IN PICTURES: Christmas wonderland opens at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens

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Find your festive spirit at the Winter Gardens this Christmas!

 

The famous Winter Gardens has been transformed into a festive wonderland, complete with fairground rides, Bavarian-style Christmas market stalls, and a Santa’s Grotto with twinkling fairy lights.

 

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Festive food-bank appeal was a success, said Blackpool presenter Hayley Kay

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BBC Lancashire’s Hayley Kay was ‘blown away’ by food bank donations at The Sandcastle Waterpark event

 

Organisers were ‘blown away’ by generosity at a food bank Christmas appeal this weekend.

The eighth annual Locals Helping Locals for Christmas event took place on November 26 at the Sandcastle Waterpark, when kind-hearted people brought bags of food while being treated to live festive music.

BBC radio Lancashire presenter, Hayley Kay, organised the event. She said: “I have once again been left speechless by the generosity of the Fylde Coast. The event was a huge success.”

L-R Angela Molyneux from Locals Helping Locals, Bev Lucas CEO of the BPL food bank, Neil Reid Chair of the BPL food bank, Hayley Kay from Locals Helping Locals & Mark Wilkins Marketing Manager from Sandcastle Waterpark.

L-R Angela Molyneux from Locals Helping Locals, Bev Lucas CEO of the BPL food bank, Neil Reid Chair of the BPL food bank, Hayley Kay from Locals Helping Locals & Mark Wilkins Marketing Manager from Sandcastle Waterpark.

Donations came from individuals and local businesses, including the Sandcastle Waterpark, Hy Hotels, Blackpool Sixth Form and the Friends of Solaris Centre.

Neil Reid, Chair of the Blackpool Food Bank, said ‘These items will go such a long way in helping the most vulnerable in our community over the next few months. Thank you to everyone who has donated and supported this event.’

Hayley Kay launches festive appeal for Blackpool Food Bank

Blackpool born Hayley said; “Blackpool people need very little encouragement to give back to the community. The food bank is crucial in our community, especially this year. Nobody likes to think of people in their town struggling.”

More details, photographs and videos are available on our Facebook page ‘Locals Helping Locals at Christmas’

 

Plans for new 120-space car park approved at Blackpool business park

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A new 120-bay car park with associated access, fencing, street lighting and drainage facilities has been given the green light by Fylde Council.

 

The car park will be built on land adjacent to Olympic Court, Boardmans Way, on the Whitehills Business Park in Blackpool, where employees must routinely park on pavements due to a lack of available spaces.

Plans were put forward by Henco International Ltd, which owns the land, in July. A planning statement submitted on the company’s behalf said: “The Olympic Court development was completed in April 2008. Parking onsite was completed in accordance with the approved drawings.

“During in the intervening years this site and the Whitehills Business Park area in general has become more developed and more occupied with businesses and their staff. The problem relating to parking has been growing exponentially with the success of the business park. Onstreet parking throughout the business park has become a problem and concern not only for access, but is now becoming safety concern. The need for additional parking has become evident.

The area where the 120 bay car park will be built

The area where the 120 bay car park will be built

“Henco International Ltd has recently acquired the land adjacent to Olympic Court and is proposing use 0.75 of an acre of this land to provide 120 overspill parking spaces for the benefit of the Olympic Court development and the wider estate.

“The site will be accessed directly from the Olympic Court development. All the spaces will be allocated to business users of the site on an annual basis; the site will be managed by Henco International Ltd who are conveniently based in Olympic Court.”

 

 

Blackpool men and teens arrested after police chase stolen Land Rover on M6

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Two men and a pair of teenage boys from Blackpool have been arrested after a police chase on the M6.

 

Officers gave chase after they spotted a stolen Land Rover travelling south on the M6 past Preston at around 3.20pm yesterday (Tuesday, November 23).

Police checks revealed that the 4X4 had been reported stolen from a home in the Fylde village of Great Eccleston earlier in the day.

Officers pursued the Land Rover as it came off the M6 at junction 31 (Samlesbury Interchange) and continued along the A59 and A677 towards Blackburn.

Police gave chase after they spotted a stolen Land Rover travelling south on the M6 at around 3.20pm yesterday (Tuesday, November 23)

Police gave chase after they spotted a stolen Land Rover travelling south on the M6 at around 3.20pm yesterday (Tuesday, November 23)

It was brought to a stop in Preston New Road, Mellor Brook where police arrested the driver and his three passengers.

