Fleetwood hosting three-day arts festival at the end of week

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Fleetwood is playing host to an eye-catching outdoor arts festival this weekend – and residents from the town have had an input in the event

How the In Memoriam display will look

How the In Memoriam display will look

Transported is taking place in the Marine Gardens and runs from Friday until Sunday, at 11am to 4pm daily.

It is being organised by LeftCoast in partnership with the SpareParts Festival, which usually runs in tandem with the Fleetwood Festival of Transport.

However, when the latter (also known as Tram Sunday) was cancelled this year, the team came up with an alternative.

This temporary memorial offers the public a space to visit and remember those lost to the COVID-19 crisis.

The artwork is also intended as a tribute to the NHS staff who have worked tirelessly throughout the past year.

It is a space for reflection and future intentions.

Created from over 100 hospital bedsheets flown from flag posts, the installation will be arranged for people to wander through it at different times of the day.

The striking visual of “In Memoriam” will be complimented by a soundscape from artist Anthony Davey who has been commissioned to create an audio artwork to be played across the weekend.

Broadcasted from The Mount, the soundscape will feature conversations, stories, quotes and songs from Fleetwood residents.

Visitors are invited to sit and listen to this whilst taking in the overview of the installation at the Marine Hall Gardens.

Local residents are also invited to contribute further to the weekend’s activities through Flag Up, a participation project which allows the people of Fleetwood to

share their reflections from the past year.

Currently, SpareParts and LeftCoast are collecting people’s contributions to this project at four sites across town.

These sites are Fleetwood Market, Fleetwood Library, Healthier Fleetwood (Affinity Centre) and the Inside Out Exhibition (Old Fleetwood Hospital).

Jodie Gibson, Artistic Director of SpareParts Festival says, “Following so much isolation, Transported creates a collective event and opportunity for people to gather safely together, whilst giving time and space for people to reflect upon the diverse experiences within the community.”

St John’s Square is Blackpool’s new outdoor dining hub

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A new outdoor dining area has been created in St John’s Square in Blackpool to help the resort’s hospitality businesses bounce back from Covid.

 

Customers will be able to order food and drinks from any of the surrounding cafes and restaurants and be served at their table.

The scheme is a joint initative between the council and the Blackpool Town Centre BID (business improvement district), and is being funded through the council’s £223,000 grant from the government’s Welcome Back Fund.

Funding will also be used to pressure wash town centre streets which are within the BID area.

The outdoor dining area being created in St John's SquareThe outdoor dining area being created in St John’s Square

The idea of an al fresco dining area came from Blackpool BID board member Mike Simmons.

He said: “It is intended to assist those businesses that have been closed during the pandemic, with the aim to maximise their dining areas with increased seating, therefore increased sales.

“It will also provide more ‘green space’ and gives a better sense of purpose to St John’s square.

“The size of the dining area will be flexible depending on social distancing guidelines at the time and if St John’s Church is hosting an event.

The outdoor dining area being created in St John's SquareThe outdoor dining area being created in St John’s Square

“The businesses already established in the square will benefit from this al fresco area and it will operate in a way where customers place the order at the cafe or restaurant of choice and then this is served to them. ”

Michael Williams, chairman of the Blackpool BID, said the new dining area and the pressure washing of streets would help draw more people into the town centre.

He said: “The works will be undertaken by a local contractor and disruption will be minimised.

“Town centres are at the heart of our communities and the funding will allow us to improve civic pride and encourage more visitors and locals to shop, dine and stay in Blackpool town centre. “

The Welcome Back Fund was announced in March this year, with £56m allocated nationally for schemes to entice people back to town centres following the easing of lockdown restrictions.

Search launched for missing Blackpool man as police grow ‘very concerned’ for his welfare

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An urgent appeal has been launched to help find a missing man from Blackpool.

 

Mark Addison was last seen on CCTV outside an address in Hornby Road at around 8.30pm yesterday (July 12).

The 45-year-old is described as white, 6ft tall and of slim build.

He uses a walking stick and has a large scar on the right side of his head, police said.

Mark was last seen wearing a black North Face baseball cap, a black puffa jacket and black tracksuit bottoms with a white stripe.

St Annes woman taken to hospital after being punched unconscious by male attacke…

“Police are very concerned for his welfare and urging anyone with information about his whereabouts to come forward,” a spokesman for the force said.

Mark has links to Blackpool and Fleetwood.

Have you seen Mark Addison? (Credit: Lancashire Police)Have you seen Mark Addison? (Credit: Lancashire Police)

If you have any information about Mark’s whereabouts, call 101 quoting log number 0273 of July 13.

In an emergency always call 999.

Defunct Blackpool wind turbines to be replaced

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Two wind turbines at Blackpool’s Solaris Centre which are currently out of action due to corrosion are to be replaced.

 

The council’s executive has agreed to spend nearly £24,000 on the work with the turbines seen as contributing towards the carbon neutral target by 2030.

The turbines were installed in 2003 as part of the restoration of the Harrowside Solarium on South Promenade, which was renamed the Solaris and earmarked as an environmental centre.

