A new ambulance station to serve the Fylde coast is a step closer after Blackpool Council granted planning permission for the scheme.
Town hall planners approved the application by North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) using their delegated powers.
Shake up will see Fylde coast ambulance stations close
It means the current outdated base on Waterloo Road in South Shore, which was built in 1980, will be demolished and replaced with a new three storey facility.
Artist’s impression of the new ambulance station
It is hoped to start work this autumn, with the new station taking around a year to build.
NWAS proposes to introduce a ‘hub and spoke’ structure which it says will modernise the service, but it will also mean the eventual closure of ambulance stations in Fleetwood, Thornton, Lytham and Wesham.
The new facility would employ 263 members of staff in addition to up to 15 training staff and students on a typical day, representing an increase of 116 on current staffing levels.
But shift systems mean they would not all be present on site at the same time.
A temporary station is due to be created on the site of the former Devonshire Road Hospital for use while the new base is under construction.
Planners noted “the current ambulance station is no longer fit for purpose, it has a very dated appearance and is in need of extensive renovations.”
In a report setting out their decision they added: “NWAS have decided due to the good road and transport links to the existing site this offers the best solution for the new ambulance station, which would provide a modern response base, patient transfer unit and Make Ready suite.
“Alternative sites were considered as part of their original business case, but were discounted due to cost, traffic congestion and size.”
A Make Ready suite is where ambulances are re-equipped and cleaned in preparation for attending call-outs.
The new station will act as the main Fylde hub, with crews elsewhere on the coast operating from ‘spoke’ sites such as health centres, fire stations and police stations.
The model has already been adopted in other parts of the region after it was found ambulances are rarely at their station when they are despatched on a call.
About 30 people including a five-year-old boy had to be rescued from a rollercoaster in Blackpool.
Visitors are helped down from the Grand National rollercoaster ride at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.
The wooden, twin-track Grand National ride, built in 1935, broke down at midday on Tuesday.
Staff at the Blackpool Pleasure Beach attraction had to climb up the ride, which stands 62 feet (19m) high, to escort nervous thrill-seekers back to the ground.
At about the same time, another rollercoaster at the same amusement park, the giant Big One, also suffered a temporary stoppage, but riders were able to remain seated and the ride continued five minutes later.
He also criticised the Pleasure Beach and said all customers were given in compensation was a bottle of water and tickets that could not be used.
An eyewitness waiting to get on the ride said his children were “devastated” as the ride was stopped while the problem was dealt with.
A spokesman for Blackpool Pleasure Beach said: “At 11.55 am on Tuesday June 1 a stoppage occurred on the lift hill of the Grand National.
“All riders were safely escorted down the lift hill, and the ride was checked and re-opened just before 1pm
“Shortly afterwards there was a very brief stoppage on the Big One lift hill, at 50ft, riders remained seated and the ride continued after five minutes.”
In April riders on the Big One had to be escorted down after the amusement attraction broke down.
Defects in the sea wall first came to light in 2015 – with concerns raised again when the £scheme was finished
Calls have been made for repair work to be completed at Anchorsholme sea defences amid fears a high tide could lead to flooding in the area.
Defects in the sea wall first came to light in 2015 – with concerns raised again in 2017 when the £27m scheme was completed by contractor Balfour Beatty.
In a report to full council in 2018, Blackpool Council’s then deputy leader Coun Gillian Campbell said Balfour Beatty had “accepted responsibility” for the defects in some parts of the wall.
But Anchorsholme councillors Tony Williams and Paul Galley say despite raising concerns “several times over the past few years, still nothing has been done.”
In a joint statement, they added: “Promises made by the council and the contractors Balfour Beatty have been broken and guaranteed deadlines have not been kept.”
The council says Balfour Beatty is working on a solution to the problem with work due to begin soon.
But Coun Williams and Coun Galley say concerns about cracks in the concrete trapping water had been raised right from the start of the project.
They said: “These concerns had been raised from the very start of the work when large concrete beds were washed away by the sea.
“Both the council and Balfour Beatty gave assurances at the time that all was well – clearly it wasn’t.
“Balfour Beatty agreed to repair all the faults that occured and they started work early last year. However they appear to have ceased all further work and the repairs are unfinished.
“In the meantime after six years of work the sea defences are still not finished and as this area around Anchorsholme is a flood risk, lots of the residents are rightly worried and annoyed.”
The councillors warned “until this is resolved it looks like the residents may have to live in fear of the next giant tide.”
John Blackledge, Blackpool Council’s director of community and environmental services, said: “Balfour Beatty accept liability for the defects and repairs, the works are still under their control, they have been designing a solution and are currently checking the long term effects of the solution through a series of extensive testing.
