How 2022 could see a major comeback for Lancashire’s seaside resorts including Blackpool and Morecambe

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Major investment could transform towns as more people stay in the UK


Blackpool Tower
Blackpool Tower

Lancashire’s seaside resorts are hoping the post-pandemic period can provide a much-needed boost as more and more people in the UK stay for holidays.

Restrictions on travel last year saw many of those who would usually fly abroad look closer to home and enjoy breaks across the UK.

For businesses, a continuation of that trend could prove vital after the losses felt during the pandemic.

Some evidence of that is already being seen as Blackpool enjoyed a thriving Christmas period packed with events and seasonal attractions.

Director of StayBlackpool, Ian White, told LancsLive: “As a Blackpool Hotelier and Director of the Hotel Association StayBlackpool, I am delighted at the way the extended season has brought so many people to town. The buzz around town, especially on the prom, has been extremely positive.

“It has been heartwarming to see and hear so much positive feedback on social media platforms and from StayBlackpool members. Blackpool Council and so many businesses have excelled during this period, going above and beyond at so many levels, creating a winter season to remember for all the right reasons.

“It is great to know the extended Illuminations and so much more will return during the winter 2022. Lots of positive lessons have been learned during a period of so much uncertainty and various challenges, giving the certainty this coming winter will be much bigger and better.”

Blackpool looking stunning in the sunshine.
Blackpool looking stunning in the sunshine. (Image: Lancs Live)

Evidence to back up those anecdotal feelings was seen in the results of the first weeks of the Blackpool Illuminations as it enjoyed an extended run compared to previous years,

Public donations to the Lights and use of car parks have both increased, according to a council report, following the move to keep the display shining until January 3.

The report says: “Over the first two weeks of November (when the Illuminations would normally be switched off), parking patronage was almost double the level seen in the same period in 2019.

“The anecdotal evidence from accommodation businesses (both in the self-catering and serviced sectors) is that the high level of bookings over the remainder of this year has been fuelled by the extension of the Illuminations and greatly-enhanced Christmas offer.

“During those first two weeks of the extended Illuminations season, there was a significant increase in public donations at the collection points at the southern and northern gateways on the Promenade.

“As a result, by mid-November, the total public donations had reached more than £105,000, ahead of the previous four years.”

Evidence of recovery is supported by think tank Centre For Cities whose research measuring high street footfall shows so far this year, Blackpool has the highest level of recovery in the UK at 114 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

Work has also begun in anticipation of a £4.5m cash injection for the Illuminations, while seven projects are earmarked to benefit from a share of a £39.5m Town Deal – the largest award in the UK – from the Government’s £3.6bn Town’s Fund.

Elsewhere in the county, council bosses hope significant investment in Morecambe can see the resort enjoy a more prosperous future. Like seaside towns up and down the country, Morecambe’s heyday occurred before the advent of cheap foreign holidays and the battle to restore its fortunes has been a long and difficult one.

But a number of large scale initiatives, notably the Eden Project North, could bring a major economic boost and with it an increase in jobs and a regenerative effect on the surrounding area.

Eden Project North proposals
Eden Project North proposals

Councillor Caroline Jackson, leader of Lancaster City Council, said: “The city council is committed to the future of Morecambe, its residents and businesses, and making it an even better place to live, work and visit. Like many seaside towns it has been buffeted by economic downturns but has always fought hard to retain its jobs and workplaces.

“Our whole-hearted support and financial investment in bringing Eden Project North to the town is a prime example of our commitment, but there are many more.

“Over more than twenty years, tens of millions of pounds have been invested in the town, including the purchase of properties in multiple occupation to remodel them into family homes and enhancing residential areas to encourage people to live and invest in its future.

“The council recently led the successful £10 million project to improve the sea defences, which protects homes and businesses from coastal flooding and last year the council purchased the neglected former Frontierland site. This will be developed through new partnerships with entrepreneurs eager to invest in the town.

“Over the last few years we have also supported the Winter Gardens Preservation Trust to secure and deliver over £1 million of grant funded capital works. We are continuing this support as they work towards a five-year plan to become a major music venue in the North West through an ambitious multi-million pound grant funded investment.

“There is still much to do but working in partnership with our Morecambe community and others we will address the challenges that remain. Morecambe is a town on the cusp of a renaissance and the city council is fully committed to its regeneration.”