Along with solar panels, they helped transform the site into a zero and low carbon energy building.

The wind turbines at the Solaris are to be replacedThe wind turbines at the Solaris are to be replaced

A council report says: “Following the service and condition inspection in May 2021 the Solaris Centre wind turbines have been put on brake and are no longer in operation.

“After 18 years of operation and exposure to a harsh marine environment, the inspection identified excessive corrosion outside acceptable tolerances on both turbine head hubs and frames and in line with the manufacturer recommendations the turbines were put on brake and removed from operation.”

It is proposed to replace them with marine grade turbine heads with a 20 to 25-year lifespan at a cost of £23,880.

The funding will be borrowed over 15 years, which amounts to £30,097 including £7,717 interest.

Two arrested after man stabbed in Blackpool in broad daylight attack

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Two people have been arrested after a man was stabbed in Blackpool, leaving him with “significant injuries”.

 

A man in his 30s suffered stab wounds following an attack near the Premier Store in Park Road at around 2.30pm yesterday (July 12).

The victim’s injuries are not life-threatening and he continues to receive treatment at hospital, police said.

Two men – one aged 35 and the other aged 30 – from Manchester have been arrested on suspicion of wounding.

They remain in custody for questioning.

St Annes woman taken to hospital after being punched unconscious by male attacke…

Det Sgt Anna Willets, of Blackpool CID, said: “This incident has left a man with some significant injuries and while we have arrested two people our enquiries are very much ongoing.

“We are keen to trace any witnesses who were in the area of the Premier Store on the corner of Park Road and Westmorland Avenue around 2.05pm to 2:15pm yesterday afternoon.

A man in his 30s suffered stab wounds following an attack near thePremier Store in Park Road. (Credit: Google)A man in his 30s suffered stab wounds following an attack near thePremier Store in Park Road. (Credit: Google)

Officers said they are particularly keen to trace a man they believe could be a key witness.

The man is thought to have been walking his medium/large light-coloured dog past a blue Punto on Westmoreland Avenue between 2.05pm and 2.15pm when a disturbance occurred.

Anyone with information has been asked to call 101, quoting log number 1057.

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

Blackpool South MP Scott Benton’s new proposal looks to put Blackpool super casino back on the cards

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A new super casino could be back on the table for Blackpool after a resort MP urged a minister to consider granting the town a license.

 

Scott Benton, MP for Blackpool South, asked culture secretary John Whittingdale if he would commit to reviewing a case for a regional, or “super casino” in the resort.

Blackpool was competing with a number of centres across Britain to be chosen as the site for a super casino, back in 2006.

It had been plan A for the regeneration of Blackpool, with a huge hotels project earmarked for the former Central Station site.

Blackpool South MP Scott Benton hopes a new super casino could be on the cards for the resort again.Blackpool South MP Scott Benton hopes a new super casino could be on the cards for the resort again.

The New Labour government had initiated a bidding competition following its Gambling Act in 2005 and the favourites to get the UK’s first destination casino were Blackpool, the Millennium Dome in London and East Manchester.

Councillors and many residents in the Blackpool felt the plan would give the town the regeneration it needed, creating jobs and attracting extra visitors.

A site at the old Central Station was identified as the preferred location for a new national conference centre and Las Vegas-style super casino.

So, political leaders in Blackpool reacted with dismay to the announcement in January 2007, that Manchester had been chosen to host Britain’s first super casino instead.

Architect firm Gensler unveiled this picture of its proposed £350 million 160,000msq Conference and Casino Quarter in Blackpool back in 2006.Architect firm Gensler unveiled this picture of its proposed £350 million 160,000msq Conference and Casino Quarter in Blackpool back in 2006.

When the Casino Advisory Panel made its recommendation, it ended months of speculation over the site.

Steve Weaver, Blackpool Council’s chief executive, said the resort was “surprised and hugely disappointed” the panel did not go for the favourite.

“It just just makes us more determined not to give up,” he said at the time.

Blackpool South Labour MP Gordon Marsden said he was “obviously very disappointed” at the decision.

Although seven towns and cities were short listed to bid for the licence to build a venue for up to 1,250 unlimited-jackpot fruit machines, Blackpool was regarded as a joint front runner with Greenwich.

A campaign was even launched to get the decision changed and a petition of 11,514 delivered to Number 10.

Later that year, Manchester’s own hopes were also dashed when the House of Lords scuppered the project, and Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister at the time, then decided to scrap the Super Casino project altogether.

However, in 2019 Northern Powerhouse minister Jake Berry said a super casino In Blackpool could help spark a “once in a generation” chance to regenerate the town and said he had discussed it with Blackpool Council.

In December the Government launched a review of gambling laws, and after Mr Benton’s discussion in Parliament it appeared it would be revisiting a bid for super casinos.

Mr Benton put forward a new proposal for a super casino to Mr Whittingdale, with hopes it would boost the town’s tourism industry and provide more jobs.

He asked: “Will the minister commit himself to reviewing the case for a regional casino during the gambling review and assess the significant positive economic impact that a regional casino could make to a town such as Blackpool, which would be the obvious location to host such a casino?”

