Car catches fire on busy Blackpool road

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Firefighters rushed to extinguish a car that was “well alight” on a busy road in Blackpool.


Crews from South Shore responded to a vehicle fire in Preston New Road at around 11.27pm last night (October 6).

They found the car was “well alight” on the roadway upon arrival.

Firefighters used one hose reel and a fog spike to extinguish the flames.

Crews from South Shore responded to a vehicle fire in Preston New Road, Blackpool.

Crews from South Shore responded to a vehicle fire in Preston New Road, Blackpool.

Crews were at the scene for around 40 minutes.

What is a fog spike?

A fog spike is used to punch holes into a structure and deliver water into the inside of compartments, rooms, or voids within a building, creating a super-fine misting effect that can dramatically reduce the temperature and spread of a fire.



Blackpool Transport cancels number of tram and bus services as driver shortage continues

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A number of Blackpool Transport’s trams and buses were cancelled due to an ongoing shortage of drivers.


Blackpool Transport said it was facing challenges due to a shortage of staff today (October 8), causing a number of its services to be cancelled.

These included bus service 1 – which usually runs every 30 minutes between Fleetwood’ s Affinity Outlet and Starr Gate via the Promenade – and several tram services.

A spokesman for the company said: “We do unfortunately have some cancellations to our service 1 today, as well as some of our tram journeys.

“We apologise for the inconveniences this may cause and thank you for your understanding during difficult times.”

It comes after transport bosses said they needed to alter a number of bus services across the resort due to a lack of drivers.

“At the moment we have a shortage of bus drivers, which means we are unable to provide the frequency of services we would like to,” bosses said.

“This is because the logistics and transport industry across the UK is experiencing a shortage of drivers and has driver vacancy rates of up to 20 per cent.”
A number of trams and buses were cancelled due to an ongoing shortage of drivers.

A number of trams and buses were cancelled due to an ongoing shortage of drivers.

James Carney, Blackpool Transport’s finance and commercial director, said the cuts were “regrettable” but hoped to increase the number of drivers in the future.

“We have been confronted with a change in the labour market that has come on very quickly, caused by the pandemic and the rise of a lot of online shopping,” he said.

“There are opportunities for people in jobs that they didn’t think of previously, but the economy will adjust.”

The following trams will not be running today:

6.30am from Starr Gate

7.33am from Fleetwood

8pm from Starr Gate

9.03pm Fleetwood

10.50pm from Starr Gate to Little Bispham

11.34pm Little Bispham to Starr Gate

The following journeys will not run on the Service 1 bus:

7.50am – Fleetwood to Starr Gate

8.35am – Starr Gate to Fleetwood

9.05am – Starr Gate to Fleetwood

9.50am – Fleetwood to Starr Gate

10.20am – Fleetwood to Starr Gate

11.05am – Starr Gate to Fleetwood

11.35am – Starr Gate to Fleetwood

12.05am – Starr Gate to Fleetwood

1.05pm – Starr Gate to Fleetwood

1.20pm – Fleetwood to Starr Gate

2.20pm – Fleetwood to Starr Gate

2.35pm – Starr Gate to Fleetwood

3.50pm – Fleetwood to Starr Gate

5.05pm – Starr Gate to Fleetwood

6.20pm – Fleetwood to Cleveleys



Lytham exhibition to mark 135th anniversary of lifeboat disaster

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The 135th anniversary of the Mexico lifeboat disaster off the Fylde coast occurs later this year – and is to be commemorated next week with an exhibition at Lytham Heritage Centre.


The tragic events of December 9, 1886 surrounding the lifeboats involved in the saving of the German craft the Mexico remains, all these years later, the worst such calamity in terms of loss of life in the history of the RNLI, and initiated the first-ever street collection for charity.

The Mexico was a barque that left Liverpool on December 5, 1886 bound for Ecuador, but in gale force winds and squally snow showers she ran aground a few days later on treacherous sandbanks in the Ribble estuary.

