First residents at £10m new Blackpool housing development

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With views of a windmill, spacious rooms, the latest energy-saving measures and a trendy design – it’s no wonder the first residents of new council houses in Blackpool are delighted with their home.

 

Angela and Mark Short, along with their children Jemma, 17, and Declan, 18, have moved into one of the new build homes completed during phase one of the £10m development at Troutbeck Crescent on Mereside.

Their three-bedroom home over three floors is among the first nine properties to be handed over by builders Tyson Construction, with the next nine due at the beginning of August.

A total of 75 homes are being built with completion due by April next year.

Coun Ivan Taylor with Angela, Mark and Jemma Short

Coun Ivan Taylor with Angela, Mark and Jemma Short

The modern houses and flats boasting gardens, balconies and car ports are a far cry from the blocks of 81 worn out flats built in the 1960s, which were demolished to make way for the investment.

Blackpool Coastal Housing (BCH), which manages the properties on behalf of the council, estimated it would have cost £3m to bring the old flats up to modern standards.

Meanwhile they were proving difficult to let as tenants did not want them.

By contrast, residents are queuing up for the new homes which are being let through the My Home Choice housing register.
New homes in the first phase of the development
New homes in the first phase of the development

Angela, a support worker, had previously lived in Dean Street, South Shore, before moving to Troutbeck Crescent,

She said: “Our family has lived in Blackpool for some years but we were looking for a new home that better suited our needs.

“We saw the development at Troutbeck Crescent and when we viewed a three bedroom property we were impressed by the decent sized rooms and design. For us it was ideal.”

She added: “We were on the housing list for quite a long time, so it’s nice to be settled here – we don’t plan on moving again.The old flats which were demolished to make way for redevelopmentThe old flats which were demolished to make way for redevelopment

“Where we were before it was noisy and busy, and parking was difficult. Our new home is warm and we have double and triple glazing so you can’t hear traffic.

“We’re looking forward to meeting all our new neighbours and being part of the community here.”

The scheme is set to deliver 27 two bedroom houses, 18 three bedroom houses, two three bedroom accessible houses, nine two bedroom accessible houses and 19 one bedroom apartments which will be managed on behalf of the council by Blackpool Coastal Housing (BCH).

The project has been funded by the council and supported with grant funding from Homes England under the Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme 2016-21.

Work began in September 2019 on the 2.3 hectare site which includes new green spaces to replace trees and vegetation removed to enable construction.

Sarah Speakman, head of strategic developments at Blackpool Housing Company which has overseen the project for the council, said the aim was to provide high standard accommodation with many of the specifications beating those found in privately build affordable homes.

This includes heating and insulation which will “reduce energy bills and keep people warm and comfortable.”

Sarah added: “They are council houses but they meet or exceed national technical standards for housing in terms of space and energy efficiency.

“We are trying to create homes that are fit for purpose and allow people to stay here and become part of the community.”

Coun Ivan Taylor, council deputy leader with responsibilities for housing, said: “The previous housing at Troutbeck Crescent had become increasingly unpopular and difficult to let – as a result there was a high turnover of tenants.

“The new homes reflect the properties that are in highest demand in Blackpool. They are well designed and offer economical and good living space for people with different requirements and needs.”

He added the investment vindicated the council’s decision not to sell off its housing stock.

He said: “We kept our housing stock years ago when early every council sold off their’s to housing associations.

“But we wouldn’t do it and projects like this show it was absolutely the right thing to do. People want good housing and deserve it, and we are determined to provide it.”

BCH chief executive John Donnellon, said: “This is a scheme that the council

and Blackpool can be proud of, replacing ageing accommodation with modern high quality housing for Blackpool residents.”

Further proposals for new council houses in Blackpool include 131 properties at Grange Park, with a planning application for the scheme submitted last month.

The buses which shaped Blackpool’s transport through a century

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In the second of two features, Blackpool Transport archivist Alan Greenhalgh takes us through the later decades, looking at the Burlingtons, ticket machines and memorable, iconic colour schemes

 

Although Walter Luff concentrated his efforts on modernising the trams, some of the track on the congested Layton and Central Drive tram routes needed renewal.

The decision was taken to convert both these routes to bus operation from October 1936.

Twenty-five streamlined Burlingham bodied, Leyland Titan full-fronted buses were purchased for the conversion. Blackpool buses – the early days Consideration had been given at this time, and indeed later, to the substitution of trams by trolleybuses but this was never followed through even though authorisation had existed from 1935.

