Blackpool’s only heated dog café named after owner’s French Bulldog

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

Doggy quarter pounders, scrambled eggs and sausages are among the many canine treats available at Caffe Chicco


Sign for Bubba's @ Caffe Chico, Blackpool
Sign for Bubba’s @ Caffe Chico, Blackpool (Image: LancsLive)

For those who haven’t noticed the giant puppy dog eyes staring out at them as they walk along Blackpool Promenade South, you may do now after we tell you that the dog pictured is a real dog and is often in there as ambassador of his owner’s business.

“Bubba”‘, as he is known, is the inspiration for the doggy café that is now housed within Caffe Chicco on South Shore.

Described as “Blackpool’s only heated dog café”, in Bubba’s café your four legged friends can not only come in with you but they can also eat from their own menu.

The specials include quarter pounder ‘n’ peas, chicken pieces ‘n’ carrots, two sausages, scrambled eggs, a bowl of biscuits and biscuits and milk.

Sweet treats include doggy muffins, cupcakes, popcorn and donuts.

The "Doggy" specials board
The “Doggy” specials board (Image: LancsLive)

Owner Lee Griffin told LancsLive: “The treats are actually made by my friend and are sold all over the country. We decided to introduce the dog café around 5 years ago but Caffe Chicco started around 14 years ago.

“As soon as we started the dog café we got about 20 dogs in at once and it’s taken off really well.

“They’re always well behaved, sometimes you get the odd little naughty boy but apart from that, they’re really good.

“You get some people who might think ‘oh I don’t want a dog in here, it might smell’ but they don’t and people without dogs love coming and seeing them.



Blackpool’s Britannia hotels hygiene ratings and when they were last inspected

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Norbreck Castle, the Metropole, Grand Hotel and the Savoy and their difference hygiene ratings


The Norbreck Castle Hotel in Blackpool
The Norbreck Castle Hotel in Blackpool (Image: LancsLive)

The Britannia hotels of Blackpool offer some of the most budget-friendly ways to stay in the resort for a night or two.

The group owns the Grand Hotel, Norbreck Castle, the Metropole and the Savoy in the resort and, if booked in advance, you can usually bag a room starting at around £37.

However, the hotels do come under criticism with Norbreck Castle and Metropole in particular entering the public eye and Britannia rarely taking the opportunity to publicly address those complaints.

The Metropole, on Princess Parade, has been subject to a row between Blackpool Council and the Home Office over plans to house asylum seekers in the venue.

The hotel has recently been inspected by the Food Standards Agency and Blackpool Council and is awaiting a new rating.

The previous inspection prior to this came on August 29, 2019 and resulted in the hotel being given a rating of one and being told that major improvement is necessary, particularly in the area of food safety.

In contrast to this, Norbeck Castle, arguably more complained about of the hotels covered here, received a five-star hygiene rating when inspected on January 14, 2019. It is considered to be ‘very good’ for food hygiene.

Over on Queens Promenade, the Savoy Hotel received a rating of four when it was inspected on October 25, 2018 and told that the standards found were generally considered to be good.

And The Grand, on the Promenade, also scores a full rating of five and is generally considered to have a very good hygiene.

That being said, the Food Standards Agency does not investigate issues such as cleanliness of the rooms or quality of the customer service – where many of the complaints are focused.

Norbreck Castle, in particular, has been called a ‘blot’ on the resort with the owners urged to invest by MP Scott Benton.

Speaking to LancsLive, he said: “Unfortunately there are a number of providers which continue to let Blackpool down which doesn’t just reflect poorly on those hotels and chains but on the resort as a whole.”

“I would plead with them to take every step they possibly can to invest in these hotels.

“From my point of view it’s hurting the resort.

“The last thing we need when people are staying in the UK are some of these stories of holidaymakers having an awful time in Blackpool. That’s something we need to address.”

Blackpool Council has added its voice to the many calling for change. The authority has urged accommodation to ‘aspire’ to nationally-recognised accreditation standards.