“Once this investigation and testing is complete we will be in a position to advise when the defect and repair works will commence.
“Despite the work that may be required it is important that we must not lose sight of the huge benefits the sea wall is providing as a barrier to potential flooding.”
Ladies underwear, tents, a pair of Air Max trainers and belly board were amongst the items removed from St Anne’s beach by volunteers – with similar scenes in Blackpool
Volunteers have slammed ‘horrific’ littering across the Fylde coast over Bank Holiday weekend after picking up more than 40 bags of waste.
‘Don’t be a tosser’, the Lytham volunteers hoping to combat littering in their hometown, have shared details on the levels of rubbish left strewn across St Anne’s beach over the three-day break.
Amongst the piles of rubbish removed from the protected sand dunes on Monday (May 31) were a parasol, several tents, a pair of Air Max Nike trainers, ladies underwear and a supermarket trolly full of beer bottles.
Tracey Hope, who runs the group and volunteers with the RNLI, says the amount of litter left on the beach brought her close to tears.
She is urging beach-goers to pick up their rubbish and not abandon it on the sands.
“You don’t realise how much rubbish there is until you walk across the beach, it’s horrific and it’s every day,” the 41-year-old told LancsLive.
“I have lived in Lytham for 15 years now and I have always loved the coast; this is our home, we live here.
“We don’t want to be walking round a dump; we live in a beautiful place and we have got to look after it.
“We have got protected species here and the sand dunes on the beach are a Site of Special Scientific Interest so they’re protected as well.
“It’s just pure laziness, people go through the effort to take this stuff to the beach, enjoy their day, then they leave it behind.”
Tracey’s volunteer group, the motto of which is “don’t be a tosser,” was formed in 2020 during the first UK-wide lockdown.
The group organise regular litter picks and have recently been combing St Anne’s beach every day of the week, hoping to get through the vast amount of rubbish left behind by revellers.
The amount taken off the beach following the bank holiday weekend, when Britain experienced its hottest weather of 2021, was worse than anyone could have expected.
Tracey said: “We had 23 volunteers last night who each filled two bags within the first hour.
“We could have got more but the bags got so heavy, and we were dragging them all over the beach, so we had to stop.
“We went out at half-six this morning to pick up the things that were left.”
Shoes, flip flops, swimming costumes, footballs, tents, towels, picnic blankets, plastic buckets, bottles, hats, a belly board, a parasol and even a supermarket trolly full of beer bottles were amongst the items left out on the sands.
“We found a lot of underwear,” said Tracey. “We are not talking wet swimming costumes or kids underwear we are talking a few pairs of thongs amongst the dunes.
“I don’t know what’s going on there.”
Tracey has lauded Fylde council for continually fronting up to the littering problems in Lytham, organising their own picks, collecting up bin bags and investing in beachfront receptacles.
She says it is down to beach-goers to alleviate the litter problem which will only increase once more staycationers arrive in the Lancashire town this summer.
“It’s only going to get worse,” said Tracey. “I don’t understand it, I don’t know if the sun gets to people’s heads or what.
“They can’t leave their rubbish on the beach, the tide here comes in twice a day and it will carry the rubbish out to sea and damage our marine life.
“People need to take their rubbish home with them, it’s as simple as that.
“If we didn’t pick this all up, people would be settling down on a beach that looks like the remains of a festival right now.”
You can join the volunteer group ‘Don’t be a tosser’ by turning up at the St Anne’s RNLI, centre at 8pm, on any given day.
Tracey says everyone, including dogs and children, are more than welcome to join.
Any toys or plastic buckets and spades found on the beach are donated to charities or recycled.
The St Anne’s haul came just after similar scenes were witnessed in Blackpool.
Residents and community volunteers were left outraged after pictures taken on Sunday (May 30) showed large amounts of litter left strewn across the award-winning beach.
The rubbish included plastic and glass bottles, food packaging and discarded buckets and spades used by families and children.
The actions of some irresponsible sunseekers near Blackpool Tower forced the resort’s local clean up squads to leap into action to remove the mess.
Blackpool residents have condemned the litter-bugs behaviour on social media and called it ‘disgraceful’ and ‘disgusting’.
One person said: “Disgusting if you come to Blackpool clean up after yourselves the council should employ people to issue on the stop fines.”
Another wrote: “The beach has been lovely and clean during lockdown. Disgusting visitor’s treat the beach like this . It’s not hard to take your rubbish with you, after all they managed to carry it to the beach in the first place.”
Brief stoppage of Big One at Blackpool Pleasure Beach due to a suspected small technical fault
Riders of the Big One at Blackpool Pleasure Beach were briefly stuck at the top of the first climb in the baking heat this afternoon (June 1).
