Safety fears at blind spot on busy Blackpool road junction

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Calls have been made to improve the safety of a traffic junction after drivers warned the construction of a new fence has created a dangerous blind spot.

Coun Graham Baker at the junctionCoun Graham Baker at the junction

Motorists emerging from Division Lane into Common Edge Road in Marton say the structure has reduced their visibility of traffic accelerating as it approaches the 40mph zone on Queensway.

They fear their pleas for action are falling on deaf ears because the junction lies on the border of Blackpool and Fylde councils.

While Blackpool Council has authority over the height and positioning of the fence, Lancashire County Council (as the highway authority for Fylde) has responsibility for the road.

Coun Graham Baker, who represents Stanley ward on Blackpool Council, is campaigning for action on behalf of residents.

Blackpool Council planners have told him the fence meets its requirements on height, while LCC says the sight line for traffic is acceptable for a 30mph zone.

But Coun Baker said: “Unfortunately these two responses do not address the very dangerous situation that definitely exists at this point when drivers are trying to exit Division Lane.”

Householder Maureen Williams says she needs the fence to protect her home after three accidents when out-of-control drivers have crashed into her garden.

She said LCC advised her on where to position the fence, but she would be prepared to move it if the council funded the changes.

Mrs Williams said: “There have been three accidents here. The last one in July 2020 saw me woken up at 3am with the original fence having been pulled down and a car had nearly gone into the house.

“So I need a strong fence to protect myself. LCC told me the sight line was ok, and I can’t afford to replace it.

“I would move the fence back and give up some of the garden, but I can’t afford to do it.”

Coun Baker said: “Solving this problem is made worse because two authorities are involved and appear to be pointing at each other and hiding behind the planning and highway rules.

“These though must not be reasons to overlook a very dangerous situation.

“If Mrs Williams is willing for the highways authority to reclaim the land to a position where there is a safe sight line, I hope Blackpool Council or LCC, or both, can see their way to funding that.

“It would be the quickest and cheapest way of resolving this.”

Division Lane resident Harvey Pomfret said many people were worried there could be a serious accident.

He said: “We would like a safety risk assessment to be carried out by the highways officers at this horrendous concealed junction which is on a bend, on an incline, with no vision and traffic travelling well in excess of 30mph.

“But because it is on a boundary no one wants to take responsibility.”

Following a site visit John Blackledge, Blackpool Council’s director of community and environmental services, said: “We are currently considering the issue and in dialogue with the owner of the fence.”


Elaine to take over as new Fylde mayor

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Elaine Silverwood is to be the next mayor of Fylde.

The independent councillor who has represented the Kirkham North ward since 2007, will officially take over the role next week at Fylde Council’s annual meeting.

The socially-distanced event will be lower-key than usual and a full ‘mayor-making’ ceremony is set to follow in the summer.

Coun Cheryl Little, who represents the Fairhaven ward, will be the new deputy mayor.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Elaine Silverwood has been a Fylde councillor since 2007

Elaine Silverwood has been a Fylde councillor since 2007

Fylde mayor set to stay on for a second year

The pandemic lockdown also accounted for the mayoral balls, traditionally the main single charity fund-raisers of the year, not being possible.

Coun Silverwood is a former Kirkham town mayor and was Fylde’s deputy mayor in 2013-14, when Coun Linda Nulty was first citizen.

The new mayor-elect has chosen three charities to support during her year of office – The Linden Centre, a service at Trinity Hospice which provides counselling and support to adults, children and young people who have, or are caring for, someone with a non-curative or life-limiting illness; Fylde Coast Women’s Aid and Kirkham and Wesham Club Day.

This year’s Club Day, as in 2020, has already been called off because of the pandemic, along its counterpart in Lytham and St Annes Carnival.

Coun Silverwood, whose book and cafe business based in Kirkham town centre, celebrates its 21st anniversary next month, said: “It’s going to be an interesting year with still being in Covid’s shadow.”

