CCTV cameras are being fitted with speakers to give public safety messages
A £2million investment in a new CCTV system for Blackpool has been given the go ahead by councillors with the new cameras able to speak to the public.
Blackpool Council’s executive unanimously approved steps to upgrade cameras in the town centre and along the Promenade, relocate the control centre and buy a mobile CCTV unit.
It is expected to take around one year to fully implement the new system.
Councillor Neal Brookes, cabinet member for enforcement, public safety, highways and transport, told the meeting: “CCTV plays an important role in public safety, particularly in relation to accessing the town centre at night.”
The number of cameras in the town centre and along the Promenade will be increased from 92 to 346.
A new Command and Control Centre will be created in Municipal Buildings on Corporation Street.
Cameras will have 360 degree vision while more than 100 speakers are being attached to CCTV columns capable of delivering public safety messages.
Coun Brookes said: “In an emergency situation we will be able to warn and inform.
“If we need to get people away from an area we will be able to talk to them through the CCTV columns.
“If we see anti social behaviour we will be able to point out to people that they are on CCTV and it might not be quite such a good idea to do what they are doing.”
He added having a Control and Command Centre had been “warmly welcomed by the counter terrorism security advisor and the emergency services”.
Meanwhile the police would be able to access CCTV evidence from the new system “in real time” rather than having to wait days for images to be downloaded to a disc.
It was revealed last December that Blackpool’s CCTV system needed a major overhaul due to the technology becoming obsolete, while the control centre needs to be moved from the former Bonny Street police station.
The £2m investment will 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.
Tuck into afternoon tea inside this architectural gem in Blackpool
Quaint sandwiches, fluffy cream scones and a lovely cup of English breakfast tea is how most of us probably picture afternoon tea.
And sometimes if you’re lucky, you can enjoy this traditional delight in a stunning country house or village cafe on a cobbled street.
But you’d be hard pushed to find a more fabulous and grand setting than the Blackpool Tower Ballroom.
The world-famous venue has introduced afternoon tea packages for all ages, with guests also welcome to have a twirl on the dancefloor.
A selection of sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam and a variety of cakes complete with an image of the Blackpool Tower are all included in the price, which is £50 for two people and family packages are also available from £59.
As you eat, you’ll be treated to live music played on the famous Wurlitzer theatre organ.
Tables inside this architectural gem are available in 90-minute time slots, however, if your dancing feet have really come to life, then you are welcome to stay in the ballroom area for as long as you wish.
You can also include a trip to Madam Tussauds and immerse yourself in the Strictly Come Dancing experience with the ticket valid for 90 days from when you visit the ballroom.
This deal is £35 for adults and £29 for children when booked online but there are plenty of family packages available too.
Dr Goskel Celikkol will appear before an employment tribunal on Thursday
A Blackpool GP will appear before an employment tribunal accused of sexual misconduct towards a vulnerable female patient.
Dr Goskel Celikkol, who worked across the Fylde coast including at Grange Park Health Centre, is accused of carrying out an unnecessary examination on a woman, known only as Patient A, which was sexually motivated, in October 1999.
Following this, it is alleged the doctor embarked upon a sexual relationship with the vulnerable woman and prescribed her medication between October 1999 and August 2000.
It is further alleged that Dr Celikkol continued to prescribe inappropriate medication to the woman after their relationship had ended.
This is alleged to have continued until 2007.
On Thursday (September 16), Dr Celikkol will appear at Manchester’s Tribunal Court in Oxford Street, Manchester.
If the case against him is proved, the doctor, who trained in Istanbul before registering with the GMC in 1980, faces being struck off.
Owner Kinga has had to deal with urine soaked mattresses, vomit in the sink, “nappy content”, flooding and smashed TVs and plug sockets in the past four months alone
A Blackpool hotelier has spoken out about the disgusting behaviour of several guests since reopening her venue after lockdown.
Kinga Gafka, 35, who runs the 100 Pipers hotel on Woodfield Road, has posted a collection of photographs taken from the last 10 weeks of the aftermath of some of her guests’ stays.
The pictures are a horrifying gallery of vomit in a sink, takeaway strewn across the room, chocolate ice cream over bedding and walls, plugs sockets ripped off the wall and several suspect stains on the carpets, walls, ceiling and doors.
The mum-of-one told LancsLive that the rooms in her hotel have suffered more damage since re-opening in May than from when she took ownership in 2015.
“Everyone loves to slate Blackpool hotels but people don’t see the other side of things,” said Kinga.
“I’ve never had as much damage, disrespect and overall attitude problems like I have in the past four months.
“The past four months have been worse than in the first four years of me running the hotel from 2015 to 2019.
“I’m not sure if it’s because of lockdown and people are able to go back out and book holidays. Perhaps the people that would usually go abroad and cause mischief are coming here instead but that’s just me speculating.
“I’m not usually one to stick my head out and make a fuss but I decided to post these pictures because I wanted to show people what I and other hoteliers have to deal with.
“At times it’s hard to photograph some of the damage done as it doesn’t show up, such as a urine soaked mattress, but the pictures I posted from the last four months were clear to show.
“There are countless times when people have flooded the bathroom too and water has come through the ceiling, simply because they won’t close over the shower curtain whilst showering.”
The Facebook post with images contained photographs of hotel rooms from four separate incidents in just over the space of two months.
The broken TV is as a result of a couple who had ‘got into an argument’ after drinking in the hotel room and reportedly never checked out.
When the pair never returned the key, Kinga said she went to check how long they were staying only to discover the damage.
Several weeks ago two guests who checked in had ‘snuck food upstairs’.
Kinga later says she found vomit in the bathroom and despite the room having two sinks and a toilet, it was ‘everywhere but inside them’.
