Category Archives: Stanley Park

Stanley Park lake will not be reopened after swan found showing symptoms of bird flu

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Blackpool Council’s plans to reopen Stanley Park lake have been postponed indefinitely after a swan was found showing symptoms of bird flu there.

The council had hoped to reopen the park soon, as no bird deaths had been reported since December 20 2021.

However, reports of a sick swan sighted in the 260-acre park today means the cordon, which has been in place since November following a confirmed outbreak of bird flu, must remain in place.

So far, 25 Stanley Park swans and two geese have died from suspected bird flu. A further three swans, all believed to be showing symptoms of the deadly disease, have been killed by foxes, taking the total death count to 30.

The number of swans in Stanley Park has fallen by 40%

The number of swans in Stanley Park has fallen by 40%

The total number of swans in the park has fallen by more than 40 percent – plummeting from 68 to 40 in less than three months.

The lake must remain closed, Blackpool Council said

The lake must remain closed, Blackpool Council said

Cordon at Stanley Park lake to be lifted soon as swans fight back against deadly bird flu

Home | Blackpool Gazette

The lake in Blackpool’s award-winning Stanley Park is expected to reopen soon  after almost two months in quarantine.

 

The lake was cordoned off on Monday, November 11, following a suspected outbreak of bird flu amid a national surge in reports of the disease.

Two swans and one Canada goose were believed to have died there due to bird flu, and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs later confirmed the diagnosis.

By November 25, 17 birds were dead, with Blackpool Council warning that three more swans living in the park were showing symptoms.

The lake should be reopened soon

The lake should be reopened soon

Four more birds died in December, raising the total death toll to 21, with swans making up the vast majority of victims.

Almost 30 per cent of the total swan population was wiped out, with numbers falling from 68 in early November to just 48 one month later.

Hope is on the horizon, however, as the council has said that no suspected bird flu deaths have been reported in the park since December 20 – and that the closure of the lake will soon be lifted.

A Blackpool Council spokesman said: “No dead swans have been found since December 20, as a result the cordon is likely to be removed soon, however we do not have an exact timescale on this.

“We’re very appreciative the public’s patience and support on this matter.”

Last month, animal rescue volunteers called on members of the public not to ignore the warning signs in place around the lake, as doing so could risk spreading the disease, which does not usually infect humans.

However, a 79-year-old Devon man was diagnosed with the disease last week, after catching it from ducks he kept inside his home.

The grandfather is the first ever human in the UK to be diagnosed with the disease, which has only been recorded 1,000 times in people globally since it emerged in the late 1990s.

 

 

“Stop ignoring the barriers,” Stanley Park visitors are urged as the bird flu outbreak continues

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Brambles Wildlife Rescue warn regulars “who should know better” to avoid the cordoned-off lake as it increases the risk of disease

 

People are urged to avoid Stanley Park lake as the bird flu outbreak continues.

Volunteers have expressed annoyance at people ignoring the warning signs around the lake, getting close to the water and the areas where birds tend to live in the park.

While there has been some improvement, any foot traffic can cause the disease to spread further.

Do Not Enter sign is being ignored by regular visitors to the park in Blackpool

Do Not Enter sign is being ignored by regular visitors to the park in Blackpool

Brambles Wildlife Rescue said: “Sadly some people are ignoring the barriers that clearly advise the lake area is closed, including a couple of the regular photographers who should know better. I had to photograph them to get them to leave sadly. Very disappointing.”

The council-approved rescue team has continued to feed and care for the birds over Christmas and the new year.

One death was recorded in the last week, but some of the birds are making a good recovery.

The lake has been closed since Monday, November 11, after two swans and one Canada goose were believed to have died there due to bird flu.

The rescue team have thanked the ‘overwhelming response’ to their Christmas appeal for food donations.

People who would otherwise feed the swans, but are now unable to do so because of the restrictions, have the option to donate supplementary feed to be distributed by the council by contacting the Brambles Wildlife Rescue Facebook page.

 

 

Blackpool’s Stanley Park to host Christmas carols by choir after new location found

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

The concert will be held in the Italian Gardens in front of the Art Deco Cafe

 

Stanley Park ,Blackpool
Stanley Park ,Blackpool (Image: Andrew Teebay)

Blackpool’s Stanley Park will ring out to the sound of Christmas songs on Sunday after an appeal to find a choir struck a chord with residents.

Junction Four Productions, which was set up in 1904 and was originally known at Lytham Amateur Operatic Society, will perform from 1pm after responding to calls from the Friends of Stanley Park last month for a group to lead the singing.