Two men, aged 20 and 18, and two boys, aged 17 and 16, all from Blackpool, were arrested on suspicion of burglary and taken into custody.

The stolen Land Rover was recovered and return to its owner.

 

 

Police block alcohol licence for Blackpool food store

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The owner of a Blackpool food store has been forbidden from selling alcohol amid police warnings it could lead to more booze-fuelled violence in an area where there were more than 700 assaults in a recent 12 month period.

 

A council licensing panel refused an application by Gheorghe Camarasan for a liquor licence at Nova International Supermarket on Central Drive after hearing there were already six premises selling alcohol within a few minutes walk.

These include Tesco Express, Star Polish Food Store, Premier Store, McColls, Costcutters and Central News.

PC Guy Harrison, of Blackpool police, warned the hearing: “My main concern is we would be looking at yet another off licence in an area with a huge number of anti-social behaviour reports and alcohol related violence.”

Nova International food store

Nova International food store

A report submitted to the panel said the police had received 1,792 reports of anti-social behaviour within Bloomfield ward, which the application premises sits in, between September 2020 and September 2021.

Over the same time 729 assaults had been reported, and “a huge number of these can be directly contributed to alcohol consumption.”

Central Drive is also within the cummulative impact area, meaning the council’s policy is to control the number of off licences allowed to open.

Mr Camarasan, who had applied to sell alcohol between 7am and 11pm daily, said he had invested all his money building up his business which sells food from around the world.

After taking over empty premises, he now wanted to sell alcohol in response to requests from customers.

Mr Camarasan said high value drinks would be stored behind the counter and all customers would be asked to prove their age, with a Challenge 25 policy in place.

However the panel refused the application, saying “the applicant had not satisfied them that the licensing objectives would not be undermined if they granted this application.”

The decision notice added: “This is an application for a licence for a supermarket in an area, which suffers from anti-social behaviour and street drinking/alcohol related crime with a number of similar stores in the area.”

Mr Camarasan has 21 days in which to appeal.

 

 

Boris has ‘sold out the north with dementia tax and Northern Power lie’, Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner claims during visit to Blackpool

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Boris Johnson has ‘sold out the north with the dementia tax’ and the Northern Powerhouse is a ‘lie’, Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner claimed during a visit to Blackpool.

 

Speaking at her party’s North West Conference yesterday, the Ashton under Lyne MP accused the Prime Minister of failing to deliver after it was announced last week that the eastern leg of HS2 between the Midlands and Leeds would be cut, while a promised Northern Powerhouse Rail link between Leeds and Manchester would run partly on existing tracks.

The Government defended the plans, saying they would provide faster journeys and more train capacity.

In a speech, Ms Rayner called the plans a “disgraceful sell-out”, and the Northern Powerhouse itself “a lie”.

“We’ve got the jobs of the future right here in the North but our transport links are still stuck in the last century,” she said.

There was also outrage across the political spectrum last week over the news that a planned cap on social care costs would be less generous than expected.

MPs criticised the change to the £86,000 cap to only include individual payments, and not the contributions of local authorities, because it will cost poorer recipients more in assets than the wealthy.

Downing Street initially declined to say whether the reforms would fulfil a Tory pledge at the last general election to guarantee “nobody needing care should be forced to sell their home to pay for it”.

Angela Rayner speaking during a Labour conference in Blackpool on Saturday, November 27, 2021 (Picture: Dan Martino for The Gazette)

Angela Rayner speaking during a Labour conference in Blackpool on Saturday, November 27, 2021 (Picture: Dan Martino for The Gazette)

But Mr Johnson apparently downgraded the commitment last week, telling his Cabinet “no-one will be forced to sell a home they or their spouse is living in as it will not be counted as an asset”, according to No 10’s account of the meeting.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman insisted the policy was the “correct approach” when asked if the remark was an admission some may have to sell their homes to pay for care.

But Ms Rayner said the reforms, dubbed a “working class dementia tax” by Labour, are equivalent to “robbing Ashton to protect Ashford” and “hammering Hyde to help out Henley”.

“It will force pensioners in the North and pensioners on the lowest incomes and with the least wealth to sell their homes. And ministers are doing this to protect millionaires in their mansions in London and the South East,” she said.