A Blackpool Council spokesperson said: “The Council works extremely hard to encourage accommodation businesses to aspire to nationally-recognised accreditation standards. Six years ago, through our VisitBlackpool tourism arm, we developed and launched the Blackpool Approved standard in association with VisitEngland.

“That entry level scheme provides hoteliers with the ability to obtain a nationally-recognised standard at an affordable price and gives an assurance to prospective guests that the accommodation they are considering is safe, clean and legally compliant. We will continue to work with the sector to promote quality standards.

“At the same time, we will continue to investigate and, where necessary, enforce against poor operators who do not conform to acceptable standards.”



Blackpool’s ‘rocket tram’ revisited as pressure mounts for it to return

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The tram is still in storage awaiting restoration, with many calling for it to return to return to Blackpool’s seafront


People are calling for the return of The Burnley Building Society "rocket tram" from the '80s and '90s
People are calling for the return of The Burnley Building Society “rocket tram” from the ’80s and ’90s (Image: Blackpool Heritage Trams)

A recent reminder of a once popular illuminated Blackpool tram has prompted hundreds of responses on social media with people sharing their memories and asking for its return.

A picture of the ‘rocket tram’, sponsored by Burnley Building Society, was post on the Facebook of tourism page ‘I Love Blackpool’ prompting hundreds to react to the nostalgic gem.


The tram provided a unique experience for thousands of passengers from the 1980s to 1999 who travelled at an elevation of almost 30 degrees.

Two redundant waxworks from the old Louis Tussauds museum – King Peter of Yugoslavia and General Neguib of Egypt – were dressed as astronauts to ‘pilot’ the cockpit.

The sloping floor combined with a high passenger load meant that there were concerns raised of running it safely. However despite these challenges, it seems that the public want the vintage vehicle to return.

Kayleigh Bainton commented to say: “Bring it back but don’t have passengers on it just have it go up and down a few times a night for nostalgia.”

Paul Routley said: “Bring back the ROCKET, I remember the rocket as the most anticipated tram on the tracks, always the one to look out for.

“So glad it was not sold off, or dismantled, even the sight of it parked on the Island always gave you hope it would be restored one day, can we not get lottery funding for this restoration?”

Christopher Bright said: “This one really needs to return, seriously all illumination trams need to return. The elevated height won’t be a issue if everyone is seated until the end of the ride. If the rocket returns in my life time then I’m complete.”

Others shared their memories of riding the quirky tram.

Phill Davidson reminisced: “I always remember some words of wisdom from a tram conductor in the 1970s. These illuminated trams might look nice, but if you want to look at the lights, catch a normal tram because you get a better view. These are lit up too much and it’s harder to see out of the windows.”

David Rankin added: “I worked for the Burnley Building Society from 1979 and it merged with the Provincial Building Society to become National & Provincial Building Society in 1982 or 83 I think.

“I remember that, because we had sponsored the tram, we were allowed to have a ‘works do’ on it one night so off we set and there were a couple of crates of beer on board and soft drinks too. I ended up walking up and down that incline many times that night, serving everybody!

“Funny, the things that stick in your mind, isn’t it??”

Blackpool Heritage Trams works to preserve those trams which were in day-to-day use over the past 100-plus years.

The Heritage Tram Depot is the last working first-generation tram depot in the UK and one of only three working historic tram depots in the world built for double-deck trams.

The organisation is always need of vital funds so it can continue to run, maintain and restore the historic trams of Blackpool.



‘Monster’ sex abuser jailed after abusing young girls in his truck as one victim tells of her ‘life destroyed’ by his actions

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“He stole my innocence and destroyed my life. I am hoping one day, all I want is one day, when I don’t cry.”


Simon Jackson, 51, of Station Road, Wesham
Simon Jackson, 51, of Station Road, Wesham (Image: Lancashire Constabulary)

A ‘monster’ who sexually abused two young girls in the 1990s has been jailed for more than 12 years, with one of his victims bravely telling court how he ‘destroyed her life’ through his crimes.