However the event, which will raise money for the Blue Skies Fund at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, has had to be relocated to a new venue within the park.

Due to the outbreak of Avian Flu which has caused Stanley Park lake to be cordoned off, the concert will be held in the Italian Gardens in front of the Art Deco Cafe instead of at the bandstand.

Nigel Patterson, chairman of the Friends of Stanley Park which has organised the Christmas concert, said: “We didn’t want to take any chances due to the bandstand being so close to the lake and we think the Italian Gardens is the safest place.

“Junction Four responded to our appeal and DES Electrical, from Poulton, are providing electrics for us at the new location.

“We’re looking forward to the event and hope lots of people will come along and support the Blue Skies Fund.”

Blue Skies raises money to enhance patient care and buy medical equipment to support the work of the NHS.

Joanna Allitt, a community fundraiser at Blue Skies said: “We value all of the support we get from our local community and although Covid brought challenges it showed us how loved the NHS is treasured both nationally and locally. “

The Friends of Stanley Park are hoping to restore Sunday afternoon concerts at the bandstand next year after they have been suspended since the start of the pandemic.

 

 

Blackpool’s Stanley Park £45m revamp hits next stage

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

Adrenalin World will be built on Stanley Park

 

What part of the redevelopment of Stanley Park Golf Course could look like
What part of the redevelopment of Stanley Park Golf Course could look like (Image: Holmes Investment Properties Plc)

The consultation behind the £45million redevelopment of Blackpool’s Stanley Park Golf Course has officially been launched.

Blackpool UKAP (Blackpool) Holdings Limited [UKAP], a wholly owned subsidiary of Holmes Investment Properties Plc, has today (December 9) launched a public consultation on plans to create Blackpool’s newest leisure destination on the golf course site.

The Site of Stanley Park Golf Course consists of two elements (eastern and western) which are divided by East Park Drive, making up a total area of approximately 37 hectares.

The plans for the eastern parcel are for:

  • The development of 70,000 sq ft Family Active Entertainment Centre with indoor and outdoor activities, dubbed Adrenalin World. The area around the FAEC will be opened up to provide green space for residents, hospital workers and the wider general public.
  • A development of up to 150 holiday lodges and associated services buildings.
  • An area for the hospital to install a garden, and an area to be allocated to Blackpool Zoo close to their existing site.

The new Family Active Entertainment Centre will be an Indoor and outdoor multi-activity centre for people of all ages and abilities. Health will be a core theme of the activity centre.

Activities will include zip-wire adventures, Climbing “cardio” walls, Soft play areas for under 5s, Internal crazy golf course, Multiple trampolines, Indoor high wire walks, Hang gliders on rails, Ninja Assault Course, Electric Go-Karting, Outdoor Net Adventure, Outdoor Adventure Golf, Mega Slide, Caving experiences and a Virtual Reality Suite.

Proposals for the western site will also form part of the initial planning application and include amendments to the Golf Course, the installation of Practice Facilities and outline planning for the Clubhouse. A further application will be made for the detailed planning consent for the Clubhouse.

The golf course will reduce from 18 to 9 holes with the key principles of widening participation, improving facilities for members, making it financially viable and ensuring any changes are sensitive to local residential amenity, heritage and conservation.

The proposed plans mark an investment of up to £45m and will create 150 new jobs with further jobs created during the construction phase.

Thousands of notices have been distributed via Royal Mail to local residences and businesses in the area explaining how people can view the plans and provide feedback.

A consultation website www.ukapblackpoolconsultation.co.uk has been set up containing information on the plans and an online survey for members of the public to provide their feedback.

For members of the public who would prefer to view the plans in person, consultation event events have been organised for Wednesday 12th January 2022, 2pm – 7pm and Thursday 13th January 2022, 10am – 2pm at The Village Hotel, East Park Drive, Blackpool Lancashire, FY3 8LL.

There will also be a consultation pop up event in the town centre in January.

Launching the consultation Michael Simmonds, CEO of Holmes Investment Properties Plc said: “I am pleased to be sharing our exciting plans to create a unique new leisure destination for Blackpool. The public consultation marks a key milestone for the project and I want to encourage as many people as possible to get involved in the pre application consultation prior to a planning application being submitted in Spring 2022.”

 

 

Outdoor festive concert to go ahead at Blackpool’s Stanley Park this Sunday

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Blackpool’s Stanley Park will ring out to the sound of Christmas songs on Sunday after an appeal to find a choir struck a chord with residents.

 

Junction Four Productions, which was set up in 1904 and was originally known at Lytham Amateur Operatic Society, will perform from 1pm after responding to calls from the Friends of Stanley Park last month for a group to lead the singing.