Lytham’s lifeboat, the Charles Biggs, successfully rescued those on board, but the entire crew of the St Annes lifeboat, the Laura Janet, and all but two of the Southport lifeboat were lost, when their vessels capsized while attempting to help the stricken ship in heavy seas.

The Mexico memorial on St Annes promenade landmark Heritage Centre set to reopen

Ten years ago, the 125th anniversary was marked by a service at St John’s Church in Lytham attended by the local RNLI officials and crew active at the time.

The exhibition, which will be on display from Tuesday, October 12 to Sunday, November 28 at the Centre on Henry Street, which re-opened this summer after extensive refurbishment.

It will feature artistic depictions of the disaster and a wealth of information about what happened on that fateful night. Donations will be welcome.

The Centre is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10am to 4pm.

The lives lost in the Mexico disaster are commemorated in a memorial on St Annes seafront.

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Woman in her 70s rushed to hospital after car crashes into home in Cleveleys

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A woman in her 70s was taken to hospital after a car collided into a home in Cleveleys.


Fire crews from Bispham and Fleetwood were called to a road traffic collision in Beryl Avenue at around 12.15pm yesterday (October 4).

A car had smashed into a domestic property, injuring one person.

Firefighters worked to make the scene safe while paramedics tended to the casualty.

A woman was taken to hospital after a car collided into a home in Beryl Avenue, Cleveleys.

A woman was taken to hospital after a car collided into a home in Beryl Avenue, Cleveleys.

BMW driver hospitalised with ‘major injuries’ after colliding into home in Poult…

A spokesman for North West Ambulance Service said: “We took a woman in her 70s to hospital.

“I don’t have any details I can give you about her condition.”

Fire crews were in attendance for around 20 minutes.



Blackpool Tower to be lit up for Guide Dogs’ anniversary

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Blackpool Tower will be lit up yellow and dark blue this week to help celebrate the 90th birthday of the Guide Dogs charity.


It all started in 1931 when two intrepid women who had heard about assistance dog training in Europe and America started Guide Dogs from a lock up garage on the Wirral.

Muriel Crooke and Rosamund Bond trained the first four dogs, who were paired with veterans of the first world war blinded by wounds or gas.

The dogs – Flash, Folly, Judy and Meta – gave those men immediate independence and that was the start of the charity so instantly recognisable today.

Members of the Guide Dogs Fylde Coast group

Members of the Guide Dogs Fylde Coast group

Local Guide Dog users and supporters are also marking the 90th anniversary by taking part in informal ‘Glo-walkies’ on Blackpool Promenade to help celebrate and raise money.

The Fylde Coast group has also had a fundraising stall in Houndshill shopping centre, one of their first public events since Covid restrictions were lifted.

Guide Dogs North West spokesman Shirley Morgan said: “We are having buildings lit for us around the UK and the Tower will be lit for Guide Dogs on Thursday October 7 – part of a month of celebrations and hopefully a very clear reminder of what Guide Dogs does.

“We have many guide dog users on the Fylde coast, but the charity supports adults and children with sight loss in many ways. Help from Guide Dogs doesn’t only come with a cold wet nose!

“Lockdown had a huge impact on Guide Dogs. Like most charities, it saw a drop in community income, but the important task of socialising puppies and training guide dogs was also slowed, meaning that waiting times for a guide dog have increased.

“Now the charity wants to get back on track and hopes that the GD90 logo on the Tower on Thursday will be a powerful reminder of the work it does, not just in the North West, but throughout the UK.”

While many aspects of its service have changed dramatically over 90 years, some things remain the same. Shirley added: “The impact of being told that you are losing your sight is the same as it was 90 years ago – frightening and isolating. That’s why our reason for being here is still the same; we want people with sight loss to live the life they choose.

“It’s why we work with local authorities and transport providers to ensure that the needs of those with vision impairment are considered when it comes to redevelopment. Guide Dogs has been lobbying for more robust rules around the use of e-scooters, especially on pavements, and for more awareness around the rights of guide dog users to access shops and restaurants.