Simon Jackson, 51, befriended a vulnerable family, buying sweets, playing games and babysitting for the children when their parents were not available.

The family came to view him as a trusted friend.

“Today we would call that grooming”, said Recorder Philip Parry, sentencing.

But after gaining their trust, Jackson, of Station Road, Wesham, began treating the girls in a “depraved and abusive way” at a house on the outskirts of Preston and in his truck.

One of his victims, who was just eight years old, said she regularly cried when Jackson indecently assaulted her.

Each time Jackson would apologise but said she must not tell anyone.

On one occasion, after he abused her in his wagon, she slammed the door and ran into her home, saying she was going to tell her mum.

Jackson ran after her and slapped her so hard he left a hand print on her body.

The other girl recalled Jackson touching her on seven or eight occasions when she stayed over at the house.

She told a family member about Jackson but felt it was “brushed under the carpet”, Preston Crown Court heard on Thursday (September 9).

The two girls sometimes shared a bed in an attempt to protect themselves from their abuser.

In 2018, one of Jackson’s victims confronted him on social media and asked him why he had touched her when she was a little girl.

Jackson apologised, and with the admission in black and white the woman felt brave enough to go to the police.

He denied the offences but later pleaded guilty to a string of indecent assaults against the two girls.

Preston Crown Court
Preston Crown Court (Image: Liverpool Echo)

Judge Parry said: “You haven’t offended for more than 20 years and in that time you have up a stable and successful life for yourself, but your victims have spent the last two decades knowing what you did to them.”

Describing Jackson as a ‘monster’, one victim said: “He took my childhood from me and it has haunted me as an adult.

“Simon stole my innocence and destroyed my life. I am hoping one day, all I want is one day, when I don’t cry.”

The woman said Jackson’s abuse has destroyed her marriage and her relationship with her parents.

She cries daily and suffers nightmares, where she wakes thinking she can smell him till she washes herself with disinfectant.

At times she has felt suicidal and she feels unable to drive on the motorway in case she sees him in his truck.

She has been diagnosed with PTSD as a result of what happened to her as a child.

Judge Parry told Jackson: “She has not been able to enjoy the same period of stability and happiness you have enjoyed. You enjoyed that, knowing what you had done and doing nothing about it.”

The other victim chose not to give a victim impact statement.

Jackson was jailed for 12 years and nine months and was handed a 15 year sexual harm prevention order and 15 year restraining order.


Kirkham mum hands her own son into police for vandalism to ‘teach him a lesson’

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‘He needs to learn that it’s not right and you absolutely don’t do these kinds of things,’ she said.


Kirkham town centre
Kirkham town centre

A Lancashire mum who turned her own son into police for vandalising a local business has said her response ‘had to be done’.

The 33-year-old mum, who lives in Kirkham, said she told her son she was going to report him to Lancashire Constabulary after he confessed his role in the incident to her.

The boy, aged 15, told his mum that he had taken part in vandalising vintage and classic cars belonging to a town business that were regularly used for weddings.

“He has to learn that people work hard for their living,” she told LancsLive.

“He can’t just go around willy-nilly, with his pals and think it’s a bit of fun to destroy things – he has to learn.

“My son’s no angel and we have always worried about something like this happening. He’s basically very easily led and follows the crowd. We always knew something like this could happen and I have always tried to be honest about things.

“Him and his friends decided they were going to play in some woods, and they came across this unit. They damaged some cars and damaged the unit. It was a green house and from what I gather there were vintage, classic cars which were going to be used for weddings.

“It’s somebody’s business at the end of the day. It’s their livelihood. He was upfront and honest and said what he had done, and I said ‘right, well, we will have to see what the police say’.”

The mum, who along with her son cannot be identified due to legal reasons, says the incident saw spray paint on the floor as well as car windows smashed.

The culprits allegedly also took a tractor for a ride that was at the location, she said.

The mother said she took the difficult but commendable decision to turn her son in to police to teach him a lesson.

“Some people might not agree with what I have done. They might say, why did you do that? You should support and protect him,” she said.