However the event, which will raise money for the Blue Skies Fund at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, has had to be relocated to a new venue within the park.

Due to the outbreak of Avian Flu which has caused Stanley Park lake to be cordoned off, the concert will be held in the Italian Gardens in front of the Art Deco Cafe instead of at the bandstand.

Nigel Patterson at the Italian Gardens

Nigel Patterson at the Italian Gardens

Nigel Patterson, chairman of the Friends of Stanley Park which has organised the Christmas concert, said: “We didn’t want to take any chances due to the bandstand being so close to the lake and we think the Italian Gardens is the safest place.

“Junction Four responded to our appeal and DES Electrical, from Poulton, are providing electrics for us at the new location.

“We’re looking forward to the event and hope lots of people will come along and support the Blue Skies Fund.”

Blue Skies raises money to enhance patient care and buy medical equipment to support the work of the NHS.

Joanna Allitt, a community fundraiser at Blue Skies said: “We value all of the support we get from our local community and although Covid brought challenges it showed us how loved the NHS is treasured both nationally and locally. “

The Friends of Stanley Park are hoping to restore Sunday afternoon concerts at the bandstand next year after they have been suspended since the start of the pandemic.

 

 

Public to have a say as consultation begins over plans to build adventure centre on Blackpool golf course

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Members of the public are set to get a say over controversial plans to build a new tourist attraction on part of Stanley Park Golf Course.

 

The company behind the plans Blackpool UKAP (Blackpool) Holdings Limited, part of Holmes Investment Properties, has launched a public consultation.

It wants to build a 70,000 sq ft Family Active Entertainment Centre with indoor and outdoor adventure activities, plus 150 holiday lodges and open public green space.

The new Family Active Entertainment Centre will be an Indoor and outdoor multi-activity centre for people of all ages and abilities. Health will be a core theme of the activity centre.

An artist's impression of how the new attraction may look

An artist’s impression of how the new attraction may look

Activities will include zip-wire adventures, climbing “cardio” walls, soft play areas for under fives, internal crazy golf course, multiple trampolines, indoor high wire walks, hang gliders on rails, a ninja assault course, electric go-karting, outdoor net adventure, outdoor adventure golf, a mega slide, caving experiences and a virtual reality suite.

Proposals for the western site will also form part of the initial planning application and include amendments to the golf course, the installation of practice facilities and outline planning for the clubhouse. A further application will be made for the detailed planning consent for the clubhouse.

The company said that the golf course would reduce from 18 to 9 holes with the key principles of widening participation, improving facilities for members, with the aim of making it financially viable and ensuring any changes are sensitive to local residential amenity, heritage and conservation.

A consultation website www.ukapblackpoolconsultation.co.uk has been set for people to view plans and leave comments.

Consultation event events have been organised for Wednesday, January 12, from 2pm to 7pm and Thursday, January 13, from 10am to 2pm at The Village Hotel, East Park Drive.

There will also be a consultation pop-up event in the town centre in January.

Michael Simmonds, CEO of Holmes Investment Properties Plc said: “I am pleased to be sharing our exciting plans to create a unique new leisure destination for Blackpool.

“The public consultation marks a key milestone for the project and I want to encourage as many people as possible to get involved in the pre application consultation prior to a planning application being submitted in Spring 2022.”

The plans have attracted criticism from many in the town due to loss of nine holes of the golf course and open green space, plus noise and traffic fears near the hospital.

 

 

Bird flu: What is it, how it’s spread, how to spot it and what to do

Home | Blackpool Gazette

The current outbreak of bird flu in the UK has been described as the “largest-ever”.

 

During November and December cases have been confirmed across Lancashire, including, Staining and Stanley Park in Blackpool, Wyre and Kirkham.

This is what you need to know about avian influenza:

– What is bird flu and how is it transmitted?

The lake at Stanley Park was closed during the outbreak.

The lake at Stanley Park was closed during the outbreak.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said wild birds migrating to the UK from mainland Europe during the winter months can carry the disease and this can lead to cases in poultry and other captive birds.

Birds can be infected with the avian influenza virus through contact with infected individual birds or waste products. Wild birds including waterfowl (swans, ducks, geese) can carry and transmit the virus without showing evidence of disease, according to Paul Walton, head of habitats and species at RSPB Scotland.

– How do you spot bird flu?

There are two types of avian influenza, with Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) being the more serious type. It is often fatal in birds.

Some of the clinical signs of HPAI in birds include sudden and rapid increase in the number of birds found dead, several birds affected in the same shed or air space, a swollen head, closed and excessively watery eyes, head and body tremoring, drooping of the wings and/or dragging of legs, twisting of the head and neck and swelling and blue discolouration of comb and wattles.