Angela Rayner poses inside the Winter Gardens in Blackpool on Saturday, November 27, 2021 (Picture: Dan Martino for The Gazette)

Angela Rayner poses inside the Winter Gardens in Blackpool on Saturday, November 27, 2021 (Picture: Dan Martino for The Gazette)

“This con will hammer people living in houses worth less than £186,000. There are 107 constituencies in the north of England where the average house price is less than £186,000. There are zero in London and the South East.

“So let’s call this what it is. This is an inheritance tax on the North. This is an inheritance tax on the poorest pensioners to protect the wealth of millionaires.”

And speaking to The Gazette, Ms Rayner said: “We are trying to hold the Government to account.

“People across the North West are really angry they thought he would deliver and he hasn’t.

“Boris Johnson has lied to the people of the North East and West just like he lied about Brexit.

“He isn’t fit for purpose as a Prime Minister.”

She said the government was also ignoring communities across Lancashire and the small cities and towns of the North struggling with rail infrastructure that is still “stuck in the last century”.

A Government spokesperson said: “Our £96 billion investment into the railways of the north and Midlands is an ambitious and deliverable plan to transform journeys and bring benefits 10 years sooner than under previous plans.

“Sticking dogmatically to previous plans would see passengers waiting decades for change, and condemn many communities to no improvements at all.

“Instead, we are delivering Northern Powerhouse Rail, which will see high-speed services running from Manchester to Leeds in around 33 minutes, from Liverpool to Manchester in around 35 minutes, double capacity to Leeds and more than treble capacity to Liverpool. We’ve also committed £200 million to look at the most effective way to run HS2 trains to Leeds and start work on a new West Yorkshire metro system.

“This record investment will bring communities of all sizes across the North and Midlands closer together, create jobs and genuinely rebalance opportunity across this country.”

 

 

Parents of five-day-old baby who died due to medical errors raise more than £10,000 for new monitors in his memory

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The parents of a baby boy who died five days after his birth have raised over £10,000 for the neonatal intensive unit that cared for him.

 

Finnley James Adam Morris was born ‘floppy, with no signs of breathing’ at Blackpool Victoria Hospital on October 1, 2020, to Adam and Emma Morris.

Doctors carried out ventilation breaths and chest compressions, however, they did not attempt to intubate the newborn until 42 minutes after he was born, when his condition had already become unsurvivable.

Finnley was transferred to the Royal Preston’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit high dependency ward where died on the October 5 2020.

Monitors like these have been bought

Monitors like these have been bought

>>>Click here to read about Finnley’s dad’s fight for justice.

In his memory, and as a thank you to the neonatal team that cared for Finnley, Adam and Emma set up the #FiftyForFinnley challenge, raising £10,300.

Fundraisers were given the challenge to complete 50 kilometres or 50 miles throughout the month of November (2020) in any way the person involved could, be it running, walking, swimming or cycling.

The money raised has enabled Baby Beat at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to purchase Respiration Monitors for apnoea detection in babies on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where premature and sick babies are more at risk of developing apnoea, which is when a baby stops breathing.

Alongside the Morris family’s fundraising challenges, an additional £9,000 has been raised by Baby Beat to fund a total of 30 Respiration Monitors with support from: Springfields Employees Medical Research and Charity Trust Fund; Tesco Bags of Help; Risley Medical Research and Charity Trust Fund; the Shepherd Street Trust; and the Felicity Wilde Charitable Trust.

The Morris family said: “We are extremely proud of the achievements of everyone involved in the #fiftyforfinnley challenge and the money that has been raised in Finnley’s name.

“To know that he will be helping both children and parents alike in their time of need is enormously comforting.

“To have lost our son in such unnecessary and sad circumstances has devastated us to say the least, but to know that there has been some positivity to have come out of our situation for others, and for Finnley to have made his own little legacy, has made us proud beyond words.

“We are truly grateful for everyone that got involved in the challenge or donated and helped to raise money for such a worthy cause.”

Baby Beat Manager, Cathy Skidmore, said: “We would like to wholeheartedly thank the Morris family and friends for their act of generosity in such sad circumstances; it is truly appreciated and will make a really big difference to the babies cared for in the neonatal unit. We are also very grateful to all the trust which, by awarding us grants, have enabled Baby Beat to purchase a total of 30 monitors.”