It is thanks to our loyal readers that we can continue to provide the trusted news, analysis and insight that matters to you. For unlimited access to our unrivalled local reporting, you can take out a subscription here and help support the work of our dedicated team of reporters.


Henry, six, cycles to help RNLI – and is eager to do it again

Home | Blackpool Gazette

It took more than a forecast of rain to put six-year-old Henry Wilson-Stephenson off from getting on his bike.

The youngster supported the RNLI’s Leg It for the Lifeboat fund-raiser by cycling the route from the Lytham boathouse to St Annes – and enjoyed it so much he carried on to the Blackpool RNLI station.

Henry, who lives in Lytham with his proud mum, Victoria Wilson, was determined to tackle the bike ride even though organisers had postponed the planned ‘Roll With It’ aspect of the month-long incentive for the day as the weather forecast was so bad.

It has been rescheduled for this weekend – and Henry plans to do it all over again.

Henry at the Lytham RNLI boathouseHenry at the Lytham RNLI boathouse

Leg It for Lifeboats month-long fund-raiser off and running

“We set off from the lifeboat station at Lytham and while Henry rode his bike I ran.

“Arriving at St Annes lifeboat station, Henry said ‘Why not carry on?’, so we continued all the way to Blackpool lifeboat station.

“Henry was so proud and happy when we completed the ride. He was so thrilled to have done it and I could not be more proud of him doing this for such a good cause.

“Walkers, runners and cyclists waved and cheered him along and he’s really looking forward to doing it again.”

An RNLI spokesman said: “What a great effort by Henry.”

‘Roll With It’, featuring the opportunity to cover the 3.5 mil course using anything on wheels, shared billing on the weather-hit weekend with ‘Light Up for Leg It’, with glowsticks and torches, and that too has been postponed until this coming weekend.

The Leg It fund-raiser runs to May 31, with participants free to choose when they tackle it and no need to register.

All the RNLI asks is that participants take some photographs at the start and finish and share them at the Lytham St Annes RNLI social media pages. Donations can then be made to

Last year, Leg It raised almost £12,000.

It is thanks to our loyal readers that we can continue to provide the trusted news, analysis and insight that matters to you. For unlimited access to our unrivalled local reporting, you can take out a subscription here and help support the work of our dedicated team of reporters.

These were the headlines in Blackpool in 1976

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Here are some of the stories making the news in May 1976

Centenary parade went like clockwork

Massive crowds braved the weather for a big parade through the Blackpool to mark the start of a fortnight of centenary celebrations,

Grey skies, a blustery breeze and showers of rain threatened to mar the events for which the promenade was closed.

Blackpool centenary parade, 1976

Blackpool centenary parade, 1976

Watched by an estimated 100,000 people, the procession involved 200 vehicles and 2,500 people. It was organised by the Blackpool and Fylde Junior Chamber of Commerce and was titled Blackpool on Parade.

It featured local commercial interests and voluntary organisations.

Before the main event, there was a special service at St John’s Parish Church, at which the Very Rev Lawrence Jackson from Blackburn Cathedral, was the preacher. Then a party of civic dignitaries took their place at the town hall which the procession passed on its way to the promenade and Starr Gate.

Roadworks in Church Street meant that there were gaps in the procession. Chris Hughes, president of the chamber said: “In general the whole thing went like clockwork.” He also paid tribute to the police for their handling of traffic and crowds.

Gunman fled from wine store but said ‘please’ in hold-up

A gunman said ‘please’ when he came face to face with an assistant at a wine store.

The drama began for Barbara Docktray just 25 minutes before closing time at Ainley’s wine store in Cookson Street.

Mrs Docktray, a partime shop assistant was sitting near to the cigarette kiosk when a young man walked in.

He pulled out a small gun from his pocket and said: “Will you empty the till, please.”

But the raider was scared off when the owner of the store, Alan Ainley, came into the shop.

