Blackpool council leader slams The Sun article calling resort ‘drug death capital’

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“It’s headline grabbing, but if they were interested, they would find out about what we are doing to resolve issues.”


Blackpool from above
Blackpool from above (Image: Charlotte Graham photography)

Blackpool Council leader Coun Lynn Williams has hit back at a national media report depicting Blackpool as being riddled with drug users.

An article by The Sun newspaper branded the resort a ‘drug death capital’ and claimed heroin was being ‘cooked at school gates’.

It came after recently published government figures showed 42 drug related deaths in Blackpool last year – giving it the highest drug related death rate in England and Wales.

But Coun Williams said schemes such as the ADDER project, which brought police and treatment services together, were being used to tackle addiction.

She said: “We know it’s an issue and we have to resolve it. It’s highlighted unfortunately in seaside towns and a lot comes back down to the health issues associated with living in sub-standard accommodation.

“But articles like this one are lazy journalism if they are produced without having a conversation with people like our director of public health Dr Arif Rajpura about the work which is being done.

“It’s headline grabbing, but if they were interested, they would find out about what we are doing to resolve issues.

“And national government is taking notice of what we are doing, but that doesn’t make a good headline.”

The latest approach revolves around the Drugs-Related Death and Non-Fatal Overdose (DRDNFO) Review Panel which brings together services inlcuding the police, public health, NHS and North West Ambulance Service which most frequently interact with drug users.

The aim is to pool knowledge from drug-related deaths and identify and support people who are most at risk.

People in Blackpool are, however, the most likely locally, and nationally, to die due to drug poisoning.

The area saw 106 deaths between 2017 and 2019, a rate of 27.5 per 100,000 people – almost four times higher than the England rate of 7.1 deaths per 100,000 people.

It also had the highest rate of drug misuse deaths at 18.9 per 100,000, quadruple the England rate of 4.7 per 100,000.



New estates in Blackpool will need trees in bid to make resort greener

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Planners have drawn up fresh rules governing how much open space and tree cover schemes need


Blackpool town centre from above

Developers will be required to plant more trees in future as part of the drive to make Blackpool a greener town.

Currently the resort has the lowest tree canopy cover in the UK at just 4.4 per cent compared to the national average of 16 per cent.

This is despite the council having recently planted 3,000 trees in streets and parks with new woodland at Low Moor Road, Mossom Lane, Deerhurst Road and Kingscote Park.

Now town hall planners have drawn up fresh rules governing how much open space and tree cover new schemes should include.

And if developers are unable to plant trees as part of their proposals, they will have to stump up cash instead for tree planting elsewhere.

A supplementary planning document called ‘Greening Blackpool, which sets out the new requirements, says: “A shortage of green infrastructure, particularly in the inner area and town centre compounds the public health deficit in the town.

“The council is working hard to improve housing and revitalise and restructure the town centre, seeking opportunities to create pocket parks, plant trees and green the town, making it a more pleasant and healthy place to live, work, visit and invest.

“Making the urban environment greener, helping to tackle climate change and protecting and enhancing the natural environment and resources is a vital part of delivering a better Blackpool.”

It adds while much of the new green infrastructure will be provided publicly, “it is important that new development also contributes to a greater provision.”

It means in future all new development will be required to retain existing trees and where removal is unavoidable, they must be replaced using native species.

Housing developments of more than three units must provide two trees per home on site, while other types of residential development such as care homes with at least three residents must provide one tree per resident.

If it is not possible to do this on site, developers must pay £1,000 per tree towards planting elsewhere. This could be pooled to pay for urban planting where it can cost up toe £15,000 for a single tree in a hard surfaced area.

The council is aiming to plant 10,000 trees in Blackpool by 2030.



We tried Blackpool’s own beautiful garden pier bar and it was brilliant

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Dear reader, it was brilliant. Albeit, not the best choice for anyone operating on a budget


Bloom Bar
Bloom Bar

At the end of the North Pier rests the pink princess of damsel’s in distress: Bloom Gin Bar.