Morecambe seafront
Morecambe seafront

Other potential projects include the revival of Morecambe Illuminations to keep visitors coming to town out of the summer season.

Meanwhile, Lytham St Annes is also set for significant changes with Building Design Partnership Ltd (BDP) recently appointed to help design its long-term regeneration.

Fylde Council leader Cllr Karen Buckley hopes the ambitious plans will help the town adapt to the post-pandemic reality and bring in Government funding.

The masterplan project will use comprehensive evidence and commercial potential assessments to create a blueprint for future development. It is focused primarily on St Annes’ town centre and island site and is expected to be completed by April ready for a submission for the Round 2 of the government’s Levelling up Funding Programme.

Cllr Buckley said: “Our ambition to regenerate and revitalise St Annes Town Centre and Island site has taken a major step forward with the appointment of BDP. It is over 20 years now since the start of the last main refurbishment works in St Annes and whilst shopping and leisure habits have changed gradually over time, they have been singularly transformed over the last 18 months due to the Covid pandemic.

“I am looking forward to a blueprint fit for the future with full input from the town, its representatives and residents, and an exciting vision that will lever in much-needed Government funds.”

Lytham windmill along the promenade Image: Ronald Saunders
Lytham windmill along the promenade Image: Ronald Saunders

The BDP added: “St Annes is a classic ‘bucket and spade’ seaside town, loved by visitors who return time after time. We’re looking forward to working with the council and the community to attract further investment, to address the challenges of the changing nature of high streets and to explore new opportunities linked to the enduring appeal of living, working and enjoying time off by the sea.”

The development of the Masterplan includes funding from Lancashire County Council’s £12.8m Economic Recovery Growth Fund, which supports projects to help local economies to bounce back from the impacts of Covid-19.

The aim is to kickstart the development of transformational schemes that will make a major economic recovery contribution and create jobs in parts of Lancashire which have been hardest hit, stimulating growth and unlocking further investment.

County Councillor Aidy Riggott, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Growth, said: “Lancashire’s tourism sector has been significantly affected by Covid, but we recognise that there are some great opportunities to help to create an improved and diverse offer. The aim of our fund is to support the development of exciting new schemes in our communities such as in St Annes.

“Attracting more people into the town brings money into the local economy and creates new jobs, spreading the benefits to other parts of Lancashire.”



Olly Murs donates £500 to help Cleveleys girl, 6, receive lifesaving treatment following cancer diagnosis

Home | Blackpool Gazette

British singer-songwriter Olly Murs donated £500 to help a six-year-old Lancashire girl diagnosed with a rare type of cancer receive lifesaving treatment.

Isabelle Grundy, from Cleveleys, was diagnosed with stage four high-risk neuroblastoma – a rare and aggressive form of cancer – in July 2021.

Her mother, Louisa Moss, 33, needs to raise £200,000 to gain access to treatment in the USA that is not readily available in the UK.

GoFundMe page has since raised over £20,000 for Isabelle, with over 1,336 people kindly donating to the cause.

Isabelle Grundy was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer in July 2021

Isabelle Grundy was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer in July 2021

Among those who donated included British singer-songwriter Olly Murs, who contributed £500 on Thursday, January 5.

Posing a link to the fundraiser on Instagram, he said: “Please share and help Isabelle get the treatment she needs.”

Speaking about receiving so many donations, Louisa said she was “eternally grateful” to everyone who has helped her daughter.

“Never in a million years did we ever think our family would be in this situation; our world has been completely turned upside down,” she added.

A GoFundMe page raised over £20,000 for Isabelle, with British singer-songwriter Olly Murs kindly donating £500

A GoFundMe page raised over £20,000 for Isabelle, with British singer-songwriter Olly Murs kindly donating £500

“Thank you to everyone who has shown support, love and kindness towards Isabelle and our family. We are eternally grateful for each and every one of you.

“All donations great or small mean the world to us.”

Lousia first noticed something was wrong when Isabelle started to feel ill and took her to Blackpool Victoria Hospital after finding a lump on her stomach.

A concerned doctor sent Isabelle to Manchester Hospital the following morning.

Within a couple of days she was diagnosed with cancer.

Isabelle has since undergone a range of intensive treatment, from high dose chemotherapy, several blood and platelet transfusions and a stem cell harvest and transplant.