“When the gunman realised someone was coming, he just fled,” said Mrs Docktray.

“The gunman first came into the shop and bought some cigarettes or a can of beer and left.

“The first time there were customers drifting in and out of the shop.”

Half an hour later he went back and that time the shop was empty. When he fled, Mr Ainley chased after him. Police were soon on the spot and searched the area. But the gunman was not found.

Mrs Docktray said the gun was an automatic type, about six inches long.

“It has been quite an experience,” she said, “I have been trying to keep myself occupied, I hardly slept last night.”

Garage break-in third in six months

A Fleetwood garage was broken into for the third time in six months.

Ken Maden, owner of Styan Motors Ltd, went to the premises in Copse Road and discovered a rear window broken.

A total of £128 cash was stolen from the office along with more sweets, Mr Maden said the intruders had also upturned drawers in the premises.

He said the money, which was in a drawer, was the deposit on a car and some uncollected wages.

A high wing aeroplane which had a black fuselage and orange wings was stolen from a desk along with the radio control equipment.

Mr Maden estimated the plan and equipment to be worth £200. He said it was the third break in since December and they also had five plate glass windows smashed since mid-January.

New tenant needed for five-bob house

The Royal British Legion was considering applicants for a two bedroomed house in Rodwell Walk, Grange Park, for a weekly rent of just 25p.

The ‘five-bob house’ was one of 10 owned by a trust set up by a local landowner for ex-servicemen.

Under the terms of the McCandless Trust, the houses must be let at a rent of only 25p and the Royal British Legion were asked to interview suitable applicants. A British Legion spokesman said: “We have loads of applicants for these houses.

“The new vacancy follows the death of one of their tenants and they are waiting for the estate to be settled before a new tenant can move in.”

The only condition is that the prospective tenant was resident in Blackpool in 1939 and had served in either of the two World Wars.


Blackpool sex club dispute to be decided at town hall meeting

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A row over the future operation of a Blackpool sex club must go before councillors to be resolved.

David Moseley, acting on behalf of Pool Construction Ltd, has applied for the transfer of a sexual entertainment venue licence relating to the Eden lap dancing club on Queen Street.

But since January this year the licence has been held by AA Recreation 1 Ltd which is linked to the Sinless Lap Dancing Club on The Strand in the resort.

It has objected to the application for the licence transfer citing concerns over the suitability of the applicant.

Eden on Queen StreetEden on Queen Street

Documents submitted to the council say: “The fact is the licence was issued to ‘AA Recreation 1 Ltd’ and expires in January 2022.

“Mr Moseley’s attempt to transfer a licence without the current holder’s consent is akin to applying to DVLA to have your neighbour’s car registered in your name without have the decency to make an offer to buy it first.”

The dispute will now go before a meeting of the council’s public protection sub-committee on May 25.

A report to the sub-committee says: “Eden, 15-17 Queen Street, Blackpool has been licensed as a sexual entertainment venue (SEV) since September 2013.

“The licence has been held by AA Recreation 1 Ltd since January 15 2021. The Licensing Service received an application on April 8 2021 from Pool Construction Ltd to transfer the licence.

“Following advertisement of the transfer application, the Licensing Service received a public objection via email on May 5 2021 from the directors and shareholders for AA Recreation 1 Ltd. The objection looks at the suitability of the applicant.”

Eden was stripped of its sex entertainment venue licence in July 2019 after a 25-year-old man on a stag do was torched by a dancer wielding an aerosol can and a lighter – leaving him in hospital suffering from second-degree burns to his torso.

There had also been complaints of customers being over-charged when using debit and credit cards to buy dances and drinks, Blackpool Magistrates’ Court was told.

But following talks with the council around how the club would operate, Eden was allowed to re-open in January 2020.


Death of Blackpool man in police custody caught on tape

Home | Blackpool Gazette

The death of a man in police custody was caught on tape – with the footage likely to play a key part in an ongoing investigation.