Some of the early designs and bus colour schemes became iconic in BlackpoolSome of the early designs and bus colour schemes became iconic in Blackpool

In 1937 the tram route from St Annes to Blackpool, and operated by Lytham St. Annes Corporation, was withdrawn and the Lytham St. Annes tram system closed down. A new bus service, the 11A, followed the line of the discontinued tram service although this did not involve any track closure within the Borough of Blackpool.

Fifty more streamlined buses were delivered during 1937, partly as provision for the services to Lytham. During the same year, 12 single deck buses, new in 1928, were rebodied by C.H. Roe in Leeds as open top ‘runabouts’ for the Park service.

In the period leading up to the Second World War, additional bus routes were introduced to serve new housing developments, particularly in South Shore. By 1938, bus route mileage stood at 116 miles compared with around 50 miles five years earlier and there were 161 buses in the fleet.

An area of land off Talbot Road, known as Talbot Mews, had developed during the 1920s and 1930s into a bus station for both corporation bus services and independent operators. This was replaced by a brand new bus station, together with a multi-storey car park, in 1939.

This was Talbot Road bus station in 1932This was Talbot Road bus station in 1932

During the war, many bus services were shortened or withdrawn altogether because of shortages of fuel and rubber for tyres. Five of the ‘runabouts’ were transferred to the Auxiliary Fire Service. Even more runabouts were converted as possible rescue vehicles and allocated to the ARP.

Conductresses were employed in 1940, the first time that female platform staff had been used since the end of the First World War. A small number of women became drivers of single deck buses.The bus garage at Rigby Road was used for military purposes and a large number of buses were parked in the Bus Station at night. A temporary bus garage was built at Bond Street to house spare buses. Special bus services were provided for the RAF and for workers at the Royal Ordnance Factory at Euxton near Chorley.

Six single deck and eight double deck buses were converted to run on gas. The single deckers carried a bag on the roof which could be filled from a gas stand pipe and the double deckers had a trailer affixed to them which contained a gas producing unit.

After the war, attention turned to the requirement for new buses as replacements for the pre-war fleet.

A 1960’s cream coloured Blackpool bus on the hospital routeA 1960’s cream coloured Blackpool bus on the hospital route

Manager Walter Luff was a strong believer in the benefit of the centre entrance with doors as a means of minimising platform accidents. Consequently, a modern version of the pre-war streamliner was adopted for bus deliveries between 1949 and 1952 when 100 iconic Leyland double deck vehicles with Burlingham bodies entered service. For many years during the 1950s and early 1960s these vehicles epitomised bus transport in Blackpool and indeed they are fondly remembered by many, even today.

Upon Walter Luff’s retirement in 1954 Joe Franklin was appointed general manager. In many respects Franklin adopted different policies to Luff, one obvious one being a reversion to rear entrance open platform buses. The first of these were five Leyland Titan PD2s with Burlingham bodies which were delivered in 1957.

The design of a full fronted cab, introduced pre-war, was maintained on new vehicles up until the mid-1960s.

It was during the early years of Joe Franklin’s managership that the bus (and tram) livery was revised to one of predominantly cream with green relief. This facilitated the controversial decision in 1957 to allow advertising on buses and trams for the first time since 1919. From the early 1970s the bus livery was to become almost totally cream.

During the winter of 1963-64 buses took over from the trams on the Promenade as an economy measure although trams continued to provide a shuttle service between Cleveleys and Fleetwood due to the problems of licensing a bus service in what was then a Ribble Motor Services operating area.

Between 1958 and 1968, no fewer than 130 Leyland Titan PD2s and PD3s were put into service, most as replacements for the Burlingham buses, which were being withdrawn and others for the tram route conversions.

All were rear entrance buses to a similar design, seventy of them fitted with the traditional full fronted cabs that dated back to the 1930s. The last open platform bus to enter the fleet was bus number 540 in 1968 by which time Blackpool was one of the last few remaining operators to specify this design of bus. In the late 1960s, because of escalating costs in the bus industry generally, there was a significant move to introduce ‘pay-as-you-enter’ buses, which dispensed with the need for a conductor resulting in a new fleet of Swift single deck buses coming into operation.

Apart from a period during the second world war, it was not until 1974 that women were employed as bus drivers. The first female driver commenced duty on 15th January of that year following a lifting of a previous ban on women drivers by the trade union.