Inquest

At a four-day inquest into his death in October, coroner Alan Wilson ruled that Finnley would not have died had he not been neglected by doctors, who failed to effectively give him oxygen until it was too late.

The hospital has now apologised to Finnley’s parents for the mistakes made in their baby’s care.

 

 

Temperatures to plummet to zero in Blackpool as snow hits resort

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People can anticipate a chilly night in Blackpool as temperatures are forecast to hit zero after flurries of snow buffeted the area this morning.

 

Gritters on the roads in Lancashire. Picture by Lancashire road police

Gritters on the roads in Lancashire. Picture by Lancashire road police

The Fylde coast was not included in a yellow weather warning for snow and ice issued by the Met Office for Scotland and parts of North West England this morning.

However, wintry showers hit the coast this morning, continuing until noon. In other parts of Lancashire, gritters were sent out to combat icy roads, with Lancashire Road Police advising drivers to reduce speeds and only make journeys if necessary.

Risks of icy patches on pavements and cycle paths, and possible increasing journey times for buses and trains were also reported by weather forecasters.

Temperatures on the Fylde coast are predicted to fall overnight from around two degrees celsius to freezing point by 4am tomorrow morning.

 

 

Blind man from Blackpool sees ‘most beautiful girl’ for first time after eyesight restored

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The couple met on E-Harmony and even had a cinema date

 

Nathan Cummings with his girlfriend Samantha Maywood
Nathan Cummings with his girlfriend Samantha Maywood (Image: Nathan Cummings / SWNS)

A blind man who saw his girlfriend’s face for the first time after surgery restored his eye-sight said: “She’s one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met.”

Nathan Cummings, 24, started dating Samantha Maywood, 25, just months after chemotherapy used to treat a brain tumour left him blind in both eyes.

The treatment caused cataracts to form in his eyes robbing him of sight.

The couple met on internet dating site E-harmony earlier this summer and even went on cinema dates despite Nathan’s blindness.

But earlier this month, Nathan underwent laser surgery which partially restored his sight and he was able to look on Samantha’s face for the first time.

He said: “When I first met her, I was blind.

“I said to her: “I’m going to look after you.

“You’re probably the most beautiful person I have ever met.

“I still think that – even though I’ve got my eyesight back, I still think she’s one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met. She’s helped me out, even when I was blind.”

Nathan first went to doctors with concerns over his health when he lost his balance while at work just over two years ago.

A short time later, in November 2019, tests revealed that the Blackpool lad had a cancerous brain tumour, which was roughly the size of a ping pong ball.

Even though the chances of success were slim, surgeons operated on Nathan straight away for eight hours and managed to save his life.

But only a few months later on his birthday, December 30, he was once again close to death when he caught meningitis.

He then contacted sepsis on two separate while undergoing lifesaving chemotherapy in 2020, which subsequently caused him to go blind.

Nathan said: “I got cataracts through the chemotherapy because it was high-velocity chemo.

“I was blind for about a year.”

While undergoing operations to restore his vision, the 24-year-old met singleton Samantha Maywood, 25, on dating site E-harmony and the two started dating.

Nathan said: “When I signed up to E-harmony, I was looking and looking and looking, but I couldn’t find anybody from Blackpool.

“Then I saw Sam, and she was from Blackpool, and that’s how we got together.”

He added: “I thought I’d give it a go, see where it leads me.

“Her mum suggested that she do it – she’s never had a boyfriend in her life.

The clear connection between the two soon blossomed into a relationship.

Nathan said: “It was supposed to be just getting to know each other, then get together, but it just went straight to a relationship.”

Even though he couldn’t see her, they still tried to have a normal dating life, including going to the cinema on one occasion.

He said: “We went to see Fast and Furious 9.

“I walked in, and it was pitch black, and I couldn’t see anything.

He added: “I didn’t really want to see it – I took her to say thanks for helping me.”

During their initial dating life, Nathan said that Samantha “guided” him when they went out together.

But his hopes of seeing his girlfriend of four months rose after he underwent a series of operations to try to restore his vision.

He said: “I had two cataract surgeries, one where I didn’t get my sight back and another where I got my sight back, but it was still a bit blurry.

“Then I had laser eye treatment a couple of weeks after, and then I could basically see.”

Following the surgery on November 11, Nathan said he still felt his girlfriend was “the most beautiful person” he’d ever met.