Other signs include haemorrhages on shanks of the legs and under the skin of the neck, loss of appetite or marked decrease in feed consumption, sudden increase or decrease in water consumption, respiratory distress, sneezing, noticeable increase in body temperature, discoloured or loose watery droppings, and cessation or marked reduction in egg production.

– What measures are in place?

An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone was declared across the UK on November 3 before being extended on November 29 with the added requirement all captive birds have to be kept indoors.

Defra said poultry and captive bird keepers are advised to be vigilant for any signs of disease in their birds and any wild birds, and to seek prompt advice from a vet if they have any concerns.

– What is the risk to the public?

The risk to human health from the virus is very low and food standards bodies advise that avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk for UK consumers, Defra said.

People are advised not to touch or pick up any dead or sick birds that they find and instead report them to the relevant helpline.

Defra said there is no impact on the consumption of properly cooked poultry products including eggs.

– Is it still okay to feed birds in your garden?

The RSPB said everyone should take care to maintain good hygiene when feeding garden birds, and also recommended “regularly cleaning feeders outside with mild disinfectant, removing old bird food, spacing out feeders as much as possible, and washing your hands”.

UK chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss said people who keep chickens and want to feed wild birds need to make sure everything is kept “scrupulously clean” and “absolutely separate” to avoid infecting their own flocks.

– What should you do if you see a sick or injured bird?

The RSPB said if people find any dead waterfowl, any gulls or birds of prey or five or more of any other species in one place, they should report them to the Defra helpline on 03459 335577 or in Northern Ireland to DAERA on 0300 200 7840.

– Will the outbreak have any impact on the availability of turkeys at Christmas?

Supplies of turkeys or other birds over Christmas are not expected to be affected by the outbreak.

More than 15 million turkeys are produced in the UK every year so the number in relative terms that are affected is very small and it is unlikely to affect the overall supply of Christmas turkeys.

 

 

Four more swans die in Stanley Park as lake remains closed off due to bird flu

Home | Blackpool Gazette

The death toll in Stanley Park has risen yet again as four more swans have died of suspected bird flu.

 

The total death toll in the award-winning park stands at 21, with swans making up the vast majority of victims.

Almost 30 per cent of the total swan population has been wiped out so far, with numbers falling from 68 in early November to just 48 today.

Stanley Park lake was cordoned off on Monday, November 11, after two swans and one Canada goose were believed to have died there due to bird flu. The birds were sent to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which confirmed the diagnosis.

The lake in Stanley Park remains closed

The lake in Stanley Park remains closed

By November 25, 17 birds were dead, with Blackpool Council warning that three more swans living in the park were showing symptoms.

The lake remains cordoned off to prevent the spread of bird flu, which is sweeping across the UK, with outbreaks reported locally in Kirkham, Poulton, and Salwick on the outskirts of Preston.

People have been asked by council chiefs to avoid the lake, and to steer clear of any dead or injured birds.

People who would otherwise feed the swans, but are now unable to do so because of the restrictions, have the option to donate supplement feed to be distributed by the council by contacting the Brambles Wildlife Rescue Facebook page.

 

 

Bird flu confirmed in Stanley Park as 15 swans die of deadly virus

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Fifteen swans at Blackpool Stanley Park have died in one week after a bird there tested positive for bird flu.

 

The lake in the award-winning park remains cordoned off by Blackpool Council, and staff were seen bagging up dead birds over the weekend.

The area was restricted on Monday, November 11, after two swans and one Canada goose were believed to have died there due to bird flu. The birds were sent to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which confirmed the diagnosis.

A Blackpool Council spokesman said: “Unfortunately one of the swans that died at Stanley Park last week has tested positive for Avian Influenza. Sadly 15 birds have now died with similar symptoms.

Stanley Park lake remains closed

Stanley Park lake remains closed

“We know that many people love visiting Stanley Park and will find this upsetting news. We can assure you that the birds are well fed and we are keeping a close eye on them.

“Although the risk to the general public’s health is very low it is vitally important visitors to the park follow the signage that is in place. Please respect the cordon. Don’t walk by the lake or let dogs in the water. Do not touch any injured or deceased birds

“Our team has been specially trained and has appropriate PPE to handle the birds to minimise any risks.

Stanley Park lake cordoned off after three birds die of suspected avian flu

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Two swans and a goose living on Stanley Park lake have died in a suspected case of bird flu – one week after two cygnets were found dead and another had to be euthanised in Lytham.