“In our 90th anniversary year we really hope to forge new links across communities to spread the word about what Guide Dogs does, perhaps through our speakers who visit schools, or by inviting groups to visit our regional Guide Dogs Training Centre at Atherton.

“Our Fylde Coast supporter group is also on the look out for new members and would love to hear from anyone interested in getting involved.”

Gill Studden from St Annes is co-ordinator of the Guide Dogs Fylde Coast group and hopes many people and dogs will take up the Glo Walkies challenge during October. The Glo Walkies route is North Pier to The Sandcastle Waterpark, in either direction and co-ordinator Gill Studden is eager to get as many people involved as possible..

She said: “We welcome runners, walkers, toddlers, pram pushers, dog walkers, wheelchair and mobility scooter users and if you want to dress up with Glow items that’s great.

“Having a month to complete the challenge means you can choose the weather and fit it around your own schedule. Some of us will walk on Friday October 8, beginning at North Pier at 7pm.

“You don’t have to register but please take some photographs at the start and finish and share them with us at our Fylde Coast Guide Dogs Facebook page. We have a Justgiving page for donations and sponsorship too. It’s great being out and about again after all the restrictions of lockdown – come and join us!”

Details at

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Pensioners fear they will lose their homes in battle over site fees increase

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Pensioners at a residential caravan park say their lives are being made a misery and they fear they will lose their homes in a dispute with the new owners of their site.


Caravan owners at the Westend Residential Park off Blackpool Road near Kirkham say they have been hit with a huge increase in site fees by Hill Brothers Residential and Leisure Parks and feel they are being bullied.

Fylde MP Mark Menzies has intervened in the dispute and says he is very concerned about the way the residents, most over 70 and many infirm, have been treated.

The residents say the demands from site bosses means the fees rocketed by almost 100 per cent, far higher than recommended increases allowed in law, and that the park looks like a building site as it has had no improvements carried out for years.

Residents at the Westend Residential park off Blackpool Road near Kirkham say they fear they will lose their homes after site fees rockets by 100 per cent

Residents at the Westend Residential park off Blackpool Road near Kirkham say they fear they will lose their homes after site fees rockets by 100 per cent

The company, which has more than 14 parks across the north, bought the Fylde site in December 2018 and in November 2019 called an ad-hoc meeting with most of the residents at a hotel in Morecambe where the firm has its headquarters.

The residents say the meeting went on for six hours during which they were pressured into signing new contracts after being told existing contracts were “null and void” and they could face eviction.

One of the residents, Alan Haworth, 74, who has lived at Westend for six years with his wife Jean, said the residents were desperate.

He said: “We have people over 80 years old living here, who should be enjoying a quiet retirement, but we are frightened we are going to lose our homes and are having to fight.”

They say that new owners of the site have not carried out enough improvements to justify a big rise in fees

They say that new owners of the site have not carried out enough improvements to justify a big rise in fees

He said the residents have taken the owners to a tribunal in Manchester, which has been delayed due to the effects of the pandemic, but the owners have since threatened them with county court instead.

Mr Haworth said: “This was a hastily arranged meeting at a hotel in Morecambe. Not everyone on the site got an invitation. But we passed word around and nearly all went up, sharing cars.

“When we got there Richard Hill from the owners and Peter Ball from Prestige Trading Company the park managers addressed us. Mr Hill told us that the previous contract we had with the old owners was now null and void and that residents were liable for eviction. As an alternative we could sign a new contract but that involved a ground rent increase of almost 100 per cent. It means monthly fees go from £148 to £295 which is too high.

“Those who asked for time to consider or talk it over with their lawyers were told that failure to sign immediately would result in eviction or at the very least, an agreement on even less favourable terms later. We all ended up signing. We later realised this was foolish and so we contacted the Independent Park Homes Advisory Service who told us that what we had been told at the meeting was wrong.