He said: “When I first met her, I was blind, and I said to her: “’I’m going to look after you. You’re probably the most beautiful person I have ever met.'”

“I still think that – even though I’ve got my eyesight back, I still think she’s one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met.

“She’s helped me out, even when I was blind.”

He added: “That was the best feeling I have ever had, to be honest.

“It was my family as well, so it was the best feeling I have ever had, being able to see them again.

Despite regaining his independence, Nathan said he won’t be able to change the structure of his dating life for some time to come.

He said: “I haven’t been in hospital for any time this year, except for at the beginning of the year.

“But I’ve got a brain scan coming up in December, then I’ve got to go back for the results, so I don’t think I’ll be doing anything during then.”

 

 

Booking.com accused of misleading customers as couple ‘eaten alive by bed bugs’

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Booking.com have said they offer accommodation for all budgets

 

The Roker Hotel in Blackpool said "people are always looking for an excuse not to pay"
The Roker Hotel in Blackpool said “people are always looking for an excuse not to pay”

Booking.com have been accused of misleading customers after a couple claim they were “eaten alive by bed bugs” at the Roker Hotel in Blackpool.

After staying at the two-star hotel, Charlotte May shared a post to the Blackpool Nightmare Holidays Facebook group asking if “anyone else had problems” with both Booking.com and the Roker Hotel on the New South Promenade.

The owner of The Roker hotel has responded to claims that both Charlotte and her family were “eaten alive” during their stay – Roberto, owner, told Lancs Live that he believed guests were “making excuses” not to pay the cost of their stay. He said “otherwise everything is in order.”

 

Charlotte claimed that after being refunded by Roberto, she was then charged for two rooms through Booking.com.

Charlotte wrote: “He charged us at start of stay, he finally gave refund tried fobbing us off about bills high, only him there doing everything etc (not my problem), but then got home to find he was trying to charge me for both rooms again after giving refund to my other cards for the rooms through booking.com saying we hadn’t paid.

“So booking.com charging my card on file as obviously you agree to when you sign up with booking.com but you don’t expect health hazard and death trap hotels to be falsely advertised on their site.”

During her stay at The Roker Hotel, Charlotte shared photographs of food behind the bed, mould on the walls, brown stains on the bed sheets, out of date PAT tests and doors propped open by towels on the floor.

Food was found behind the bed at The Roker Hotel
Food was found behind the bed at The Roker Hotel

In a video also recorded and shared by Charlotte, small black bugs are seen to have gathered beneath the buttons on the mattress.

As she lifts the button, Charlotte can be heard saying: “Today’s date is the 14th of November, and they’re jumping. But there’s no bed bugs here at all, is there? And this is what we’ve all been bitten by.”

She also shared a photograph of her partner’s stomach, which was covered in bite marks.

Charlotte said "they're jumping" as she lifted the button on the mattress
Charlotte said “they’re jumping” as she lifted the button on the mattress

Charlotte would not be the first to allege the hotel of having bed bugs.

Another guest who left a review on TripAdvisor in November said: “The morning after we got there me and my wife were bitten by bed bugs and so too were our friends who went with us. They were in a different room on a different floor. When the owner was approached about the bed bug issues he said it’s not bed bugs it’s an allergy to the bedding which we said was unlikely not for all 4 of us to have the same issue. The owner said he would go and check the rooms.”

Alison M, a second guest who left a review on TripAdvisor, said: “Supposed to stay 2 nights. Could only stay 1. Room cold, felt damp, poor condition. Bed bugs found first morning – fortunately hadn’t slept in that bed (family room with 3 beds, only 2 of us). Owner rude when sent emails since.”

Roberto, the owner, said: “In this hotel, we give them everything for £30. We’re not saying we are the Hilton, we are a two-star hotel.”

Roberto denied the presence of bed bugs in the hotel but admitted he had spent over £1,200 a long time ago to make sure everything was perfectly fine.

On Booking.com, the Roker Hotel is rated 5.8 out of 10, branding it as “passable” accommodation.

Out of the seven categories rated by previous guests, The Roker is highly rated for its staff and location.

Its facilities are rated 5.8, its cleanliness 5.6, comfort 5.9, value for money 6.7 and its free wifi 6.0. It is considered a low score for Blackpool according to Booking.com.

Of the 768 reviews left by previous guests, 141 rate the hotel as ‘superb’ whilst 153 rate it as ‘very poor’.