Once she has recovered from her stem cell transplant, Isabelle will move on to her next stage of treatment which will be radiotherapy at The Christie in Manchester.

“She has done absolutely amazing so far,” Louisa said,

“Now she’s got as far as she has, we are looking at vaccines which are not approved in this country.”

To read more about Isabelle’s story, click HERE.

If you would like to donate to the GoFundMe page, click HERE.


Andy Mitchell writes a heartfelt farewell to an old friend

Home | Blackpool Gazette

It’s been a heartbreaking start to 2022 following the announcement of the death of our dear friend and colleague Gary Burgess. You may remember Gary from his days on Radio Wave. He was a bundle of energy that tore right through the station from his early days as a station helper when he was still at 6th Form, right through to him being the Regional Programme boss!


Gary Burgess

Gary Burgess

For some of us, we were so lucky to call him our personal friend for three decades.

The impact Gary made on listeners, first of all locally here on the Fylde coast, and ultimately on TV across the Channel islands and even further afield can not be understated. This man was a force of nature, everyone’s favourite champion, who fought back illness for over 20 years.

He never stopped. I remember driving home from work one evening in 1999 listening to Gary on Radio Wave, telling us he’d been diagnosed with testicular cancer. His honest and candid appraisal of the situation live on air, at a time when things like that just weren’t discussed in public, I believe, was the turning point in getting blokes to be more open about the issue.

We worked together in the Newsroom for some years. I might have been the News Editor, but it was from Gary, I learnt so much. He had a forensic knowledge about local issues. He knew what councillors would say before he even asked them a question. It was a skill that would stay with him throughout his career.

Twenty years ago, I used to read the news on Border TV. Gary used to come up to the TV station with me in the evening and watch me do it. No pressure there then! “Love the camera” he used to say “Don’t just read the script” I never stopped taking direction from the lad who was seemingly never wrong!

“And another thing” he implored, only last week on a FaceTime call, live in in his dressing gown, “when you’re writing your columns for the Gazette, write from the heart” he said. “They know the facts…. it’s YOUR feelings they want to hear about”

Gary, I’ll miss you so much. Thirty years have flown by, and we had so much fun. RIP mate. And THAT’S from the heart.



Award-winning Nashville star Gretchen Peters coming to Lytham’s Lowther Pavilion

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A Grammy-nominated American singer songwriter is heading to the Lowther Pavilion in Lytham.


American star Gretchen Peters is coming to Lytham in March

American star Gretchen Peters is coming to Lytham in March

Country singer Gretchen Peters has announced details of a British tour and the schedule includes a date at the Lowther on the evening Tuesday March 29.

As well as writing songs for the likes of Bryan Adams, Etta James, Shania Twain, Neil Diamond and a host of other artists, she has recorded 13 studio and live albums on her own account.

Gretchen has been twice nominated for prestigious Grammy awards and won four country music awards for songs and albums.

2022 marks the 25th year since Gretchen first set foot on a UK stage.

And in honour of the occasion, the Nashville-via-New-York star will be heading back to these shores.

For the Lytham show, she will be backed by American musicians Barry Walsh and Kim Richey.

The 13 dates include a performance at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.


100 years on from the ‘civic union’ of Lytham and St Annes – is it one town or two?

Home | Blackpool Gazette

It’s 100 years this year since Lytham and St Annes came together as a single council – and almost 50 years on from that authority being replaced by Fylde Council, the reference to ‘Lytham St Annes’ lingers.


Certainly nationally and as far as the FY8 postcode is concerned, the union which prospered through the domestic tourism peak years of the 1950s to 1970s lingers, despite the two towns being three miles apart with Ansdell and Fairhaven in between.

We asked three notable figures for their views on the situation as the centenary of that civic union approaches:

Fylde historian Peter Shakeshaft, who is a great believer in the perpetuity of the apostrophe remaining in the name of St Anne’s (punctuation which has largely disappeared from most general references), said: “From a personal perspective, the two towns, in spite of the hopes expressed at the time of the 1922 amalgamation, were already on different pathways; a divergence accelerated by the formation of Fylde borough.

A boundary sign for Lytham

A boundary sign for Lytham

A sign of confusion at St Annes supermarket

“The (at times somewhat ambivalent) contribution played by the Clifton family in the development of St Anne’s is not so fully appreciated.

