The club challenged the decision, arguing the judge reached the wrong conclusions on both liability and on allowing the claim to go ahead after so many years had passed.
The Court of Appeal judges ruled in favour of the club on liability, but rejected the appeal on the delay.
Lord Justice Stuart Smith, who heard the appeal with Lady Justice Macur and Sir Stephen Richards, said: “On any view, Mr Roper’s ordinary course of scouting involved his operation of Nova Juniors and trying to spot talented youngsters who might be introduced to the Blackpool FC School of Excellence.
“That he took the opportunities that this role afforded him to ingratiate himself with club and players, and to groom and ultimately abuse children, does not provide any support for the suggestion that the trip was something that occurred in the normal course of his work for the club; nor does the fact that his association with the club may have reassured some parents who, for very good reason, had their doubts and suspicions about a trip that seemed too good to be true.”
In a statement, David McClenaghan, head of the abuse team at law firm Bolt Burdon Kemp, who acts in this and other football abuse cases, said: “We are very disappointed for our client with this setback, but fully intend to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court to ensure that he and other survivors have access to the justice they deserve.
“We maintain our view that all survivors of abuse at the hands of football scouts should be entitled to recompense from the clubs who relied so heavily on people such as Roper to feed players directly into their academies.”
He added: “A professional football club holds the hopes and aspirations of many young, talented players.
“That individuals can trade on the reputation of such clubs, in order to satisfy their own depraved desires, whilst the club gets the benefit of such relationships without taking any responsibility for such immoral and illegal actions, is hard to understand.”
A spokesman for Blackpool FC said: “Irrespective of the outcome, Blackpool Football Club strongly condemns and is utterly appalled by the actions of Frank Roper.
“Ensuring the safety, welfare and protection of all children involved in football is paramount, and we have dramatically progressed our safeguarding procedures since these events occurred.
“We continue to review and refine these on an ongoing basis, and will also continue to cooperate with the Football Association and its stakeholders to ensure the safety of children playing football at all levels.”