“But I’m not protecting him if I cover this up. That’s giving him the green light to progress and go on to further things, and he would then say, well my mum has my back. He needs to learn that it’s not right and you absolutely don’t do these kinds of things.

“I have to teach my children the right way in life – you have to show them the right way to be kind, polite and upstanding citizens.”

It is not known if any arrests have been made in relation to the incidents in question.

Lancashire Constabulary was contacted for comment but did not respond prior to publication.

Blackpool in the dark over hotel asylum seekers plan as Home Office stays quiet

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Blackpool MP Paul Maynard stated the pause was down pressure placed on Home Office ministers


Metropole Hotel, Blackpool
Metropole Hotel, Blackpool (Image: JThomas / Geograph)

The Home Office has refused to offer an explanation why plans to relocate hundreds of asylum seekers to a Blackpool seafront hotel has been ‘paused’ and isn’t going ahead.

The decision to house hundreds of asylum seekers in Blackpool’s Metropole Hotel was approved by government earlier this week as part of the response to the growing number of migrants crossing the English Channel.

The original announcement stated that the hotel was to receive 223 asylum seekers, later rising to to 324.

But on Thursday, Blackpool Council told owners of the seafront hotel that they must must apply for the correct planning permission before housing any asylum seekers.

Shortly afterwards the authority then revealed it had been advised that the relocation of the asylum seekers to the Metropole Hotel would not take place today (September 10) as expected – but that the council understands government will still pursue this plan.

The council revealed its stance still remains the same in that the decision is ‘a wholly inappropriate and ill-conceived placement’.

The council has also claimed that the Home Office refused to address “grave concerns” raised by the council, NHS, police, fire service and public health officials.

MP Paul Maynard
MP Paul Maynard (Image: Manchester Evening News)

In response to the “pause”, MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys Paul Maynard issued a statement saying: “Pleased to see my pressure on Home Office Ministers has seen these reckless plans paused, so Blackpool Council can take necessary action to close the Metropole Hotel if planning law infringements occur, meaning it cannot be used to home those seeking asylum in this most unsuitable location.”

When asked by LancsLive for the reasoning behind the pause, with reference to My Maynard’s comments, the Home Office issued the same statement it gave LancsLive yesterday.

LancsLive approached the Home Office again for a fresh statement on an explanation as well as a timeline concerning the housing of asylum seekers in Blackpool, only to be told by a spokesperson the department had nothing else to add.

On Thursday, Lynn Williams, Leader of Blackpool Council, said: “We have now been advised that the relocation of the asylum seekers to the Metropole Hotel has been paused and will not take place tomorrow (Friday 10 September).

“However, our understanding is that the Home Office is continuing to pursue this plan. In that regard, our view remains exactly the same in that this is a wholly inappropriate and ill-conceived placement.

Home Secretary Priti Patel. Photo credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Home Secretary Priti Patel. Photo credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

“We stand by our assertion that the Home Office has failed to satisfy any of the grave concerns raised by local services including the Council, NHS, police, fire service and public health officials. Collectively we have requested answers to a number of questions relating to suitability of location, the timing of this placement and the need for a thorough risk assessment particularly in terms of the potential impact on these vulnerable and traumatised people.

“None of those questions have been answered to date and there is growing dismay over the way in which this situation has been handled.

“As a result, we will exercise every available power to prevent the usage of the Metropole in the way that is intended. We have served notice on Britannia Hotels advising that if they close the hotel and use it for the purpose of housing asylum-seekers they will need planning permission for a change of use of the building. If they ignore that advice, we will issue a temporary stop notice and enforce if necessary.”

Before the statement was released, the Home Office stated it has consulted with public services over the matter. It claimed consultation happened in August with police meetings also taking place.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The Home Office wrote to the Chief Executive of Blackpool Council and the local MPs on the planned use of the Metropole hotel on 25 August.

“The council replied to us on 27 August and we submitted a written response yesterday.

“The Home Office has also met with local stakeholders such as police and public health providers as well as officers from the local authority. All the hotels the Home Office uses must meet relevant health and safety legislation and provide their latest health and safety risk assessment.”