“Much will depend on future developments in local government, particularly if both towns become part of a ‘Lancashire’ authority.

“Were that to happen it would, arguably, be to the advantage of Lytham residents to support the establishment of a Lytham Town Council, just as the establishment, in 2004, of St Anne’s Town Council does so for St Anne’s residents.

A boundary sign for St Annes

A boundary sign for St Annes

“That said, it would be a cultural loss if the ‘ties that bind’ were ever permanently broken.

“Perhaps it is time for organisations which function under the title of Lytham St Anne’s … Society/Club to give consideration to becoming Lytham and St Anne’s… Society/Club.”

Gavin Harrison, chairman of St Annes Town Council: “As the response to the recent Boundary Review showed, there is a strong feeling of identity within St Annes and it’s fair to say that the references to Lytham St Annes aren’t always helpful in that respect.

“There was always the possibility of confusion with visitors intending to come to St Annes ending up in Lytham (or I dare say vice versa) but in days of Satnav systems I’m sure that is less of a problem.

Detail from a vintage railway poster promoting the resort of 'Lytham St Annes'.
Picture: Friends of the Lytham St Annes Art Collection.

Detail from a vintage railway poster promoting the resort of ‘Lytham St Annes’. Picture: Friends of the Lytham St Annes Art Collection.

“I think the rivalry between the towns is friendly, although occasionally exacerbated by the fact that St Annes has a Town Council and Lytham currently is ‘unparished’.

“That might change in future if it’s the wish of the people of course. There’s also a perception that Ansdell and Fairhaven may be lost between their two bigger neighbours but of course residents of those areas also have a strong sense of identity.

“St Annes Town Council works hard on behalf of the people of St Annes and our recent events such as the September Spectacular can only strengthen our identity and improve the confidence of the town.”

Sue Forshaw, chairman of Lytham Heritage Group, makes a crucial historical point about the area, which saw St Annes largely undeveloped until 1875. She said: “The Lytham Heritage Group’s constitution is concerned with the ‘Old Parish of Lytham’ which includes both Lytham and St Annes, so in essence they have been merged long before the official 100 years.”

What do you think? One town or two, and does it really matter? Let us know what you think via social media.

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Public warned not to approach wanted man with links to Blackpool

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Police urged the public not to approach a wanted man with links to Blackpool.


Christopher Averkiou is wanted in relation to an investigation into threats to kill, assault and harassment.

The 37-year-old is described as white, 5ft 10in tall, of slim build with short brown hair.

Averkiou has links to Blackpool and the Droylsden and Audenshaw areas of Greater Manchester.

Christopher Averkiou is wanted in in relation to an investigation into threats to kill, assault and harassment (Credit: Lancashire Police)

Police warned the public not to approach Averkiou but to report any immediate sightings by calling 999, quoting log number 0661 of October 26, 2021.

Email or call 101 for non-immediate sightings.



Blackpool Pleasure Beach set to reopen for White Knuckle Weekends

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Blackpool Pleasure Beach reopens this year for White Knuckle Weekends from Saturday, February 12 until Sunday March 27.


The adrenaline-fuelled adventure park includes the Big One and nine other rollercoasters

Younger guests can join the fun down at Nickelodeon Land and meet all their favourite Nickelodeon characters.

Amanda Thompson OBE, managing director of Blackpool Pleasure Beach, said: “We’re all so excited to open the park gates for the White Knuckle Weekends – they’re such a fantastic way to start the year as we welcome back all of our visitors old and new after the winter break.”

The Big One at Blackpool Pleasure Beach

The Big One at Blackpool Pleasure Beach

For more information and to book, please visit:



Blackpool school chosen for books donation thanks to literacy campaign

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Pupils at a Blackpool primary school are delving into new books thanks to a donation as part of a literacy campaign.

Westminster Primary Academy was among 37 schools in the country to receive a donation of books from a campaign led by Business in the Community (BITC), the Prince’s Responsible Business Network.

In total, 15,000 children’s books worth £100,000 were donated across the schools.

Roger Farley, headteacher at Westminster Primary School, Blackpool, with pupils and their new books

Roger Farley, headteacher at Westminster Primary School, Blackpool, with pupils and their new books

Roger Farley, headteacher at Westminster Primary Academy on Westminster Road, said: “The children at Westminster are thrilled to receive these books.

“Gifting of books is becoming increasingly rare which is such a shame.