In 1974 Joe Franklin retired as general manager, Derek Hyde becoming his successor. It was in the same year that female drivers were employed on the single deckers for the first time since the war. A further innovation was the introduction of radio communication, with all single-deck vehicles being equipped from 1975.

In a complete break with tradition, Blackpool’s first rear-engined double deck buses with front entrance, the famous Leyland Atlanteans, were put into service in 1977. By 1983 there were 74 of these buses which carried a revised fleet livery, featuring more green than previously. Their front entrance permitted collection of fares by the driver and the buses were worked with or without a conductor. Also new to the fleet during the 1980s were a small number of Dennis Lancet and Leyland National single deck vehicles. In 1977, the first ‘Almex’ ticket machines started to replace the T.I.M.s (Ticket Issue Machines), which had originally been introduced in the 1930s.

For a few weeks In January 1979, during the infamous ‘Winter of Discontent’, shortages of fuel were so severe that all bus services were restricted to running during the morning and afternoon peak periods only. Mini buses followed in the 1980s and the Blackpool Transport logo was introduced.

Open air theatre brings She Stoops to Conquer to Lytham Hall

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Is it Royal Ascot, the Chelsea Flower Show or London Fashion week?

 

She Stoops to Conquer comes to Lytham Hall this weekend

She Stoops to Conquer comes to Lytham Hall this weekend

No, it’s the open air production of Oliver Goldsmith’s Restoration comedy ‘She Stoops to Conquer’ at Lytham Hall on Sunday 11 July.

The show starts at 6pm. www.lythamhall.org.uk

The actor who played Carl King on TV’s Emmerdale is on song for Lytham debut

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Former TV soap star Tom Lister will be adding a new musical dimension to the second open air play of the season at Lytham Hall on Friday, July 9.

 

The actor who played the role of Carl King on ITV’s Emmerdale from 2004 to 2012, has joined the cast of Naturally Insane, the Life of Dan Leno to be staged in the grounds of the Hall at 2pm and 7.30pm.

Tom is reunited with comedian Steve Royle, the former Britain’s Got Talent finalist who plays the title role of Leno in the play by Blackpool dramatist David Slattery-Christy, about Victorian music hall superstar Leno.

Steve and Tom have appeared together on a number of occasions in the annual pantomime at Blackpool’s Grand Theatre.

Tom Lister (right) prepares for the play with Steve Royle and writer David Slattery ChristyTom Lister (right) prepares for the play with Steve Royle and writer David Slattery Christy

“As well as being well known as a television actor, Tom is an accomplished singer who has played the lead in the musical 42nd Street and starred in the musical Calamity Jane,” said David.

Huge demand for Lytham Hall outdoor theatre tickets

“He will be dueting with Steve in one of Dan Leno’s acclaimed sketches and I think the audience is in for a treat.”

Lytham-based comedian Phil Walker and entertainer Janet Maher (Steve Royle’s wife) are also newcomers to the cast of six who have been busy in rehearsal for the two Hall shows.

Tom Lister and Steve Royle in panto at Blackpool's Grand TheatreTom Lister and Steve Royle in panto at Blackpool’s Grand Theatre

Later in the summer, the play, which debuted at the Hall in 2019 as ‘Dan Leno: A Royal Jester’, will have a showcase performance at London’s Criterion Theatre.

Julian Wilde, organiser of the Hall theatre season, said: “The trio of newcomers bring star quality and will support Steve Royle superbly.

“I know they are all looking forward to the challenge of playing serious roles in a beautifully-crafted drama.”

Meanwhile, Sunday’s outdoor play at the Hall, the comedy She Stoops To Conquer, has been brought forward two hours to 4pm to allow for the Euro football final.

Bispham Prom sexual assault investigation ongoing as police appeal for dashcam footage

Detectives investigating the sexual assault of a woman on Bispham Prom are appealing for dashcam footage.

 

A woman, aged in her 20s, reported being attacked by a man near Queens Promenade at around 1am on Sunday, June 27.

Uniformed officers were stationed at either end of the cordon from 8am until CSI left the scene at around 5pm.

Today (July 8), detectives appealed for information as well as dashcam footage from motorists who passed the area before and after the attack.

Kirkham scout leader Aaron Blake pleads guilty to indecently assaulting Chorley …

“Our investigation is very much ongoing and we are keen to find the man responsible for this shocking assault,” a spokesman for Lancashire Police said.

“We are appealing to any drivers with dashcam footage, travelling between Gynn roundabout and Norbreck Castle in either direction on Queens Promenade, between 11.30pm on June 26 and 2am on June 27, to come forward.