AFC Fylde reposts job ad with warning for anyone looking for ‘flexitime’

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The job description comes as an amendment to the initial post as the club now add they don’t want any “off lurkers”, “delegates” or “flexitime”.


AFC Fylde's Mill Farm stadium
AFC Fylde’s Mill Farm stadium

Lancashire football club bosses have released a new job advertisement for a general manager after their first was condemned for telling people not to apply if they have to pick up their children from school.

Earlier this week, non-league club AFC Fylde advertised for a new general manager of the football club.

But a day after it was posted the ad was deleted due to the response from within and outside the football community.

The club, who play in the National League North at Mill Farm in Wesham, stated in their original job advisement: “We work hard at Fylde so again, don’t apply if you are looking for a work-life balance or have to pick up the kids from school twice a week at 3.30.”

Now, the club has release a second advertisement for the job role redacting the controversial phrases.

But their emphasis on not having a ‘flexible work life balance’ remains, telling those want such an arrangement to not apply.

In the new job ad, the club states: “This is a ‘hands on role’ and requires hands on leadership from the front so ‘delegators’ and ‘office dwellers’ please don’t apply.”

It follows on to say: “You will need to be proactive in your approach to everything.

“For the avoidance of doubt, we work hard at Fylde, so again don’t apply if you are looking for flexitime or similar work life balances.”

In attempts to clear up any misinterpretations, the job description comes with a glossary of terms explaining the clubs own meaning of phrases used in the post.

The club describes ‘office lurkers’ as ‘people who find every reason possible to stay in their office and NOT to get out and meet people face to face, be they customers, suppliers or our employees’.

On ‘delegators’, it says: “Those managers who ‘delegate’ any job that is boring, mundane, difficult, detailed or indeed they consider to be below their status to someone else down the food chain without FIRST understanding how to do the job themselves.

“This is particularly prevalent in football, where most people want to spend the day pontificating with whoever will listen about players, tactics and in fact anything but that for which they are responsible. We call them ‘football romantics’.”

Regarding a ‘work life balance’, the club says this is a ‘modern, commonly used term that can mean many different things to different people’.

It adds: “However, from our experience, in simple terms we have found this means the ability to work from home some days a week, start late some days or leave early.

“Our working hours throughout the whole of the group are 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday, with exception of Saturdays in football, where you take a day off during the week to compensate.”

LancsLive is yet to have a response from AFC Fylde in regards to the original advertisement.



Blackpool A&E under immense pressure with ‘no sign of respite’ as patients told to ‘think twice’

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Pressure on Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s A&E department is showing ‘no sign of respite’ according to its chief operating officer


Blackpool Victoria Hospital
Blackpool Victoria Hospital

Thousands of Lancashire residents have been told to ‘think twice’ before heading to Blackpool A&E, with ‘immense’ pressure on its services showing no signs of stopping soon.

That is the message from Natalie Hudson, Chief Operating Officer, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Approaching all staff on Wednesday (August 8), Ms Hudson said she hoped patients would “think twice” before heading to Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s emergency department.

In an email to all colleagues, Ms Hudson said there is “no sign of respite” when it came to pressure alleviating.

But she noted that there are “still a number of attendees who could have been treated elsewhere”; hinting that the triaging of patients was not as effective as it could be.

As a result, Ms Hudson is asking all staff to share Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust social media messages asking people to only head to A&E with ’emergency conditions’.

She is also asking staff to escalate delays as soon as they are recognised.

Of these, 80.7% were seen in under four hours.

This was down on July’s numbers, where 19,017 visited The Vic’s emergency department.

In June, 17,332 turned up to A&E in Blackpool.

The email to staff from Ms Hudson, which has been seen by LancsLive, reads: “As you may be aware, our Emergency Department has been under immense pressure recently and unfortunately, there is no sign of respite.

“The pressure is a culmination of many factors, but I would like to ask all colleagues around the Trust to help where you can to ensure the flow of patients around the hospital is as smooth and as safe as it can be.