Among its 215 ‘Good’ reviews, the cleanliness and dated interior of the hotel is most often cited as its downfall. It is otherwise considered “good value for money”.

The average cost for a double room, booked via Booking.com, is £33.

A spokesperson for Booking.com said: We offer the broadest selection of accommodation for all budgets, alongside thousands of reviews with this property scoring 5.8 out of 10 from previous guests.

“As part of our aim to facilitate smooth and enjoyable travel experiences, our customer service team is available 24/7 to answer questions and support before, during or after a trip, just as we have done in this case.

“Due to the customers’ dissatisfaction with their stay, the accommodation has acknowledged the complaint and processed the refund for both reservations.”

 

 

Pensioner thrown in the air in Blackpool when he was struck by a car

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

Matthew Jackson denies causing Paul Baker’s death by careless driving

 

Paul Baker died after being struck by a car on the zebra crossing in Kincraig Road
Paul Baker died after being struck by a car on the zebra crossing in Kincraig Road (Image: Google)

A 70-year-old man died after being struck by a car as he crossed a zebra crossing in Bispham, a court heard.

Matthew Jackson, 58, denies causing Paul Baker’s death by careless driving following the collision on September 22 2018.

Mr Baker suffered multiple injuries and died two weeks later at Royal Preston Hospital.

His family described him as “a Jack the Lad” who enjoyed life and attended church several times a week.

Kyra Badman, prosecuting, told Preston Crown Court Mr Baker stepped onto the zebra crossing outside Kincraig School shortly after 12.30pm on September 22.

Witnesses said he did not look before stepping out into the road.

Jackson, of Briarwood Drive, Blackpool, was at the wheel of his grey Honda civic, travelling at around the 30mph speed limit, when he collided with Mr Baker.

He later told officers he did not see the pedestrian.

CCTV taken from the school showed Jackson pull into the side of the road and go to assist Mr Baker, who was lying in the road.

Cyclist Keith Lloyd stopped his bike to help Jackson put Mr Baker into the recovery position. Police and paramedics were called to the scene.

Mr Baker was airlifted to Royal Preston Hospital but never regained consciousness and died on October 6.

His ex wife Anita Baker said: “Paul had previously had a stroke which altered his lifestyle and affected his health. Due to the stroke he had his driving licence revoked.”

Mrs Baker said she had been married to Mr Baker for over 20 years and they had four children together, although one son had died by suicide in his 30s.

She added: “Due to his health and the area he lived in he (Paul) did say in general conversation he did not want to go on. He never made any suicidal comments and never tried to harm himself.

“He wanted to go to Spain as he had friends living there.

“He enjoyed life and liked to get out and about. He was known in the local community as a nice and friendly person.”

John Bland was waiting at the bus stop on Kincraig Road at the time of the collision.

He said: “As I was waiting at the bus stop I saw a male flyying six or seven feet in the air. I saw a black car.

“I didn’t see the collision but I did see the male in the air after he had been struck. I didn;t see where he had come from but I did see he was walking on the zebra crossing. He landed about 20 feet from where he was struck.”

Mr Bland said he did not go over to the injured man as he has mobility difficulties and uses a stick, however he called emergency services and saw a man on a bike stop to help put the man into the recovery position.

Keith Lloyd said he was on his way to the Spar shop on his pedal cycle when he heard “a massive bang”.

He said he rushed over to the man and offered assistance while a woman held the injured man’s hand and searched for a pulse.

In a letter to the police he said: “On the day of the accident, at about 1230pm, the man Paul what got killed [sic], he seemed agitated, like he was needing a drink on the way down to the shop.

“15 seconds before the crash he shouted to me ‘what the fuck are you looking at?’

“He walked straight into the road without looking.”

Accident investigators said there were no defects with the car or the road and driving conditions were clear.

At 12.34 Jackson received a text message but there was no evidence he had opened it while at the wheel, the court heard.

He complied with roadside alcohol, drug and eyesight tests, which showed no problems.

Ms Badman outlined advice from the Highway Code about the use of zebra crossings for drivers and pedestrians.

She said: “The prosecution will say that the defendant Mr Jackson, driving his Honda, could not have been keeping a proper lookout, because if he had been keeping a proper lookout and had been paying attention he would have seen Mr Baker on the zebra crossing.