They add that some parts of the site are in a poor state of repair

They add that some parts of the site are in a poor state of repair

“We believe we were pressured into signing under duress. We then wrote to Prestige to tell them we would continue paying fees at the old rate not the new one and that’s what we have been doing ever since.

“We have gone to the tribunal to have those November 19 agreements declared invalid, but lawyers from the owners have threatened to take us to county court for not paying the new rate. We are all pensioners, some not very well at all, we cannot afford court fees and lawyers’ fees. Now we are getting demands for arrears of over £3,000 which is very frightening.”

He added that under the Mobile Homes Act of 2013 site owners should give residents 28 days notice of an increase in fees and are not supposed to increase fees by more than the RPI rate of inflation, unless huge improvement works have been carried out to the site.

He added: “They clearly do not want the older people on this site. They want us out. They clearly think this is a luxury site like Ribby Hall, but it isn’t. No proper work has been done for years and the electricity supply needs looking at. The supply boxes are not secured and one, which kept tripping out, has had work done on it with wires everywhere that does not look safe.”

Fylde MP Mark Menzies has written to the owners on the resident's behalf

Fylde MP Mark Menzies has written to the owners on the resident’s behalf

An elderly woman resident, who was too frightened to be named, said: “These last two years have been a nightmare. The pressure they put us under is terrible. We have written to them registered post since about the contract but get no reply. We just get demands for payment.

“I can’t afford to pay these new fees and I am frightened of losing my home.”

Another elderly man said: “We are stuck. People don’t think they can sell their homes here because they won’t get a reasonable price because of all this. We just don’t know what to do and are waiting for the tribunal to decide.”

Fylde MP Mark Menzies has written to the company but said he had not had a reply.

He said: “I was deeply concerned worried to hear about the ad-hoc meeting called in Morecambe.

“According to the Mobile Homes Act, which the Government introduced to stop site owners inflating prices, the fees should rise by no more than the retail price index every year unless there has been substantial changes to the level of amenities on the site. There appear to have been little or no changes to the amenities, and the owners have not yet finished the site.

The site was bought by Hill Brothers Residential and Leisure Parks in December 2018

The site was bought by Hill Brothers Residential and Leisure Parks in December 2018

“I wrote to the owners who are yet to respond to my letter, and I have alerted Fylde Council to a number of potential planning issues on the site.”

Fylde Council confirmed they had received several complaints about the site.

A spokesman said: “We are aware of the challenges at the site with reference to the increase in site fees and that the matter is being considered by a tribunal, outside the scope of Fylde Council – there is a process for challenging fees which is being followed.

“We have visited the site recently and have obtained an electrical safety report which is receiving further consideration. We can confirm that a number of complaints have been received which are also being individually reviewed and are receiving consideration.”

A spokesman for the Manchester tribunals said: “We can confirm we have received cases relating to the Westend Residential Park. It is a very early stage.”

Blackpool Gazette asked Hill Brothers Residential and Leisure Parks for a comment but none was offered.



Knife was ‘ornamental’ ex-heroin addict claims after being caught with blade in Blackpool

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An ex-drug addict was caught with an “ornamental” knife he had just bought from a resort shop when he was stopped by police.


Former heroin user Sean Baxter told officers he wanted to put the blade on the wall of his flat in Saville Road, which stretches from Bloomfield Road in central Blackpoolto Waterloo Road in South Shore.

But they didn’t believe the serial crook, 38, who has 43 previous convictions, Blackpool Magistrates’ Court was told.

They charged him with having the knife in public – a charge he admitted when appearing in the dock yesterday.

Knives being sold inside The Joke Shop, Waterloo Road, South Shore

Knives being sold inside The Joke Shop, Waterloo Road, South Shore

The same day, The Gazette revealed how The Joke Shop in Waterloo Road was selling a number of Rambo-style knifes, sparking a debate about their sale.Bosses at the shop, which used to be in Central Drive before moving ahead of the £300m Blackpool Central redevelopment, said the blades sold there were not sharpened and intended only as decorative.