Bloom Gin Bar has given something new to North Pier since 2020 and it’s adjacent sister bar, The Garden, opened to the public earlier this year.

The Gin and Prosecco bar is covered in flowers and greenery, making it the perfect spot for an Instagram-worthy photo or scenic beverage – if that’s you’re thing.

Although Blackpool’s Bloom looks pretty from afar, is it any good on the inside? Is it worth the thousands of flowers who’ll spend their lifetimes on their walls?

Dear reader, it was brilliant. Albeit, a little expensive.

You can have a drink and watch the sea, without getting cold

Like most places covered in flowers, Bloom is obviously a very pretty place to visit.

Inside, the bar is a relaxed and gorgeous setting. It’s got low lighting above the bar, and comfortable seating throughout the old solarium.

Inside Bloom Bar
Inside Bloom Bar

If you’re lucky enough to grab a seat inside by the window, you have a stunning view of the sea and can sip away on your gin whilst watching the tide roll in and it’s great because for once, you’re not being rattled by the wind.

It’s the perfect place for a unique date night, with intimate details and a range of drinks to choose from you’re bound to create some special memories at the end of the north pier.

They had an impressive range of gins which were delicious

Graduating into the legal age for drinking in 2018 basically meant that I immediately became a gin connoisseur as soon as I turned 18. Pink gin was at every corner as the World Cup saw England actually place in the top four. Not much has happened since then.

Bloom’s range of gin was exceptional. I don’t think there was a single gin flavour that they didn’t have.

Did I step out of my comfort zone and order something other than a strawberry oriented gin? No, but I easily could have. It was like being Charlie in the Chocolate factory, except I’m over 18 and the chocolate factory is a gin bar.

Bloom Bar
Bloom Bar

We spent £15.40 on two double gin and tonics, so it’s not the cheapest place to visit. But, if you can imagine the gin flavour you would love to try, I would say Bloom probably has it.

Just make sure you don’t ask, “what gin do you have?” because you’ll probably be met with some concerned stares.

Bloom also offers afternoon teas and prosecco, so it basically caters for everyone, including your gran.

The Garden is a really great place to be

We visited Bloom on a Thursday evening, and although it wasn’t rammed with fellow gin drinkers, The Garden was a really brilliant place to drink.

With its funky DJ providing a garden-party atmosphere to the pier, the Blackpool gin spot is like something from a buzzing city centre like London or Manchester and it had a handful of people having a dance as we tipped into that Friday feeling.

Bloom Garden
Bloom Garden

There’s endless opportunities for your Instagram feed, but even better, loads of space to have a dance by the sea. And that we did, move over children, let me show you how to do the macarena.

Seating is operated on a first come, first served basis but we had absolutely no problem guaranteeing a table both inside and outside.

You can even have a tipsy tumble onto the vintage carousel on your way out, if you have any spare change.



HomeNewsLancashire NewsBlackpool Pleasure Beach Blackpool Pleasure Beach is looking to recruit ‘horrible staff’

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Cast members are being sought for the upcoming Halloween event, Journey To Hell


Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Blackpool Pleasure Beach is on the look out to recruit ‘horrible staff’ – and only the ‘ghastliest will be offered a job.

The amusement park is looking for scarily good cast members to join its upcoming Halloween event, Journey To Hell.

A strong stomach and a tolerance for blood and gore are essential.

A Pleasure Beach spokesperson said: “Journey to Hell is a terrifying experience led event through themed areas of Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

“The event raises the bar for the fear factor at Blackpool Pleasure Beach and promises to be scarier than ever in 2021.

“Journey to Hell is a scare zone live actor and horror based experience taking place over selected nights from 8th to 31st October after the park has closed. It will include ICON, the Ghost Train and the River Caves .

“The journey starts at the HUB where brave potential victims will be taken to the scare zones including Day of the Dead, Legend of the Voodoo Curse, Clown Scare Maze, Hell Tunnels and The Devil’s Gate.”

To apply to be a scare actor at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, candidates must be available between 1st and 31st October. CVs and headshots can be emailed to info@stageworkswwp.comFull training and hourly rate of pay will be provided.