“Any footage, no matter how seemingly short or insignificant, could be crucial to our inquiry.”

A woman reported being attacked by a man near Queens Promenade on Sunday, June 27.A woman reported being attacked by a man near Queens Promenade on Sunday, June 27.

Anyone with information or dashcam footage has been asked to call 101, quoting reference number LC-20210627-0121.

Alternatively, independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at crimestoppers-uk.org.

Wine expert Dorothy retires from Blackpool Tesco

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A Blackpool woman will be raising a glass in celebration after retiring as a Tesco wine expert for 31 years.

 

Dorothy Threadgold, 88, was given a surprise send off by her colleagues at the Tesco Extra at Clifton Retail Park where she has been a popular figure with staff and customers alike.

Former bosses, colleagues and customers enjoyed an afternoon reception at the store.

Dorothy, of Preston New Road, said she would miss her colleagues and customers, but would be keeping in touch.

Dorothy Threadgold, centre, with staff and friends from Tesco Extra in BlackpoolDorothy Threadgold, centre, with staff and friends from Tesco Extra in Blackpool

Dorothy retired to Blackpool after 40 years as a publican but wanted to keep busy and so took a job at Tesco, where she worked three days a week.

She said: “I absolutely loved my job, it was my life. I love talking to the customers.

“As a wine advisor, I was sent to London once a month and I got to go on Chateaux tours to learn about the wines.

“I used to run a wine club there with 20 people coming along, which was very enjoyable. My favourites are Australian reds.”

But she said that when coronavirus struck, she was one of the staff put on furlough.

She said: “I was sent home form work a year last March and was there for six months.

“Then I got back to work, only for another lockdown to come along and I was sent home again for three months. So I got used to being away from work, so retirement will not be so much of a change.

“I will miss my customers. I have had lots of lovely messages from them and some want to keep in touch. The people I met there, customers and staff are wonderful people and I had a lovely send off.”

Services manager at Tesco Blackpool Carole Rushton said: “It was a very emotional send off and she was not expecting it.

“We all enjoyed it and we will miss her she is a lovely lady and a legend!”

Layton stabbings: Blackpool teenager arrested and five people taken to hospital after armed street fight near Layton Institute

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A 19-year-old man has been arrested after five people were injured in an armed street fight near the Layton Institute in Westcliffe Drive on Tuesday (July 6).

 

Police were called to the scene shortly after midnight following reports of a violent brawl close to the venue, where a wedding reception had been held earlier that night.

A knife and other weapons were reportedly used in the fight and four men and a woman were taken to hospital with injuries.

Lancashire Police said some of those injured in the attack had been slashed with a knife, but none of them had been seriously wounded.

A 19-year-old man has been arrested after five people were injured in an armed street fight near the Layton Institute in Westcliffe Drive, Layton on Tuesday (July 6)A 19-year-old man has been arrested after five people were injured in an armed street fight near the Layton Institute in Westcliffe Drive, Layton on Tuesday (July 6)

The force said one of the injured men has suffered a serious head injury and remains in hospital where his condition is described as stable.

One teenager, aged 19, has been arrested on suspicion of assault and possession of an offensive weapon. He has since been released under investigation.

Police are now appealing for anyone who might have witnessed the fight to come forward with information.

A police spokesman said: “We are appealing for witnesses following reports of a disturbance in Westcliffe Drive.

“Officers were called shortly after midnight on Tuesday (July 6) following reports that a group of people had been seen fighting close to The Layton Institute and Social Club.

“There were also reports of weapons being used.

“Four men and a woman sustained injuries in the incident. All were taken to hospital for treatment for their injuries, some of which were consistent with a blade.

“One man, with head injuries, remains in hospital in a stable condition.

“A 19-year-old man from Blackpool was arrested on suspicion of assault and possession of an offensive weapon and released under investigation pending further enquiries.”

DC Cherie Hall of Blackpool CID added: “It is believed that this disturbance will have been witnessed by various members of the public and we are appealing for anyone with information or media footage of this incident to come forward and assist officers in establishing the events that unfolded.”

The Layton Institute said the fight did not take place on its premises but happened in nearby Onslow Road after the wedding had finished and the venue had closed for the night.

But the club said it is aware of the incident and is helping police with their investigation.

A spokesman for the Layton Institute said: “There was a wedding on at Layton Institute on Monday night however there were no incidents and the staff locked up and left shortly after midnight without issue.