“The police came in two days ago and everything was fine except one thing, which was a pen-knife with a Batman sign on it,” one worker said.

“We can’t see anything illegal or we would lose [our licence].”

The court was not told where specifically Baxter bought his knife and there is no suggestion he got it at The Joke Shop, which said it refuses shady punters.

A man was arrested on suspicion of having an offensive weapon after a baseball bat was found by police in Fleetwood, police said

A man was arrested on suspicion of having an offensive weapon after a baseball bat was found by police in Fleetwood, police said

The shop was also found to be selling a barbed wire-wrapped Walking Dead-style ‘Lucille’ baseball bat, similar to one found in a car in Fleetwood last week. Police arrested a 33-year-old Cleveleys man.

Baxter’s lawyer, Brett Chappell, said: “He has a past stained with crime caused by his addiction to heroin.

“He no longer has that addiction and is trying to turn round his life.”

Baxter was given a 26-week prison sentence suspended for a year.

He was also ordered to pay £213 costs.



Blackpool set for new Indian restaurant at site of women’s clothing shop

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

Plans to convert the former shop in Highfield Road into a new restaurant have been approved


The proposed signage for the new restaurant
The proposed signage for the new restaurant (Image: Blackpool Council)

A new Indian restaurant is set to open in Blackpool.

An application from Mr and Mrs Morris and approved by Blackpool Council reveals plans for the former Gold Boutique shop at 107 Highfield Road.

The premises, in the middle of a row of commercial premises including shops, offices and takeaways, is to be converted into an Indian restaurant called A se Anar.

The plans reveal the restaurant will seat 19 people and will include a bar area, kitchen and toilets. The first floor will continue to be used as a separate residential flat.

With reference to the potential noise impact of the new restaurant the council’s planning officer states: “There is existing permanent residential accommodation located above the unit, therefore there is the potential for the scheme to have a negative impact on residential amenity. However, the site falls within a busy district centre and as such a higher level of noise disturbance and activity is an intrinsic and unavoidable element of living in the area.

“The previous use of the unit was as a shop and the neighbouring ground floor units are also in commercial uses, notably a restaurant and takeaway. Therefore there is little reason to assume that the change of use to a restaurant would generate any more noise disturbance than what already exists.”

The officer goes on to recommend permission be granted and states: “As set out above, the scheme is considered to represent sustainable development and no other material planning considerations have been identified that would outweigh this assessment. On this basis, planning permission should be approved.”

No objections were raised about the plans and the council has now formally granted permission.



Blackpool’s Winter Gardens Wonderland with Christmas markets and Santa’s grotto

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There’s be a Santa’s grotto and Bavarian-style Christmas markets at the Winter Gardens


Winter Gardens Blackpool
Winter Gardens Blackpool (Image: Submitted)

Family event Winter Gardens Wonderland is set to sleigh ride into Blackpool for the festive season.

The wintry treat will have a Santa’s grotto and magical live entertainment, while visitors can browse the wooden chalets at the Bavarian-style Christmas markets.

The festivities will take place indoors and outdoors from November 26 to January 2.

The grotto, which will also have live reindeer, is already open for bookings, with each child requiring their own time slot.

Each visit includes a meeting Father Christmas, a gift and free photograph and frame with the man himself as part of the £15 entry fee.

To add to the winter fun in the seaside town Tower Headland will be home to a free ice skating rink, where you’ll also find simulated snowfalls, cosy log cabins, a magical forest, festive light projection shows and special Santa tram rides in the shadow of the magnificent Blackpool Tower.

“Renowned for its unique location, the Blackpool Winter Gardens is the perfect venue for a traditional Bavarian-style Christmas Market,” event organisers say.

“Complete with wooden chalets and a bustling atmosphere, Indoor & outdoor traders, prepare to be amazed as we present a fun filled event for the whole family this festive period. Featuring incredible live entertainment, amazing food and a magical Santa’s Grotto, Winter Gardens Wonderland is a MUST this festive period.”

To book a timeslot with Santa, click here.