With clear blue skies and temperatures at 24C, riders briefly faced the prospect of having to climb down the 213ft from the tallest drop – as we saw happen in at the end of April.
Fortunately for those on the ride, the delay at the top of the coaster was around five minutes after staff scaled the ride themselves and were able to resolve the issue.
One witness told LancsLive: “It looked like they were going to have to head all the way down like they did a couple of months back. Fortunately two staff climbed up, flicked something and got it going again.”
The incident in April saw one person film themselves climbing down after the breakdown due to a suspect technical fault. Technical faults on rollercoasters are not an unusual occurrence. If riders are forced to get off the rollercoaster, they are escorted down by staff.
When the £12m ride, formerly known as the Pepsi Max, opened in 1994, it was the tallest and steepest roller coaster in the world.
Blackpool Pleasure Beach reopened on April 12 as part of the easing of lockdown measures.
Thomas Brotherton has appeared at Preston Magistrates’ Court
A Blackpool man has been charged by police investigating a serious assault.
Officers were called to a report a woman was being attacked in Lytham Road at around 9.30pm on Friday (May 28).
A man was later arrested in connection with the incident.
Lancashire Constabulary today (June 1) confirmed Thomas Brotherton, of Lytham Road, Blackpool, was charged with affray, assaulting a person thereby occasioning them actual bodily harm and using threatening behaviour with intent to cause fear of unlawful violence.
He was also charged with two offences of criminal damage, possessing a knife in a public place and threatening a person with a blade in a public place.
The 21-year-old was due to appear at Preston Magistrates’ Court yesterday (May 31).
Another child was also ‘pulled from the water’ by lifeboat crews on a busy Bank Holiday for the emergency services
A child who was seen ‘clinging onto the stanchions on Central Pier’ in Blackpool was rescued by a jet ski before being taken to hospital.
Lifeboat crews were alerted to the incident shortly after 1pm on Bank Holiday Monday.
HM Coastguard Lytham said as they arrived at the scene they received reports the child has been brought back to shore ‘by a local on a jet ski’.
The child was checked by coastguard volunteers and the Blackpool Beach Patrol before being taken by ambulance to hospital.
No further details have been released about the age of the child or the injuries they were being treated for.
It was the first of eight emergency call outs by coastguard crews on a ‘busy day’ yesterday as thousands of sunseekers flocked to Blackpool to enjoy the hottest day of the year.
In another incident, one child was ‘pulled from the water’ after getting into difficulties close to the lifeboat station and passed into the care of North West Ambulance Service.
HM Coastguard Lytham issued a statement with details of all eight call outs and praised the local on the jet ski for their quick-thinking actions.
The statement read: “Another busy day for our volunteers!
“Our day began at 13.02 with reports of a child clinging onto the stanchions on Central Pier, as we arrived on scene we received reports that the child had been brought back to shore by a local on a jetski, after ourselves and Blackpool Beach Patrol checked the child over, we requested an ambulance and the child was then taken to hospital.
“Our second call out came through immediately after to assist HM Coastguard Fleetwood with people cut off by the incoming tide in the Anchorsholme area, as we arrived on scene all persons were accounted for so we started returning to station.
“RNLI Blackpool were tasked to both incidents and launched their two inshore lifeboats.
“Our third emergency call out came came through soon after to reports that two children that were in difficulties, one of which had been pulled from the water by the lifeboat crew close to their station, we arrived on scene and took one of the casualty’s back to shore, both casualty’s were then passed into the care of North West Ambulance Service.
“Our fourth emergency call out came through at 14.46 to a missing child around the Queens Hotel area, fortunately as units were arriving from ourselves and HM Coastguard Fleetwood, we were made aware the child had been located. Blackpool Police were also in attendance.
“We then returned to station to debrief about the last couple of hours, two of our volunteers then went out on a local area safety patrol, as we were around the St Anne’s Pier area we were flagged down by a frantic father that his child was missing, as we started to deploy our team the child was fortunately located.
“We then carried on with the patrol and we received our sixth emergency call out at 16.56 to reports of 3 missing children on St Anne’s Beach, as our units were arriving the children were located so we were stood down and returned to station.
“As our officers were returning home, we were made aware of persons attempting to jump off Central Pier, the security prevented them from doing so and as we were making our way to the persons they made their way away from scene.
“We then stayed on scene to prevent anymore incidents.
“Our eighth job came through at 18.19 to reports of another missing child around the South Pier area, we arrived on scene and as we were requesting more units the child was located safe and well.
“We must also urge people not to block the slipways, you risk us being delayed to an emergency! You also risk your vehicle being towed away by the Council! Park responsibly.”