 

The birds were found in Blackpool yesterday and were reported to Blackpool Council and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

This morning, another dead swan was recovered from the lake by a fisherman.

Justin Greenhalgh, of Brambles Wildlife Rescue in South Shore, said: “We went on Friday to Stanley Park and saw one or two swans showing signs of bird flu, however, we couldn’t at this time intervene as the way DEFRA operates makes it quite difficult. They will only attend when there is a report of one deceased, at which point they will come and take it away for autopsy.

Three swans have died in Stanley Park, and three at Cypress Point. Picture by Brambles Wildlife Rescue

Three swans have died in Stanley Park, and three at Cypress Point. Picture by Brambles Wildlife Rescue

“On Saturday we went back after having reports from members of the public who found a cygnet in a bad condition. I then contacted Blackpool Council and relayed everything to them and there was a discussion then to possibly cordon the lake off, however at that point we had not had an official case.

“Unfortunately, leading from there, on Sunday afternoon one swan was found out in the middle of the lake deceased, and also a Canada goose was found deceased at the lakeside.

“Blackpool Council have been very proactive and sent out the environmental team to recover the bodies.”

A Blackpool Council spokesman said: “Three swans have died over the weekend and have been removed from the Stanley Park. Although it is not confirmed we suspect it be avian flu due to the symptoms they were displaying beforehand.

A dead swan found at Cypress Point. Picture by Brambles Wildlife Rescue

A dead swan found at Cypress Point. Picture by Brambles Wildlife Rescue

“As a precautionary measure we have cordoned off the lake and put signage in place. We have also notified DEFRA.”

A bird flu prevention zone was declared across Great Britain last week to stop the spread of the disease following outbreaks in Scotland and Wales.

The potentially deadly virus, which rarely affects humans, was confirmed at a farm in Salwick on the outskirts of Preston on Saturday. A temporary surveillance zone was set up spanning 10km in every direction from the farm, reaching Bamber Bridge, Lytham, Catterall and Much Hoole, South Ribble.

All birds at the farm will be culled to prevent further spread of the disease.

The cygnet found in Staining. Picture by Bailey Lister

The cygnet found in Staining. Picture by Bailey Lister

 7, a swan was found dead on the Japanese Pond at Cypress Point, Lytham, and another was found on the main pond nearby a day later. A third swan was taken to the Veterinary Health Centre on Greenways, where it was euthanised.

Meanwhile, another cygnet with a suspected case of bird flu was euthanised after being picked up from the pond near the Four Seasons Eatery in Staining on Friday.

Bailey Lister, who runs Hugo’s Small Animal Sanctuary on Smithy Lane, said: “A concerned customer called us on Friday, around 2.30pm. We went down, retreived the swan from the water and then took it to the Veterinary Health Centre, where it was euthanised.

“The swan was spinning around in circles, practically drowning herself, and couldn’t keep her head above the water. The neck was twisting, which is a telltale sign of bird flu.

“After it was euthanised, it was sent off to DEFRA for post-mortem.

“We have not had any reported of suspected bird flu in the area since then, but because of the severity of this case and how close it is to our rescuem we’ve had to make the decision not to take any birds in until DEFRA deems it safe, because we have to protect the birds we already have.

“It’s heartbreaking because we were called out to a crow yesterday with a broken wing, which had to be euthanised. Your brain tells you one thing but your heart tells you another. We want to take in these animals, but we can’t.”

Blackpool Council recently updated the way it responds to outbreaks of animal disease following the deaths of nine swans in the resort from bird flu last November.

The affected birds all lived at Stanley Park, with council officers cordoning off the lake following the outbreak.

In February this year, the lake was cordoned off for nearly two weeks after a further case of suspected bird flu in another swan.

An internal audit found the controls in place for dealing with an animal health outbreak were ‘inadequate’. A report to the council’s audit committee said “a number of material risks” were identified and there was “significant improvement required.”

It added: “Particular focus is around the need to have an up to date contingency plan, which factors in wider stakeholders and a requirement to ensuring roles and responsibilities are defined and that staff are appropriately trained.”

In response to the criticism, town hall managers said they “will ensure that a contingency plan for managing exotic and notifiable disease is developed as a matter of urgency.”

John Blackledge, director of community and environmental services at the council, told the meeting officers had responded well to the Avian flu outbreak in Stanley Park.

But the incident had highlighted the need to update the skills and knowlege of staff, with five members of staff having now had specialist training covering areas such as notification, types of disease, cordoning areas off and use of protective equipment.