“Although ED has treated many very poorly people, there are still a number of attendees who could have been treated elsewhere.

“You may have noticed we now have messages on the digital screen outside of ED that displays the average waiting time, number of ambulances arrivals in the last hour, the number of patients in the department and the longest time to be triaged.

“We hope that people will think twice about choosing to be seen in A&E when their symptoms are minor and instead contact NHS 111 first.

A recent tweet from Blackpool A&E on when you should and shouldn't go to its emergency department
A recent tweet from Blackpool A&E on when you should and shouldn’t go to its emergency department (Image: Twitter)

“In order to support our ED colleagues, can I please ask that you help by:

“Sharing any Trust social media messages to help ensure that attendees arrive at ED with emergency conditions only.

“Escalating any delays as soon as possible to your matron/manager of the day.”

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all our staff for their hard work and dedication under particularly difficult circumstances.”

Speaking to LancsLive, Ms Hudson admitted the A&E has been “extremely busy in recent weeks.”.

But she praised staff who have been “working amazingly hard to provide the best care possible”.

“We realise that all health services are currently under pressure, but we would like to remind people with non-emergency conditions to look at the alternatives to A&E such as contacting NHS 111 for advice and to be directed to the most appropriate service,” she said.



Fleetwood man, 78, backs singing campaign to combat dementia

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A 78-year-old Fleetwood rman with dementia has joined calls to expand a popular singing activity for people with dementia in the town .

John Hodgkiss with wife Maggie

John Hodgkiss with wife Maggie

Alzheimer’s Society’s Singing for the Brain initiative unites people affected by dementia- of which there are 17,000 in Lancashire – through song.

People with dementia have been hit particularly hard by coronavirus, with many people with the condition significantly deteriorating from the knock-on effects of lockdown.

Singing for the Brain helps to reduce social isolation, improve quality of life, wellbeing and mood, which the charity says has never been needed more.

John Hodgkiss, 78, knows the benefits of music and has been attending a virtual Singing for the Brain group area every Tuesday morning with his wife Maggie.

John was diagnosed with vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s in March 2020.

John has only experienced Singing for the Brain virtually so is looking forward to when the group gets back together in person next week.

He said: “I really have enjoyed attending the group so far and being able to talk to other people, but I am looking forward to meeting the group properly next week. I think it will be a totally different experience.

“There’s always different songs, from music hall pieces right up to current pop songs and sometimes there’s a theme so there’s always a great variety.

“I even got the opportunity to sing a solo by myself. I sang a song from The Mikado, which I particularly loved, and it felt really rewarding to do.”

Alzheimer’s Society is now offering care providers, organisations or individuals across Lancashire with an interest in music, the chance to run their own group and become a Singing for the Brain delivery partner.

They will provide partners with the support and resources to successfully do this.

Alzheimer’s Society, supported by the Utley Foundation, through their Music for Dementia campaign, aims to recruit 80 new Singing for the Brain delivery partners across the UK by the end of this summer.

Singing for the Brain is an uplifting and stimulating group activity for people affected by dementia, built around music and song. Through fun vocal warm-ups, and a variety of familiar and new songs, the music accesses and engages different parts of the brain.

Alzheimer’s Society Area Manager in Lancashire, Tara Edwards said: “Music memory is often retained when other memories are lost. Singing for the Brain can help people, even in advanced stages of dementia, to tap into long-term memories linked to music and song – for some, this can mean they can communicate through singing when no longer able to do so through speech.

“We have well established Singing for the Brain groups in Lancashire, and we hear how valuable these are to those who attend them like John and Maggie, even now during the pandemic, where we have adapted to run this service virtually. That’s why we are keen to help others set up a group so even more people can access this popular activity.

“We are changing the way we provide support for people affected by dementia in the community so we can reach more people through delivery partners. We want more people to benefit from our popular Singing for the Brain service.”

To find out more and to register your interest, visit or you can contact the local office answerphone service on (01253) 696854 to enquire about attending the sessions in person.