“But we are aware there was an altercation later that night in Onslow Road between a group of youths unknown to the club and we are assisting the police with their enquiries.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 or email 8659@lancashire.police.uk quoting log number 0031 of July 6.

Information can also be provided to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Body of man found inside Blackpool property as investigation launched

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The body of a man in his 60s was found inside an address in South Shore today (July 6).

 

Officers were called by paramedics to reports of a sudden death at an address in Crystal Road at around 1.10pm today.

Police have not commented on the cause of death, but did say enquiries are ongoing.

Anyone with information can call police on 101, quoting log number 0617 of July 6.

Officers were called by paramedics to reports of a sudden death at an address in Crystal Road. (Credit: Google)Officers were called by paramedics to reports of a sudden death at an address in Crystal Road. (Credit: Google)

Statement from Lancashire Police

“We were called by the North West Ambulance Service to reports of a sudden death of a man in his 60s at an address in Crystal Road, Blackpool at 1.09pm.

Teenager who left Blackpool school amid bullying claims died after falling from Shanghai high-rise

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An inquest has been held in Lancashire into the death of a teenager described as “a little lost” who took his own life in Shanghai.

 

A verdict of suicide has been recorded after a 16 year old former Blackpool student died after falling from his apartment block in Shanghai.

Lancashire coroner Richard Taylor was told at an inquest in Preston today that Johnny Oliver had been bullied at school in Blackpool and faced friendship problems in Shanghai where he lived with his father Renny.

In the early hours of January 26 this year Johnny had told his father he had taken some over the counter medication and then left their apartment.

Johnny attended Montgomery for a short periodJohnny attended Montgomery for a short period

His father got dressed and followed going downstairs, but Johnny had taken the lift higher up the building and fell to his death.

Mr Taylor said the information provided from China had read “fall from great height”, but no inquest was held in China and the court had received minimal documentation with no medical cause of death.

The inquest was told Renny had worked in a number of countries over the years and most recently in China where Johnny attended school.

The pair lived in an apartment on Huang Yang Road, Pudong , New District Shanghai.

Shanghai skylineShanghai skyline

The coroner said: “As I understand it there had been nothing the day before to suiggest there were any great concerns,.”

His father replied: “Nothing to me.”

The coroner described how Johnny had come into his father’s room and turned on the light and told him he had taken the tablets: “He then left and you got up and got dressed and you went to look for him. I think you went downstairs, he had clearly gone upstairs. Then very tragically he was found outside.”

The coroner said he understood some “quite worrying ” texts to a friend were found on his phone.

Renny said there had been times when they thought of returning to the U.K. in both 2015 and in 2020. .

“Johnny’s mother came out first and Johnny followed and did a term at school at Montgomery in Blackpool and was very unhappy and was bullied and we decided after he would come back to China and live with me.”

The coroner said Johnny had seemed ” a little lost” in his life and his father agreed and said “I think in general he seemed under a lot of pressure as most children are. It was his first year of A’levels or equivalent. I think he was under pressure to do well at school and he was doing very well.

“The problem with his friends was the primary issue. He lost the support of his friendship group at that time. He had been to see the school counsellor .The counsellor had given him some tools to try to solve it and maintain a relationship with his best friend in the group. But unfortunately the leader of the group shall we say gave Johnny’s best friend an ultimatum – it’s either the group or Johnny.”

He said Johnny had been let down and he thought had been due to meet that friend for something to eat four days earlier but the friend did not turn up.

Johnny had phoned the school counsellor to say he felt very let down and unhappy.

He had had suicidal thoughts in the year before his death and on a return trip to the UK had written a note to himself saying he was very unhappy.

The coroner said: “It’s become clear the issues Johnny had first with regard to his school work and he had issues with a friendship group he was or wasn’t part of. Clearly there were family difficulties, estrangements.”

His father had also been concerned about Johnny’s sleep patterns noting: “For 12 months I had been encouraging him to get more sleep. He was going to bed later and getting up early.”

The coroner detailed the medical cause of death as trauma and concluded it was a case of suicide. He said: “He did have a number of difficulties going on in his life, whether it be his school work, friends, family separation…there were a number of things going on in his life.I hear very sadly that for such a young man he had so many pressures upon him and as I heard from his father he was badly let down in the days before his death.”

Johnny’s mother and sister were also in court for the inquest. Johnny’s body was brought back to the Fylde for the funeral.