SIGNS OF BIRD FLU

– Sudden death

– Lack of coordination

– Soft-shelled or misshapen eggs

– Lack of energy and appetite

– Diarrhoea

– Swelling

– Nasal discharge

– Decreased egg production

– Coughing, sneezing

If you see a dead bird, or suspect a bird is suffering from bird flu, call the DEFRA helpline on 03459 33 55 77, Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm.

 

 

Christmas choir plea for Blackpool’s Stanley Park bandstand

Home | Blackpool Gazette

After more than 18 months of silence Blackpool’s Stanley Park bandstand is set to ring out with the sound of music again – but only if a choir can be found to perform.

 

The Friends of Stanley Park want to hold a Christmas Carol concert in December to raise money for the NHS.

Now they are appealing for a choir to come forward to volunteer to lead the singing at the event which is scheduled for 1pm on Sunday December 19 at the council-owned park.

Nigel Patterson, chairman of the Friends of Stanley Park, said: “We’re planning a sing-a-long event and have hired a machine to display the words but all we need is a choir to lead the proceedings.

Nigel Patterson and Phil Robinson from the Friends of Stanley Park at the bandstand

Nigel Patterson and Phil Robinson from the Friends of Stanley Park at the bandstand

“As people weren’t able to celebrate Christmas properly last year due to Covid, we felt it would be nice to do something locally and this will be a family event in the park.

“There will be a collection on the day and we will also set up a Just Giving page, so it will also be a thankyou to our local hospital for everything they have done for us.”

The event will also mark the first one back at the bandstand since lockdown caused all concerts there to be cancelled.

Nigel said the Friends group has now got the go ahead for a full schedule to return next year at the venue, which before the pandemic regularly attracted large audiences to it Sunday afternoon concerts.

He said: “The bandstand will be back next year as a Covid friendly venue and we have sorted this out with the council and got approval.

Money raised from the carol concert, which is expected to be up to 90 minutes long, will go to Blackpool Victoria Hospital Blue Skies appeal.

Representatives of any choir which wants to volunteer should contact Nigel on 07721 446038.

 

Volunteers celebrate as Stanley Park visitor centre reopens

Home | Blackpool Gazette

The visitor centre at Stanley Park has reopened for the first time in 18 months after being shut since the first lockdown in March last year.

 

Four of the Friends of Stanley Park who volunteer in the centre from left Carol Lee, Lynn Patterson, Jacqui Veazey and Gill Howard.

Four of the Friends of Stanley Park who volunteer in the centre from left Carol Lee, Lynn Patterson, Jacqui Veazey and Gill Howard.

Volunteers from the Friends of Stanley Park are back manning the council-owned centre while events and groups including the dog club are back in place.

The relaunch has been marked with an exhibition by the Blackpool Boys and Girls Club craft club with the centre open Thursday to Sunday.

The traditional Macmillan Coffee Morning will be held on the weekend of September 25 and 26, Blackpool Civic Trust art competition and exhibition from September 23, and events for Hallowe’en on October 30 and 31.

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“We need to look how we can do more to attract visitors to the park as well as serve our local community better .

“We have seen a huge growth in visitor numbers and need to build on this to ensure the park continues for the next 100 years and we leave a great positive legacy for the future by having a more vibrant Park community.”

 

Stanley Park lake funding bid fails but still hope for alternative solutions

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A bid for up to £1m towards dredging Stanley Park Lake has been unsuccessful but hopes remain of finding a long term solution to eradicate the algae which affects the water feature.

 

The council had applied for funding from the Innovative Flood Resilience Fund in partnership with the Wyre Rivers Trust for the work to be carried out.

A town hall spokesperson said: “The bid for funding at the lake was unsuccessful but the team continues to look for other funding sources.”

Algae and pond weed has spread across the surface of the lake in recent years and a feasability study was carried out in 2019 to look at ways of managing the problem.

A boat removing pond weed at the lake earlier this yearA boat removing pond weed at the lake earlier this year

Dredging the lake would make it deeper and reduce exposure of the algae and pond weed to sunlight thus controlling its spread naturally.

Lisa Arnold, leisure services manager at Blackpool Council, told a meeting of the Scrutiny Leadership Board earlier this year that cutting back the pond weed each year was “a costly and labour intensive process.”

It also caused the weed to “grow more vigorously the following year so it just perpetuates the issue.”

Ms Arnold said work to dredge the lake and remove sludge from the bottom would help reduce flooding and added “if we can deepen it the algae and weed do not reach the sunlight”, therefore restricting their spread naturally.

Some work was done In April to control the problem when specialist operators were brought into remove the surface weed by Hagop Tchobanian, who operates concessions at the park including the pleasure boats.