Dad-of-five Ronald Robinson, 56, was driving a hire car when he was pulled over in Knowle Avenue, North Shore, in March.

Officers claimed he put a “small ball-shaped item into his mouth before he was arrested”, the Independent Office for Public Conduct (IOPC) said.

And the moment was captured by cameras worn on the chest of officers at the scene, as well as one mounted to their vehicle, The Gazette learned.

Ronald Robinson, who died in police custody in March (Picture: Robinson family)Ronald Robinson, who died in police custody in March (Picture: Robinson family)

Unlike in the States, however, where clips are routinely released to the public in the name of transparency, the video may only come out during the inquest into Mr Robinson’s death – and may never see the light of day.

It comes after Mr Robinson’s family drafted in lawyers in their quest for answers over what happened – with his sister-in-law Judy Robinson, an ex-guns cop with the Met Police, describing a number of injuries on his body.

She said: “He had cuts to his chin that needed stitches, skin missing off his forehead, cuts on his ears, and a large wound on the back of his head.

“He had gashes by his ears, his neck was black and blue, and skin was missing off his fingers.”

Those wounds, while still unofficially explained, did not play a part in Mr Robinson’s death and may have resulted from a struggle during the arrest, one source said.

Investigators were awaiting a final report from the pathologist, held-up by tests for drugs in Mr Robinson’s system.

Two officers arrested the former tram driver, who had been in rehab for a drug addiction and lived on the Prom, with a third arriving to help give CPR.

All three were being treated as witnesses and not suspects, with the IOPC, which is expected to wrap up its probe at some point over the summer, investigating the circumstances rather than their individual conduct.

“We have spoken to a number of witnesses and obtained statements from the officers who were present,” a spokesman said previously.

Family lawyer Jade Brown said “conflicting accounts” had been given about Mr Robinson’s death.

Lancashire Police refused to comment.


Plans to demolish former Fairhaven care home and replace it with apartment block

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A former Fylde care home could be demolished and replaced with apartments if plans are approved.

The former Clovelly Rest Home on Clifton Drive in Fairhaven has been closed for a number of years and now a developer is proposing to raze the building and replace it with an apartment block.

The block would feature nine two-bedroom apartments if plans are passed and outbuildings and garages at the rear of the current building would also be demolished.

Plans for the care home’s demolition were approved by Fylde Council back in 2014, however the permission lapsed due to no work being done to the site.

The former Clovelly Rest Home on Clifton Drive in FairhavenThe former Clovelly Rest Home on Clifton Drive in Fairhaven

Macclesfield-based Andrew Franks has now submitted the proposals again for planning officers to look over.

As part of the design and access statement submitted with the application, it states: “The proposed apartment block is of the same design as that previously approved, and as such is in keeping with the envisaged design theme, which was previously considered acceptable.”

The scale of the apartment block would be three and a half storeys and parking for 18 cars would also be created if the proposals are accepted.

Coun Cheryl Little who represents Fairhaven ward, said she welcomes the plans as long as neighbours are happy with them.

She said: “ The old care home has been neglected and not looked after for more than ten years now so any sort of investment into it and the area should be welcomed.

“As long as there is no disruption to neighboring properties and the designs are in consideration to Fairhaven then I don’t see any problem with the plans.”


Tourists arrive in Blackpool as resort opens back up to the masses

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

Members of the town’s night-time economy are excited to welcome customers back inside

Today has been a long awaited day for Blackpool’s tourism and hospitality businesses as government guidelines now allow six people or two households to mix indoors.

Some of the town’s most iconic and well-loved attractions are now able to receive visitors including Blackpool Tower, Madame Tussauds, Coral Island and Blackpool Winter Gardens.

As part of the Government’s phased plan to lift lockdown, hotels, bnbs, pubs, bars, restaurants, cinemas, indoor attractions, bingo halls, casinos and soft play centres can welcome indoor guests.