“The defendant did not see Mr Baker in time, and that is why sadly the collision occurred.”

(Proceeding)

 

 

Campaigners challenge council claims over Anchorsholme sea defences

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Campaigners who are calling for repairs to be made to Anchorsholme sea defences have hit back at council claims the wall is holding firm.

 

John McNicholas and Paul Hewitt, who run the Sea Defence FY5 Facebook page updating residents on the situation, say their concerns are the result of “regular observations”.

They warn “collapse of the wall is inevitable” as water ingress weakens the structure and creates voids inside, and add they “cannot agree with the conclusions drawn by the recent council inspection”.

They say stainless steel tubes were due to be inserted into the £27m wall in May 2020 by contractor Balfour Beatty “to assist drainage” but this has not yet been done.

Anchorsholme sea defences

Anchorsholme sea defences

Mr McNicholas of Bispham, and Mr Hewitt of Anchorsholme, add: “The council admit that as we approach together the eighth year of this alleged two year project, Balfour Beatty are now engaged in a 12 month survey to assess the walls problems.

“Clearly the matter is far from being resolved by any 12 month survey as the last six years of on and off repairs and remedial works bear testimony to.”

Earlier this month John Blackledge, Blackpool Council’s director for community and environmental services, said inspections in July and October did “not show any visible signs of deterioration to the sea wall or highway and it is providing a significant barrier to potential flooding.”

He said the sea defences were designed to let tidal and ground water into and out of the structure.

Mr Blackledge said Balfour Beatty had begun a 12 month assessment of the sea defences at the beginning of this year and the “current focus is to ensure that this drainage functions and performs reliably, and will continue to do so in the long term.”

Anchorsholme ward councillors Tony Williams and Paul Galley have also raised concerns about erosion of the sea wall at Anshorsholme which was finished in 2017.

 

 

Blackpool misses out on Levelling Up fund – leaving £7m gap in Hotel Indigo development of former Abingdon Street Post Office

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Blackpool’s bid for £20m from the government’s Levelling Up Fund has been rejected – leaving a £7m gap in funding for the £25m refurbishment of the former Abingdon Street Post Office.

 

The scheme by developers Ashall Projects to bring the Hotel Indigo brand to the resort, was granted planning permission on Tuesday November 16 with councillors warning the Grade II listed building had fallen into disrepair.

However the funding shortfall could now cast a shadow over the proposals, with the council unable to resubmit a bid to the Levelling Up fund until spring 2022 at the earliest.

Now town hall chiefs say they are looking at “different funding structures” for the project.

Artist's impression of the Hotel Indigo

Artist’s impression of the Hotel Indigo

Coun Mark Smith, cabinet member for enterprise, business and job creation said: “We were disappointed that the Levelling Up Fund bid was not approved first time round but Blackpool is still eligible for two Levelling Up Fund bids and is awaiting the launch of the second round of bidding which we currently anticipate will be in spring next year.

“Whilst we may resubmit the Post Office scheme as a second round bid, we are committed to seeking a way to ensure the delivery of this scheme and are now actively exploring with Ashall Projects other means of securing this development through different funding structures, in order to bring forward this transformational development and refurbishment of a prominent historic building in Blackpool town centre.”

Mark Ashall of Ashall Projects said: “We are disappointed that the levelling up fund application was not successful and we are currently reviewing our options with respect to funding arrangements.”

In her report, due to be presented to a full meeting of Blackpool Council on Wednesday, council leader Coun Lynn Williams says: “Blackpool submitted three bids with a total value of £20m, including £7m to cover a funding gap on the refurbishment and conversion of the former Post Office building for a branded boutique hotel.”

Coun Williams adds: “Unfortunately, we were notified that the Blackpool bid had been unsuccessful on 28 October and are due to attend a session to provide detailed feedback.

“I am sure members will share my disappointment that this part of the government’s Levelling Up agenda does not appear to extend to Blackpool.”

Councillors have approved plans for the Post Office to be converted into a 148-room Hotel Indigo and Indigo Suites.

They were told the condition of the building had deteriorated with significant water leaking into the building, the basement filled with water and gaping holes where some extensions had already been removed.

Blackpool’s Levelling Up bid also sought £9m for town centre road improvements including to ease congestion and improve the public realm between the Winter Gardens, the Houndshill extension and the Blackpool Central leisure development.