He took action because the weed had been getting tangled up in the boats’ motors and oars, preventing them from being able to operate properly on the lake.

 

Nigel is the new man at the helm at Blackpool’s Stanley Park

Home | Blackpool Gazette

For many people, Stanley Park became the most important destination in Blackpool during lockdown as a place to exercise and meet friends outdoors.

 

And as we hopefully put the worst of the Covid pandemic behind us, it will no doubt continue to play a vital role in many residents’ lives.

So Nigel Patterson, who has been installed as the new chairman of the Friends of Stanley Park and Salisbury Woodland, knows there will be many challenges ahead as he takes over the reigns.

But having retired from a long career which included looking after Blackpool Tower and the Winter Gardens, he is well placed to accept the test.

New chairman of the Friends of Stanley Park Nigel PattersonNew chairman of the Friends of Stanley Park Nigel Patterson

He has taken over from Elaine Smith who has stepped down after a total of 12 years as chairman.

Nigel, who is married to Lynne and has a daughter Samantha and a two-year-old grandson, was formerly operations director at First Leisure when it owned the Tower, the Winter Gardens and the resort’s three piers.

He then worked in the motorway services industry – introducing branded food outlets nationwide – before joining a maintenance company which employed 10,000 people and included every Asda in the country as a client.

But he is clearly not a person to sit back on his laurels – or to think life is just a bed of roses – to use two phrases his latest position may relate to.

Nigel said: “I’ve been a member of the Friends group for five years after calling in at the visitor centre where Elaine thrust a membership form into my hand.

“Working with the voluntary sector is all proving new to me but the volunteers are at the heart of the Friends of Stanley Park and I’m just a cog in the wheel.

“I understand people and the attractions business, but the attraction here belongs to the council and we are just a Friends group, but an important Friends group.”

Nigel has a hard act to follow, with Stanley Park being named the best park in the country twice under Elaine’s watch.

But he is keen to look ahead and ensure the open space remains relevant to up and coming generations – and that includes promoting activities like BMX and skateboarding which today’s youngsters opt for.

Plans have been approved to convert a disused basketball court into a new facility for use by skateboarders, bikers and scooter riders.

Nigel said: “The council is aware of the development opportunities we can work together on, and the new skate park is one of those.

“It’s a joint initiative between ourselves, the council and the skateboard community. We have to move with the times but quality decisions will be right at the end of the day.”

One thing Nigel is already planning ahead for is the park’s centenary in 2026, but in the shorter term he is looking forward to bringing back many of the traditonal events such as the Hallowe’en weekend with fancy dress and the famous pumpkin carving competition.

These also help to raise vital funds which are reinvested back into the park.

He said: “Fundraising is important and we haven’t raised any money during lockdown, but that will correct itself because we haven’t spent anything either.

“As we go forward we are going to need more volunteers as well. For example events at the bandstand are not going to restart until next year, but when they do because of new regulations we’ll need more volunteers to help.”

Despite all the goodwill surrounding the park, there are sadly those who do not respect it, and vandalism and irresponsible dog owners are two of the worst culprits according to Nigel.

However a £200,000 CCTV system has now been installed to improve security, and a vibrant dog club is helping spread the message on canine care.

He said: “Vandalism disgusts me and I say to any parent whose children are committing vandalism, the park has been here nearly 100 years and we need it for another 100 years.

“Do you know what your children were doing last night?

“Also to dog walkers, I say pick up your dog’s mess and be aware dogs should be on a lead in busy areas of the park.”

Nigel is keen to pay tribute to the legacy Elaine has left behind, and his main hope is to build on that.

He added: “We have a huge debt of gratitude to a lady who has given so many years to the park.

“I’ll do it my way because things move on. And I hope what has happened in lockdown, with so many Blackpool residents enjoying the park will mean they will continue to support us.”

The Stanley Park Visitor Centre is due to reopen on September 7 after being closed since March 2020.

Macmillan coffee mornings will take place on September 25 and 26.

The Hallowe’en Weekend will be back on October 30/31 with chidren’s fancy dress, a pumpkin carving competition and entertainment.

Anyone wanting to join the Friends of Stanley Park or volunteer can contact Nigel on 07721 446038.

 

Volunteers left ‘heartbroken’ as thieves strip roses from Blackpool’s Stanley Park

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Volunteers left ‘heartbroken’ as thieves strip roses from Blackpool’s Stanley Park

 

The latest incident saw 21 blooms taken in a single week bringing the total stolen this year to 70, while the toll over the past three years adds up to 150.