Journey to Hell at Blackpool Pleasure Beach run on selected dates between October 8 and 31. For more information, or to buy tickets, visit or call 0871 222 1234.



Blackpool singer-songwriter Little Boots joins Abba’s live band for group’s Voyage concerts

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“I have been a lifelong Abba fan so it is an absolute honour”


Little Boots (aka Victoria Hesketh) performing in 2009
Little Boots (aka Victoria Hesketh) performing in 2009

A singer-songwriter from Blackpool has revealed she is playing a major role in some of the most highly-anticipated live music events ever – Abba’s upcoming concert shows.

Little Boots – who was born in the town and whose real name is Victoria Hesketh – announced the news on Twitter, posting a photo of herself alongside Abba member Benny Andersson.

She wrote that she will be playing keyboards and providing backing vocals on stage during the Abba Voyage shows, which will take place in a specially-constructed 3,000-capacity arena at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London.

“I have been a lifelong Abba fan so it is an absolute honour,” she said.

“I am beyond excited for this journey to continue and hope you can join us.”

Hesketh will be part of a 10-piece band during the Abba Voyage shows, which will be preceded in November by the Swedish group’s first album of new material in 40 years.

The “Abba-tars” were created through months of motion-capture and performance techniques with the four band members and an 850-strong team from Industrial Light and Magic, the company founded by George Lucas, in its first foray into music.

Hesketh played piano from the age of five and was writing her own songs by the time she was 13. She later reached the third round of ITV talent contest Pop Idol and, while studying at Leeds University, co-founded the band Dead Disco.

After leaving Dead Disco she began a solo career as Little Boots – her first LP, Hands, contained the singles Stuck On Repeat, Remedy and New In Town, and reached number five on the UK albums chart.

She has since recorded two further Little Boots albums; Nocturnes, in 2013, and 2015’s Working Girl.

Her new single Silver Balloons will be released on September 24 with an album to follow.

Writing on Instagram, she added: “My love for the songs of Abba runs hard and deep, there is no other songwriting I have been more inspired by throughout my career, in my opinion it is the most life-affirming, heart wrenching, joyful, liberating, powerful pop music on the planet. ⁠⁠

⁠⁠”It has already been a dream to spend time in the studio with my musical heroes.”

Hesketh said it was a “privilege” to perform Abba’s songs “with a group of the most incredible musicians I have ever played with,” promising: “The sound of this band will give you goosebumps!⁠⁠”

Abba were catapulted to worldwide success after winning the Eurovision Song Contest with Waterloo when the event was held in Brighton in 1974.

They have since sold more than 400 million albums and singles.


Blackpool hospitals braced for surge in disease among kids due to lockdown

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Natalie Hudson, chief operating officer at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals (BTH) NHS Trust, warned this winter would be particularly challenging


Blackpool Victoria Hospital
Blackpool Victoria Hospital (Image: MEN MEDIA)

Doctors are expecting to see a surge in respiratory diseases this winter among young children because lockdown meant they were not exposed to the usual germs.

The threat is among factors taken into account in a £2.2m Winter Plan which has been prepared by health chiefs at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

It is proposed to recruit 110 new full-time equivalent staff to help cope with increased winter pressure on the NHS.

Natalie Hudson, chief operating officer at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals (BTH) NHS Trust, warned this winter would be particularly challenging as medics juggled the potential impact of flu and Covid with trying to restore routine treatments.

She told a meeting of the hospital board: “We need to recognise the potential impact that Covid, flu and Norovirus could have this year.

“We also have a predicted RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) surge which we have already seen in children and paediatrics saw that peak in August.

“But we also expect a similar surge again throughout winter.”

It has been predicted cases of RSV could increase by up to 50 per cent with children aged under two at most risk.

A report to the board says: “As a result of national lockdowns to manage the Covid 19 pandemic there is an increasing cohort of pregnant women, young infants and children who have not been exposed to respiratory viruses which is now posing a risk to surge infections.

“Public Health England suggests an increase in RSV cases of circa 20-50 per cent, peaking in November, although early presentations have been noted.

“RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis in children under two years, although often causing mild infections, it may be severe.

“Typically, RSV circulates during winter, from September, peaking in December.

“Regional teams and the Paediatric Critical Care Network (ODN) have developed regional and supra regional plans to support increased paediatric critical care capacity.”

Ms Hudson added vaccinations for flu and Covid boosters would continue to be rolled out to staff and care homes, with this due to start in September.

All school aged children will be offered the flu vaccine from BTH’s School Aged Vaccination and Immunisation Team, with an expected uptake rate of 70 per cent.

Plans are also being made to convert more wards to medical wards, while a new medical high care unit could be created for patients needing enhanced care but not poorly enough to require intensive care.

But Ms Hudson warned it was key to get staff in place and recruitment was beginning earlier this year to ensure everything was in place.

The Trust holds £5.4m in reserves to fund winter 2021/22. £2.2m, of this is locally funded by BTH and the other £3.2m is commissioner funded.



Blackpool hotel owner’s kind gesture after guest’s luggage is lost

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Hotel owner Darren is still trying to help Alison locate her luggage which may have been taken in error by a member of a coach party


The Lawton Hotel on Charnley Road, Blackpool
The Lawton Hotel on Charnley Road, Blackpool (Image: Google Street Image)

A Blackpool hotel guest has been overwhelmed by the kindness of a hotel owner who offered her a few days’ stay for just her £50 deposit

Alison Campbell, 41, from Wigan, arrived at The Lawton Hotel on Charnley Road on Sunday (September 5) evening courtesy of owner Darren Wilkinson. She was due to arrive on Monday (September 6) however was allowed to come a day earlier.

One of Alison’s brothers had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and at the beginning of January doctors a found 20cm tumour on his kidney.

The cancer had already started to spread to his lungs.Hhe had shown no symptoms which shocked doctors.

In August of this year he also caught Covid-19 and had to have 8 litres of fluid drained that was cutting into his airway.

Alison’s father has also been diagnosed with skin cancer due to a bang which got infected.

Alison told LancsLive: “I’m carer for my mum and my parents are in their 80s. I needed the break so I was very grateful to the hotel for the stay.

“I’ve been coming Blackpool every year since I was a kid, I never go anywhere else, I always say its like a second home.”

Alison felt the need to leave early however when she discovered her luggage missing from the luggage cupboard.

She arrived early on Sunday however the room wasn’t ready to check into yet so she asked could she leave her luggage when she went out.

When she returned a couple of hours later her case had gone with everything in it.

Alison said: “I waited for the owner to get to the hotel and he checked the CCTV and a bloke from a coach party was seen just picking the case up and walking out. He didn’t even check with any of the others if it was one of theirs.

“The owner phoned the organiser of the coach party and sent him image of the bloke and also contacted the police but they said they couldn’t get out till Thursday at 8am.

“He tried to track down the coach company who said they didn’t have any luggage left over so someone has my case.”

The suit case includes clothes, make up and a tablet but most importantly photographs of her deceased partner which she is keen to get back.

Alison set off home early today (September 7) rather than Thursday as she understandably didn’t feel in the holiday mood.

Alison added: “The hotel owner did everything he could and said if he does find out where it is he’ll go and get it himself.

“I don’t need this on top of everything else, I mean I’m just a 41 year-old woman who come away for few days for a break and wasn’t even in the town for six hours without case being taken.

“Coaches should make sure they are only taking the group’s cases. Maybe the coach driver could give them label to tie to case saying which party that way they only take luggage with label on.

“I know I can replace the items in the case but the picture of me and my partner who passed from cancer I can’t get back which is what I’m devastated about.”

The Lawton Hotel owner who didn’t know Alison personally said: “We offered her the stay as she’s been through such a hard time lately. I am working with the police to try and find the missing luggage and I’d be willing to drive myself to pick it up!

“I’ve given the police all the information but unfortunately they can’t come out until Thursday. I’m fairly certain that nothing untoward has happened, it’s just been a case of someone picking up the wrong case.