Another £4m was sought for redevelopment work and the creation of a new convention space with retail within the Olympia area of the Winter Gardens to complement the new conference centre under construction.

A total of 305 bids were submitted from across the country with 105 approved. A second round of bids is due to open in spring 2022.

 

 

Case for improving South Fylde rail line through Lytham and Blackpool Pleasure Beach is presented to Government

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A report commissioned to look at options to improve train services on the South Fylde line has been presented to the Department for Transport.

 

Fylde Council has submitted detailed findings which explore steps to improve local transport including the possibility of delivering half-hourly services between Blackpool South and Preston, along with measures that improve the reliability and punctuality of the service.

The South Fylde line, which goes through Lytham, St Annes and Blackpool Pleasure Beach, was reduced to a single track from Kirkham in the early 1980s and the report recommends the construction of a ‘passing loop’ which would double the service from the current one train per hour.

The report also identifies a range of other measures to improve the service including upgrading the level crossings at Moss Side as well as considering the South Fylde Line as a ‘test bed’ for the affordable electrification of secondary railway lines.

A South Fylde Line train at St Annes station

A South Fylde Line train at St Annes station

 

In addition, the report also discusses a possible second phase of development including linking the South Fylde line to the Blackpool Tramway.

Among the benefits expected from the improvements are increased visitor numbers to the south Fylde coast, the use of sustainable, decarbonised transport and tackling deprivation through better access to education and job opportunities as well as encouraging new businesses and tourism.

If the Department of Transport decides to take the ideas forward, a further detailed report may be commissioned to assess which options should be funded and delivered.

Known as the South Fylde Line Strategic Outline Business Case, the 55-page report identifies a wide range of issues associated with transport and connectivity.

It was commissioned after Mark Menzies, MP for Fylde, and Scott Benton, MP for Blackpool South, successfully secured funding from Round 2 of the UK Government’s Restoring Your Railway Ideas Fund.

The report, which also includes making Moss Side a ‘request stop’, identifies key transport problems on the South Fylde line including low service frequency, unreliability, long journey times, lack of capacity at peak times and the need to change at Preston for longer train journeys.

It also recognises the high levels of car use in south Fylde, which causes congestion and parking pressures, as well as the wider impact of transport on employment, education, tourism and commercial development opportunities as well as on people’s health, the environment and local communities.

During the research, local residents, businesses, tourism bodies, rail industry representatives and public sector organisations were consulted for their views.

In a survey of Fylde residents and rail users, 84 per cent said they did not use the train service as often as they would like because of services being cancelled, punctuality and because trains were sometimes terminated before reaching their end destination.

Coun Karen Buckley, leader of Fylde Council, said: “This report is the first stage of looking at how to improve journey times, reliability and punctuality along the South Fylde line.

“It identifies the transport problems, sets out the transport objectives and has shaped a phased package of improvements to public transport in the south Blackpool and south Fylde areas.

“The study also considers the wider impact of transport problems on society as well as Government aspirations to promote ‘levelling-up’ and net zero emissions by 2050.

“The completion of this report is an extremely positive first step and we have now presented these findings to the Department for Transport for further consideration.”

Mr Benton said: “This project would make a real improvement to the transport network in Blackpool South and could double the number of trains which come into our stations.

“This will make it easier for people to travel here and boost our local economy, helping to create more investment and jobs. It will help drive more visitors into our tourism economy including through the station serving Blackpool Pleasure Beach, one of the country’s best and biggest tourism attractions.”

Mr Menzies said: “Delivering a passing loop is crucial if we are to improve rail services on the South Fylde line.

“Doubling the frequency will help drive economic growth, making it easier for people to reach businesses across Fylde by rail, encouraging people out of their cars and onto the train.

“We need a more regular, more reliable service and that is precisely what these proposals will deliver.

“The conclusions of this business case support the passing loop scheme Scott Benton and I have been proposing and this is an important step towards making that a reality.”

The £65,000 report was funded by the Department for Transport with match funding from Community Rail Lancashire, which secured a grant through the Community Rail Development Fund, Lancashire County Council, Blackpool Council and Fylde Council.

The studies were overseen by a project group including representatives of local Members of Parliament, the Department for Transport, Network Rail, Northern Trains, Community Rail Lancashire, Lancashire County Council, Blackpool Council and Fylde Council.

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