Attractions that opened up their outdoor areas in April are today (May 17) able to welcome guests inside to enjoy more of the fun such as Blackpool Pleasure Beach, with people enjoying coffee inside its new WG Bean cafe named after its founder, and Blackpool Zoo opening up its animal houses.

Della Belk, PR and Marketing Manager at Blackpool Zoo, said: “We welcome the news that the indoor areas of Blackpool Zoo are able to reopen from Monday May 17 and I am sure all our visitors will be delighted too.

Staff inside Blackpool Pleasure Beach's WG Bean coffee shop waiting welcome guests inside

Staff inside Blackpool Pleasure Beach’s WG Bean coffee shop waiting welcome guests inside (Image: Blackpool Pleasure Beach)

“It has been wonderful to see people enjoying a well-deserved and long overdue visit since the gates opened in April. All the safety measures we have had in place throughout the pandemic remain, so visitors can rest assured that we have covered all the bases when it comes to being Covid-secure.

“With summer just around the corner, we can’t wait to welcome more people back to Blackpool Zoo.”

Shoppers were out in force this morning too and tourists could be seen arriving with suitcases to the resort’s freshly opened hotels.

One of the hottest attractions, Coral Bay, saw families return to the enjoy the plethora of arcade games.

The predictably unsettled Lancashire weather has resulted in a slower start than expected, however the resort is expected to fill up during the half term holiday next week.

Blackpool DJ and producer, Lee Jester Watson, is excited to return to what he does best tonight.

Lee, who is also abroadcaster at In Demand Radio said: “Today’s the day hospitality starts to properly reopen and I’m so excited to be going back DJing tonight get ready for Blackpool’s newest nightclub Trilogy on Talbot Road.

“Matt and the team have done a fantastic job, you have to see it. I want to wish all my friends who are going back to work all the best, we’ve waited so long for this.

Blackpool brothers DJ Lee Jester Watson and Marley's rumbar owner Jason Fubar can't wait to get back to the night time economy

Blackpool brothers DJ Lee Jester Watson and Marley’s rumbar owner Jason Fubar can’t wait to get back to the night time economy (Image: DJ Lee Jester Watson)

“A big good luck to my brother Jason who’s opening Marley’s Rum bar on North Promenade today, he’s put everything into it and it looks amazing. I’m sure everyone is going to love it.”

Blackpool, known for decades its DIY and independent music scene can’t wait to welcome back its musician from all over.

Some if its mot well-known and respected music venues have struggled to get through the Coronavirus pandemic without funding.

Founder of Blackpool music festival, Jon Bamborough, said: “I’ve had the privilege of seeing the insides of both The Waterloo Music Bar and The Galleon Bar in the last week and I have to say that both of them are the best decorated venues I have ever seen.

“Considering that they are up against the likes of the Hard Rock Cafe chain they really are both exceptional and this is due, in no small measure, to their owners Ian Fletcher and Stephen Pierre.

“Both of whom have put considerable time and effort into making their respective venue the best they can be. These venues are not only a credit to Blackpool and the North West but to the whole of the UK.

Owner of Waterloo music bar Ian Fletcher has re-opened with a launch of a brand new Motorhead stout

Owner of Waterloo music bar Ian Fletcher has re-opened with a launch of a brand new Motorhead stout (Image: Waterloo Music Bar)

“Please take the time to show your support, it would not only mean the world to them but will also help to ensure that these fantastic venues can continue to deliver for you.

“Good Luck to all the pubs, cafes and restaurants opening for the first time since lockdown, I wish you all every success because the whole town will benefit from that. My thoughts tomorrow will be with Ian and Stephen, a pair of proper legends!”

Lancaster City Council to support investigation into Heysham explosion

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Lancaster City Council is fully supporting an investigation into the cause of an explosion in Heysham in the early hours of yesterday (Sunday, May 16).