She says there was also food scattered all over the floor.
Recently a family stayed in one of the family rooms. Kinga said she walked in to find a brown substance all over the bedding, towels and ceiling and a green substance over the walls.
The brown matter turned out to be chocolate ice cream however the green stains Kinga described as “nappy content”.
“That was what sent me over the edge,” Kinga said. “A young family with a nice family room and they managed to get stains on the ceiling. It upsets me to talk about so that’s why I wanted to make people aware. I love my job but lately I’ve felt disheartened.
“I work 20 hours a day only to be rewarded with this. I, and other Blackpool hoteliers, put blood, sweat and tears into our businesses and breaks my heart to see how some people treat it.
“Coming out of lockdown isn’t an excuse for people to behave the way they want and it doesn’t explain the disappearance of basic adult manners.
“Not so long ago I had two guests who obviously couldn’t handle their drink and one had wet themselves in the night. All of our mattresses have protective covers however it is not effective against a full adult bladder.”
A visit to Booking.com shows the 100 Pipers Hotel has an excellent rating of 8.7 with a good rating of 4 on TripAdvisor.
Due to lockdown, Kinga only managed to work seven days in total last year so used the down time as an opportunity to give the hotel a make-over.
After receiving money from a grant which managed to cover bills and overheads, she spent £12,000 on a refurbishment which included some new bathrooms, carpets, windows and doors as well as painting and wallpapering.
Kinga added: “It’s unfair on so many levels, this is my livelihood and I’m also supporting the British economy. I do believe that bad hotels should be highlighted and held to account however, you can see from my online reviews that when people stay here they feel like they’re looked after and I give them a personal service.
“It is the same for other Blackpool hotels however after speaking to other owners, I think the only way we can guard against this is to change our policy and take a damage deposit beforehand. It’s not fair that I should have to reach into my pocket and pay.
“The couple who broke the TV paid cash and provided fake contact details so it’s silly, but now I’m going to have to check people have real numbers etc before they come to stay. The minority ruin it for everyone else.
“I would urge people to please, treat your temporary living accommodation as you would your own home.”
The popular air show was cancelled for the past two years but will return next August
The Blackpool Air Show will return in 2022, it has been confirmed by organisers.
The show, which is of the seaside town’s most popular free annual events, was cancelled for the past two years because of the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting restrictions on mass gatherings.
It is scheduled to return on August 13 and 14 next year and the aerial showpiece is expected to once again attract up to 100,000 visitors.
A selection of the world’s finest military and civilian aircraft, including the Red Arrows, are set to fly and perform along Blackpool’s seafront.
And on the ground, visitors can browse a range of stalls, attractions and food concessions in the Air Show Village on the Tower Festival Headland.
A VisitBlackpool spokesman said: “The Blackpool Air Show is always one of the highlights of the summer and we have been keen to get the 2022 dates in the calendar as soon as possible so that visitors can book ahead.
“After almost two years of disruption to our major events programme, we are confident that 2022 will see a return to a full programme of our traditional events, with some exciting new ones to be announced in the months ahead”.
Blackpool Grand Theatre will also welcome shows from Jason Manford, Frank Skinner and Tim Vine for the new season
Alan Carr and Craig Revel Horwood have launched Blackpool Grand Theatre’s new season programme – sort of.
Waxworks from Madam Tussauds of the comedian and Strictly Come Dancing judge were in place to showcase what’s on offer at the Grand in the coming months.
Real life Chatty Man Alan joins funny men Jason Manford, Frank Skinner and Tim Vine on the line-up, bringing his stand-up show Regional Trinket to the Blackpool venue on September 17 and 18.
While stage director and choreographer Craig will also appear in person and far more mobile than his waxwork alter-ego, when his debut solo show, The All Balls and Glitter Tour, rolls into town in May 2022.
Ruth Eastwood, Blackpool Grand Theatre CEO said: “From A-list comedians like Alan Carr, to West End legendary shows, we’ve got an amazing line-up to bring smiles to audience’s faces after these testing times.
“Our marketing activity has been a huge success and we are pleased to have had the chance to work with Madame Tussaud’s in launching our new season guide”.
Ben Franklin was banned from being with under 16s under a sexual harm prevention order
A Blackpool sex offender has been given permission to take his new baby out in public – but only if accompanied by specific people.
Ben Franklin, 26, was handed a Sexual Offences Prevention Order in 2015 which banned him from being in contact with children under 16.
Under the terms of the order, Franklin, who has recently become a dad, would not be able to go out and about with his child and partner.
If he breaches the order he could face prosecution – or even prison.
Franklin, of Cooper Street in Blackpool, said: “I just want to be able to spend time with my son.”
After consulting with the police and social services, the Honorary Recorder of Preston Judge Robert Atham agreed to make an amendment.
He said Franklin was allowed to spend time with his own child – but only if accompanied by someone who is aware of the order and has been approved by social services.
Franklin told the court he is still in a relationship with the baby’s mum, who “knows everything” about his previous convictions.
Judge Altham said: “In this matter the applicant seeks to vary a Sexual Offences Prevention Order which was made in 2015 because his situation has changed.
“He now has a very young son and the order, as it is currently drafted, prevents him from being out and about with his son, even if he is accompanied by his partner. He has told me, and I accept, that they are still together in a relationship. ”
No police or social services representatives attended court but the judge said he had received an email suggesting a variation which would continue to protect the public while enabling Franklin to spend time with his family.
Judge Altham made the amendment, saying: “The variation means that yes, he can go to places where there are children under 16, but only when he is with his son and there is someone who knows about the order.
“The order is not there to prevent him from having a family life. I have to take into consideration not only his right to a family life but also his son’s right to a family life.”