Up to £7,000 worth of heritage roses have been stolen, all of which had been paid for through fundraising by the Friends of Stanley Park, whose volunteers also plant and tend the roses.

Elaine Smith, chairman of the Friends of Stanley Park, said: “It’s heartbreaking for the volunteers who are there every day.

Alan Wignall,  Rose Garden volunteers team leader, with (from left) Terry Harrison, Terry Wallis, Diane Glister, Sue Osborne and Pam Harrison, at one of the beds stripped of roses.Alan Wignall, Rose Garden volunteers team leader, with (from left) Terry Harrison, Terry Wallis, Diane Glister, Sue Osborne and Pam Harrison, at one of the beds stripped of roses.

“The Rose Garden looked beautiful a few weeks ago and now it’s decimated.”

A survey by the Friends of Stanley Park has found 150 roses have been stolen in three years including 70 this year.

Blackpool police have confirmed they are aware of the incidents, while CCTV cameras have been installed in a bid to deter further thefts.

The latest plant raids happened on Tuesday June 15 and Wednesday June 16 from the Rose Garden, and it is believed the thefts happened at night.

Mrs Smith added: “Volunteers from the Friends of Stanley Park look after both the Rose Garden and the Memorial Garden.

“Because of the heritage status of the park every bed in the Rose Garden has to be planted with roses as near as possible to those originally planted when the park was laid out by Thomas Mawson, so we can’t easily replace them.

“They are just being pulled up and it’s distressing to see.

“We’ve also had other plants stolen from the Memorial Gardens. Volunteers have grown them at home, planted them out and them someone comes along and helps themselves.

“Some of our volunteers have even gone searching at car boot sales to see if they are being stolen to be sold.

“They are putting hours of work in and then this kind of thing happens.”

A £200,000 CCTV system has now been installed in the park, with 16 cameras including coverage of the Rose Garden which it is hoped will deter future incidents and help catch the culprits.

A Lancashire Police spokesperson said the rose thefts had been reported to them.

Stanley Park was constructed between 1924 and 1926 to designs by Thomas Mawson.

It has twice been named best park in the UK including in 2019 by the green space charity Fields in Trust based on public nominations.

Anyone interested in the work done by the volunteer gardeners at Stanley Park, can go along to the Rose Garden between 10.30am and 2.30pm on Saturday June 26 to meet the team.

Poignant ceremony at Veterans Walk in Blackpool’s Stanley Park

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A poignant dedication and memorial ceremony has taken place on the Veterans Walk area of Blackpool’s Stanley Park.

Three new memorial trees are unveiled in the Veterans Walk area of Stanley Park

Three new memorial trees are unveiled in the Veterans Walk area of Stanley Park

Three new memorial trees and plaques were unveiled, dedicated to three recipients – the NHS, Blackpool Palatine Rotary’s blood bike service and the Friends of Stanley Park.

There were already 12 oak trees and plaques along this part of the park, many of them devoted to lost servicemen and women in various wars and conflicts while others are in honour of emergency services and community organisations.

It was intended to add the latest three trees last year, but the Covid restrictions intervened.

Blood Bike rider and rotarian Mark Rooker with Terry Harrison, president of Palatine Rotary and Elaine Smith from Friends of Stanley Park.Blood Bike rider and rotarian Mark Rooker with Terry Harrison, president of Palatine Rotary and Elaine Smith from Friends of Stanley Park.

The project , which has cost around £5,000 overall, has been overseen by the Friends of Stanley Park, who contributed most of the funds, supported by Blackpool Palatine Rotary Club.

The memorial unveiling was attended by Lancashire Deputy Lieutenant John Barnett MBE, who gave a speech, as well as representatives of all three recipients.

Elaine Smith, chairman of the Friends of Stanley Park, said: “Veterans Walk is a lovely part of the park which honours those who have provided service, including those who lost their lives in times of conflict.

“We have wanted to include these extra trees for some time but just when we were ready early last year, Covid struck.

Peter Murphy and Jim Gardner from Blackpool Teaching Hospitals with the tree dedicated to the NHS.Peter Murphy and Jim Gardner from Blackpool Teaching Hospitals with the tree dedicated to the NHS.

“Because of the ongoing restrictions, we didn’t have as many people there are the unveiling as we would have wanted, but it was wonderful to have the Deputy Leuitenant there.”

She added: “We have lost some of our members in the Friends group, because of Covid, so we thought it was also a fitting way to honour them too.”

Joyce Street and Elaine Smith from the Friends of Stanley Park.Joyce Street and Elaine Smith from the Friends of Stanley Park.

One of the plaques unveiled on the dayOne of the plaques unveiled on the day