Emergency services were called to Mallowdale Avenue in Heysham after an explosion caused a number of houses to collapse following which George Arthur Hinds, aged two years and 10 months, tragically died.

Council officers attended the scene to support the emergency services and Salt Ayre Leisure Centre opened as an evacuation centre.

Any residents who have been affected are being supported to find alternative accommodation. Work is also underway to clear the scene and surrounding area.

Blast site at Mallowdale Avenue. Heysham. Photo: David HurstBlast site at Mallowdale Avenue. Heysham. Photo: David Hurst

Lancaster City Council can confirm that it owns one of the properties affected and support is now being provided to investigate the incident and its cause.

Councillor Dr Erica Lewis, leader of Lancaster City Council, said: “This was a truly tragic incident and our sympathies and thoughts are with George’s family at this terrible time.

“Our officers quickly attended the scene to provide support to the emergency services and the local community. It goes without saying that this support will continue for as long as is necessary.

“I’d like to thank all of those involved for their swift response and the community for how they have come together to support those affected in their hour of need.

“It’s now important that we find out the cause of the explosion and have a full investigation into the circumstances, which the council will assist with in any way it can.”

As a mark of respect, the flags on both Lancaster and Morecambe town halls have been lowered to half mast.

Anyone who has been affected and requires support following the incident should contact Lancaster City Council on 01524 582000.

Council housing tenants can call 01524 582929 for support and advice.


Miniature train owners’ delight at public support over seawall fears

Home | Blackpool Gazette

The owners of a long-established family seaside attraction have expressed their thanks for a wave of public support amid fears it could be lost.

The family behind St Annes Miniature Railway took to social media to vent its concerns and rally backing after being left with the impression from a meeting of stakeholders over possible new sea defences for the area that the land the line currently occupies might no longer be available after the work.

Following the recent successful completion of the sea defence works along the coastline between Lytham and Fairhaven Lake, Fylde Council has obtained funding from the Environment Agency to develop a feasibility study to investigate various options for improving coastal erosion and flood risk management at Pleasure Island, St Annes.

The feasibility study went out to public consultation last week and the council has said that a number of alternative options are currently being considered, depending on input and feedback from stakeholders including residents, and businesses.

The late Harry Leeming driving the miniature train on St Annes seafrontThe late Harry Leeming driving the miniature train on St Annes seafront

National award for Fairhaven sea defences

Following that assessment, a preferred solution will be identified which is likely to obtain approval for Government funding.

Subject to approval of the feasibility report, completion of the detailed design and obtaining all necessary consents, licences and approvals, site works could start in spring next year

But Helen Leeming, the owner of the miniature railway, whose father in law Harry drove the train for 20 years up to 2001, says she was shocked to hear at a stakeholders meeting of an apparent ‘preferred option’ which she fears could spell the end of the railway.

“We were horrified and felt it was important for the public to know. The response since has been amazing, with more than 2,700 signatures on an online petition. It shows how much people love the miniature train.”

Fylde Council’s public protection committee chairman and deputy leader Coun Roger Small said that no decisions have been made and every possibility is on the table as the matter goes to consultation.

“Once the replies to the consultation are in, we will look at them very carefully before making any decisions,” said Coun Small.

“Every possibility will be looked at and we will try our very best to accommodate all the existing businesses.”

Coun Ed Nash, whose central ward covers that part of St Annes, said: “The matter has gone out to consultation and there is certainly no ‘preferred option’ as far as I know. It’s a big issue and I’m sure I would be aware if that was the case.”

“I can see why Helen is worried but I am sure the matter will be fully looked at and everything possible done to preserve all St Annes’ great attractions,” said St Annes beach huts co-owner Stuart Robertson.

It is thanks to our loyal readers that we can continue to provide the trusted news, analysis and insight that matters to you. For unlimited access to our unrivalled local reporting, you can take out a subscription here and help support the work of our dedicated team of reporters.