“It may take a few days but I’m sure we’ll get to the bottom of it.”

Lancashire Constabulary has confirmed they are investigating the incident.



Health inspectors turn up at 2700-guest Southport Pontins unannounced

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Five star hygiene ratings for Britannia venues – but what does the council make of the Southport Pontins venue?


(Image: Andrew Teebay/Liverpool Echo)

A short stroll from one of Merseyside’s best beaches, sits a holiday park billed as “a great resort with something for the whole family”.

Pontins on Shore Road in Ainsdale sits in the perfect location for a great trip.

Just a short distance from Southport, and a train journey from Liverpool, it’s situated amid many days out, and things to do.

Unfortunately, though, the holiday park is often the subject of bad reviews, resulting in it having just a two-star rating on Tripadvisor.

Guests frequently complain about unclean accommodation, with one dad recently saying he found powder he suspected to be drugs on a sofa bed his daughter was to sleep on.

Pontins is owned by Britannia, who own a number of hotels in Blackpool and across the wider UK.

As with Pontins, the hotels in Blackpool, which includes Norbreck Castle, are regularly criticised by guests, compared to Fawlty Towers and viewed as harming the reputation of the resort.

So how clean is Pontins Southport – and how often is it inspected?

The park actually has the highest food hygiene rating possible.

Its five star (very good) rating is the result of an environmental health inspection on August 13, 2019. This is also true of Norbreck Castle in Blackpool, which was inspected on January 14, 2019 and got the same rating.

Sefton Council says it receives complaints about the park “from time to time”.

A council spokesperson told the ECHO : “Our environmental health teams carry out regular scheduled and unannounced inspections relating to the areas which fall within the jurisdiction of the authority.”

Its most recent of these was last month.

The spokesperson continued: “The site was well occupied, with over 2700 guests being accommodated, and no breaches of health and safety legislation, or food legislation, were found, and no food safety issues were identified.

“Appropriate covid secure measures were in place with an up to date risk assessment available.

“Officers observed evidence of numerous hand sanitiser stations, signage, increased frequency of cleaning, reduced capacity within the bar areas and improved ventilation.

“However, the standard of accommodation is not something over which the authority has any jurisdiction.”

Pontins owner Britannia was approached for comment by the Echo but had not responded by the time of publication.



How pieces of Blackpool Tower helped create a Lake District hotel bar

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Why Storrs Hall Hotel in Cumbria has named its bar after Blackpool Tower Ballroom


A view of the bar at Storrs Hall Hotel in Cumbria
The stunning bar at Storrs Hall is named after Blackpool (Image: Storrs Hall)

A stunning bar in a Lake District hotel has a little-known link to Blackpool Tower Ballroom – and it’s nothing to do with dancing.

The Storrs Hall Hotel bar’s entire striking design was installed using wood and glass taken from the Lancashire coastal-town’s world famous ballroom.

As a result, it is named The Tower Bar – and the Bowness-on-Windermere hotel says it brings a ‘quintessentially British eccentricity’ with hand carved detailing, colourful glasswork, gothic, thick wooden beams, all enhanced by intimate lighting.

“Its Victorian OTT’ness enhances the hotel and makes for a relaxed, cosy space,” a spokesperson told LancsLive.

“It adds another dimension to weddings and celebrations here at Storrs. We love it”.

A view of the bar at Storrs Hall Hotel
The Tower Bar in Storrs Hall hotel has an interesting link to Blackpool (Image: Storrs Hall Hotel)

Its unclear when or how the bar was transported from Lancashire to Cumbria, with Storrs Hall, which became a hotel in the 1890s, awaiting further information from Blackpool Tower’s archives.

The huge bar fills the space at the back of one of the Georgian ground floor rooms at the luxury four-star establishment.

Storrs Hall also has its own boathouse, stone monument, rotunda, terraced suites, jetty, garden pavilion and is nestled within 17-acres of private land.

Non-residents are welcome to visit the bar and enjoy lunch or an early evening meal from the ‘pub style’ menu, which is popular with families.

Food is served from 12.30pm to 9pm.