“Who can forget the smell of a new book? There is a special thrill about being the first person to open and read a book.

“The crack of the spine as the cover unfolds and the crispness of each, perfect page.

“That’s before you get lost in the wonderful worlds that are created within the covers.

“Many of our children will not have experienced this excitement and we are very grateful that we can provide every child at Westminster with a book to read and enjoy. Thank you to

everyone who donated to make this possible.”

Given by Miles Kelly Publishing and partially funded by Literacy Capital through BITC’s partnership with Bookmark Reading Charity, the donated books range from fiction to non-fiction.

Baroness Jo Valentine, director of Place at Business in the Community, said: “It’s in BITC’s DNA to support transforming communities that are at risk of being forgotten and what better way

to do that than to help children improve their literacy skills.

“Leaving primary school without fundamental reading skills can have a long-term impact on a child’s future prospects, and it is a fact we cannot ignore.

“By arranging for these books to be distributed, we aim to improve the literacy of students, and give these young pupils a chance for a better future.”


Father and son Ian and Jack Brayshaw join National Police Aid charity convoy to transport ambulances to The Gambia

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A father and son from Garstang have launched a Just Giving appeal to support a mercy mission to get ambulances to The Gambia.

Father and son Ian and Jack Brayshaw are raising funds to join a mercy mission taking ambulances to The Gambia

Father and son Ian and Jack Brayshaw are raising funds to join a mercy mission taking ambulances to The Gambia

They are also helping a special bear called Ollie will help them with their fundraising.

Retired Lancashire police officer Ian Brayshaw and his son, Jack, a serving Police Support Officer, from Catterall, near Garstang, heard just days ago that they could join a 2,000 mile plus charity journey which it’s hoped will culminate in gifting more than 30 ambulances to communities in The Gambia.

Operation Zephyr will see ambulances, support vehicles and fire engines delivered to the West African nation to form the core of a new emergency service throughout the country.

Ollie Bear is being made and sold by Ian's wife Jean to raise funds for the mercy mission to The Gambia

Ollie Bear is being made and sold by Ian’s wife Jean to raise funds for the mercy mission to The Gambia

The mission from the U.K. is being led by National Police Aid Charity UK (NPAC), which provides aid to impoverished communities around the world in war zones or in developing countries.

Ian, who is Chairman of Catterall Parish Council, served in the Lancashire Constabulary for more than 34 years. His son Jack, 20, now works at the Constabulary’s Hutton HQ. The pair will be helping, along with other volunteers, to drive and navigate the fully equipped vehicles thousands of miles to their new homes.

But first they have a target of raising £5,000 which will go towards paying for the fleet of ambulances and transport costs. Ian and Jack will be funding any personal expenses themselves, including food and accommodation, but are hoping individuals and businesses will step up to support their appeal.

As part of the fundraising Ian’s wife Jean is making toy bears called Ollie Bear which can be purchased for £10. Ian and Jack will be taking a bear with them and posting pictures of it online on Instagram so donors can see how their journey is progressing. Ian said: “If anyone want to buy one they need to contact Jean on and we will send one out. If anyone wants one from the Just Giving page they can message us – providing the donation is £10 or above and we will send one out on request.”

Ian, whose roles with the Constabulary included more than a decade as a family liaision officer, now works as operational security manager at BAE Systems, Warton. He said that in his police career he had always been called upon to help people and The Gambia expedition continues that work. He said: “This opportunity gives me the rare chance to help the children and their families in an entire country. As a member of the International Police Association I saw the request for volunteers to take part and instead of just donating I thought I should take up the challenge and Jack jumped at the chance to help as well.”

The current lack of ambulances in The Gambia means doctors have to cycle from village to village or critically ill patients are carried by relatives or transported miles to their nearest hospital by whatever transport is available, sometimes in a wheelbarrow.

The ambulance convoy was due to set off in March but the trip has now been postponed until September due to the COVID pandemic. It is anticipated that the left hand drive emergency vehicles will come from France, Portugal or Spain. Ian and Jack will travel over to mainland Europe to collect their ambulance.

On their Just Giving page the pair state: “We intend to travel from the U.K. via France and Spain through the north west of the African continent all the way to Banjul the capital of Gambia. The intent is to provide functioning emergency vehicles, radios, equipment, training and uniforms to this emerging but very poor African nation. Organised by the UK’s National Police Aid Charity, National Police Aid Convoy and working with the International Police Association and other organisations, we have decided to help end suffering and unnecessary deaths caused by the absence of any form of ambulance service in The Gambia.”