Mr Whittingdale said “the legislation is still on the statute book and could therefore be utilised,” if support for the bid was received well by residents, if a suitable operator could be found and if it was supported by Blackpool Council.

Blackpool currently holds four casino licences, with Grosvenor, which acquired the licence which became available when the Sam Tai Casino on Bloomfield Road closed in 2015, holding two of them with a lease until 2030 for the Sandcastle building.

Coral Island holds another of the resort’s current casino licences, and the final is held by Genting Casino on Queen’s Promenade.

Mr Benton said that although he had no specific area for the proposed super casino in mind as yet, he would welcome the addition to Blackpool South, his constituency.

He said: “My discussions at the moment are with operators to see if they would be interested, and if that’s the case then I would put forward a strong case for Blackpool.

“I would like for it to be in my constituency, there are a huge number of derelict sites and brownfield land around.

“Originally 15 years ago it was always favoured for Blackpool central, but now that site is no longer on the table there would be a number of different opportunities.

“I don’t think it would affect the existing casino offer, there’s room for everybody. Regional casinos have always been a destination, obviously it would be available to local people as well but the idea is that people would visit Blackpool specifically to come for the leisure and gambling experience.

“If this were to come forward, potentially one of the existing operators could revamp their sites and make it much larger, so that’s a possibility as well.”

Mr Benton added that his vision for the super casino would not only involve the gambling aspect, but would bring more leisure opportunities and create jobs in different sectors such as hospitality.

He continued: “If this were to happen, it would entail a whole regeneration package. Hospitality could be added on to the gambling experience as well, and it would obviously present opportunities for more jobs, retail, more bars and restaurants. This would be a perfectly natural add-on to the casino.

“The benefits speak for themselves. We could be looking at thousands more jobs for local people, a huge boost to the economy, and hundreds of millions of pounds being spent locally, not just in the casino but in existing businesses as well.”

However, Mr Benton acknowledged that Blackpool suffered “a number of different social and economic problems,” but did not feel the casino would have a negative impact on residents.

“I don’t think there would be [a negative impact], we already have casinos locally, so people can already use them,” he added.

“Another one isn’t going to see a situation where a lot of local people somehow want to go.

“If that was the case, casinos already have very strict processes in place to detect problem gambling. Betting or visiting a casino is no different to going to a pub, or other retail and leisure experiences.”

In 2019, Former Northern Powerhouse minister Jake Berry MP caused waves when he appeared to bring the super casino bid back to the forefront of attention, despite the Government vetoing the idea of Vegas-style gambling in 2008.

Mr Berry said he had initial talks with council leaders about the scheme and other issues, and while he admitted it was at an early stage it could be “a very exciting project-” but nothing came to fruition.

But Blackpool Council said the Government had not discussed the potential for a super casino with the authority for a “number of years,” however, it would be happy to engage in talks.

A spokesman for the council said: “Blackpool is focused on delivering the £300 million Blackpool Central scheme, only last night at the Council’s Executive meeting the next step in the process was agreed.

“It has been a number of years since the last time the Government mentioned the idea of a super casino to us. If this is an idea they are looking to progress we would be happy to discuss it with them.”

Tony Williams, leader of the opposition at Blackpool Council, said he would welcome a new super casino in the resort, on the condition it provided more than just a gambling experience.

He said: “I’m all in favour of any new investment that has the potential to attract more visitors, especially in the winter months. However, a super casino needs to be a lot more than just roulette wheels and card tables.

“It needs to be a full blown entertainment complex that can cater for all ages and include accommodation, retail, leisure and a flexible event facility.

“We already have two great casinos in the resort and we are all aware of the perils of addiction and debt, so any new casino project would need to be a different scenario altogether.

“The term Casino means a public room for gambling and entertainment – a super casino would need to focus more on the entertainment element.”

Blackpool cycle lane planned for St Walburgas Road would cost taxpayer over £310,000

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A new cycle lane in St Walburgas Road in Blackpool would cost the taxpayer £312,000, it was revealed today.

 

A consultation has been launched for the scheme after Government cash was secured, with officials disclosing the cost following enquiries by The Gazette.

If rubber stamped, segregated lanes along the northbound and southbound route of the busy road will be built, with bollards separating them from the road.

An existing on-road cycle lane would be removed.

The dual carriageway is described as 'challenging' for cyclists.The dual carriageway is described as ‘challenging’ for cyclists.

Round-the-clock no parking restrictions will be brought in, with a new toucan crossing built outside St Mary’s Catholic Academy.

One end of Brendan Walk would also be shut off.

Lancashire’s £50m bid to improve transport in the county
The council’s roads boss, Coun Neal Brookes, said: “We are keen to provide Blackpool residents with safe and protected cycling routes that other towns and cities across the country are enjoying.

“Not only will this scheme provide safer cycling for those that choose to use it, it will also help to reduce traffic, parking issues, and provide a safer and more active way to travel – helping to improve overall health.”

The consultation ends on Friday, August 27.

To give your view, go online to blackpool.gov.uk/consultations.