Fleetwood motorcyclist died from ‘multiple injuries’ after head on smash, inquest told

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A motorbiker from Fleetwood died from horrific injuries suffered in a head on smash, an inquest was told.


Trevor Paul Cowell, 56, of Hathaway Road, died near Guthrie’s Memorial on the Mountain Road, Isle of Man, on Monday afternoon.

An inquest into the death of Mr Cowell, who is from the island originally, was opened and adjourned by coroner Jayne Hughes yesterday.

Mrs Hughes said a report from a paramedic called to the scene revealed Mr Cowell had been in a “head on” crash.

The fatal crash happened on Monday near Guthrie's Memorial - the highest section of the Isle of Man's Snaefell Mountain Course, used for motorsport racing (Picture: Google)

The fatal crash happened on Monday near Guthrie’s Memorial – the highest section of the Isle of Man’s Snaefell Mountain Course, used for motorsport racing (Picture: Google)

She also confirmed that consultant pathologist Dr Long’s initial finding was that he died from multiple injuries suffered in the collision.

Mrs Hughes extended her condolences to Mr Cowell’s family and friends before adjourning the inquest so a police investigation can be completed.

No date for its resumption was given.



Blackpool trams to get new digital radios thanks to Leyland technology firm

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Tram and bus passengers in Blackpool could get a better service thanks to a new digital communications systems installed by a Lancashire company.


It means drivers will be in better contact with HQ and can react to breakdowns, accidents and road-works to keep services on time.

Blackpool Transport Services, which operates buses and trams throughout Lancashire’s Fylde Coast, is replacing its old analogue radios with a digital radio system being designed and installed by communications specialists TES Communication Solutions, of Leyland.

The works will include a new independent and resilient wide-area voice and data infrastructure so that operations will carry on even in the event of power cuts or cellular outages.

Blackpool's trams and buses are to get new digital radios thanks to TES Communications of Leyland

Blackpool’s trams and buses are to get new digital radios thanks to TES Communications of Leyland

The new radio system will include a multi-terminal digital control desk to monitor and manage the vehicle fleet.

Each vehicle, including Palladium buses and the modern Flexity2 trams will have the on-board radio installed, while inspectors will be equipped with mobile devices to allow them to communicate by voice and data to the main control desk or directly to vehicles.

This means drivers will be equipped with better information, faster, and be able to relay this to customers – offering an improved journeys.

The system has been designed for passenger and driver safety by using a dedicated control channel that will always prioritise emergency calls, to allow immediate help, while all emergency calls are recorded for evidence should they be needed.

The upgraded system will also allow Blackpool Transport buses to communicate with the central control centre when operating out of the greater Blackpool and Fylde area, allowing the operator to provide more long distance services such as rail replacement buses.

Similar technology has already been installed by TES Communication Solutions for the West Midlands Metro as it undergoes major expansion and the new system will also allow Blackpool Transport to better manage its fleet of vehicles as the tram network expands to a new terminus at Blackpool North train station.

Wayne Smith, operations manager at Blackpool Transport said: “Our relationship with TES and our work to upgrade and future-proof our communications system is part of our wider strategic plans to embrace digital technology and continue to offer the very best for our customers and our staff. Being able to better support our front line staff with additional real time information is a really positive step forward.”

Steve Smith, managing director of TES, said: “This is a huge upgrade on the system and means we can ensure coverage geographically as the network expands. It also means Blackpool Transport has the radio capacity to grow its services while improving driver and passenger safety.

“We have enjoyed a long-term relationship with Blackpool Transport since installing their original system. Our 24/7 managed service allows us to offer support whenever it is needed while also continually looking at improvements that can meet the company’s business priorities.”

TES Communication Solutions, based in Leyland, Lancashire, installs and maintains a range of digital and analogue systems, including designing bespoke solutions for transport and infrastructure systems around the world where there is a need for dedicated communications including Taiwan, Guatemala, Manchester Metrolink, UBS Bank and Astra Zeneca.