Jack said: “None of us chose where to be born, we feel that by helping out in the Gambia we are trying to reduce the health inequalities across the globe, especially under the current pandemic situation. This is an exciting challenge, I’ve never done anything like this before … The Gambia is one of the poorest places in the world and we’re trying to give them an entire ambulance service, providing support from the 30 key locations where they can be of optimum use and effectiveness.”

Teams of three will drive each ambulance taking it in turn to navigate, drive or sleep. It is estimated that the journey will take around 10 days. Once the vehicles have been delivered to their chosen destination local doctors and healthcare professionals will be trained to use the vehicles.

Their Just Giving page also notes that corporate sponsorship to the charity, is welcome. It is costing around £10,000 to purchase and transport each ambulance to The Gambia. Ian and Jack suggested: “Perhaps you could help with fuel costs by providing a company fuel card, or by providing much needed equipment, tools or supplies, for the convoy to use or for us to take with us. Everything will be left with the Gambian Emergency responders.”

Their donation page also emphasises the urgent need for the ambulances and equipment in The Gambia: “The levels of maternal mortality in the Gambia are unacceptably high and are ranked among the highest in Africa, estimated at 1,050 per 100,000 live births and are higher in rural than in urban areas. The manner of those deaths for mother and child do not bear thinking about. The number of deaths and amputations through late presentation of infected fractures and wounds is unbelievably high.We are reaching out to everyone to play their part and donate to this important lifesaving mission, by doing this you will be helping create a better, safer, happier world.”

To donate see:

*Ambulances to Gambia 2022 – The Journey

After crossing Europe and assembling at Algeciras, Spain, the mercy mission will cross to Tangier in north west Morocco. In convoys of no more than eight vehicles the volunteers will travel via Casablanca and West Sahara to Dakar, Senegal. At the Senegal/Gambia border the convoys will separate to deliver the vehicles to the chosen towns with the volunteers returning to Banjul to fly home.


Neil Critchley responds to Preston North End’s decision to slash Blackpool’s ticket allocation for the derby

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Neil Critchley insists it’s Preston North End’s “prerogative” to allocate Blackpool a reduced ticket allocation for the derby at Deepdale later in the season.


It was recently announced that the clash has been shifted back to April to be played on Tuesday, April 5 – on what would have been Sir Tom Finney’s 100th birthday.

It should have initially been played on Saturday, March 19, however the Conservative party are holding their conference in Blackpool that weekend which will require police resources being diverted from other areas of Lancashire.

In a statement announcing the news, PNE also revealed the Bill Shankly Kop will be split for the game with home fans allowed to sit in part of it – despite the stand usually being for the exclusive use of away supporters in recent years.

Blackpool have also been allocated a reduced allocation of approximately 2,000, around 200 fewer than Preston received for the initial fixture at Bloomfield Road in October, which the Seasiders won 2-0.

Responding to the news, Blackpool said in a statement they were “surprised” and “disappointed” with their allocation given Preston’s ability to host “many more away fans”.

It comes after ticket controversy surrounded the Bloomfield Road fixture, as Preston received a smaller allocation than some other clubs – such as fellow Lancashire outfit Blackburn Rovers, who brought over 3,000 supporters.

The Seasiders will now make the trip to Deepdale in April

The Seasiders will now make the trip to Deepdale in April

However, this was to allow the Seasiders to sell out the home ends, something they didn’t do for the Blackburn game.

It also appears unlikely Preston will sell all their tickets for April’s derby clash, prompting suggestions this was a “tit-for-tat” move to please their supporters.

When queried about Preston’s decision to offer a reduced allocation, Critchley refused to get drawn in a spat with Blackpool’s rivals.

“I knew the game had changed, but I hadn’t seen about the allocation,” he told The Gazette.

“That’s up to Preston, it’s their ground. It’s up to them.

“I knew the game had changed but I didn’t know about the allocation, so that’s Preston’s prerogative. It’s up to them.

“But it will be a game we look forward to when it comes around obviously.”

April’s game will be Blackpool’s first visit to Deepdale in nine years, while it’s the first league meeting at Preston’s home ground since 2010.