Blackpool barber battles back to get his own shop in town centre

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A Blackpool barber who was cut from Abingdon Street market has battled back and reopened in the town centre.

 

But re-opening was no snip for Alistair Taylor, who has had to work 14 hour days for three weeks to renovate the Topping Street shop and make it suitable as a barbers.

Alistair set up his business in 2013 in Blackpool with the help of the council’s Get Started Programme which helps people start their own businesses and encourages entrepreneurship.

He managed to get a small stall on the market with just two chairs and one sink from which he operated for three years. Then a larger pitch became available near the back entrance where a newsagent had been.

Alistair Taylor has opened his own barbers shop and hair studio in Topping StreetAlistair Taylor has opened his own barbers shop and hair studio in Topping Street

But in December last year the council told stall holders that they had to leave by June to allow renovation to take place of the market.

Alistair said although some stall holders managed to get help to find other places, the council did not understand that as a barbers he needed access to plumbing facilities. When the council said the market would not be opening in April, like other stallholders, he had to find new premises himself.

He said: “I set up in the market on July 1, 2013 following a business competition called “The Oracle Event” led by Geoff Reeves with “Get Started Business for Blackpool.

“The council purchased the market in October 2020 and then we went into lockdown in November. I was able to trade through December but locked down again after Christmas.”

He had originally been in Abingdon Street Market but the closure for refurbishment left him high and dryHe had originally been in Abingdon Street Market but the closure for refurbishment left him high and dry

He said at that point the stall holders were told they needed to sign new leases, but when he queried his, he was told the market would be closing later in the year.

“Initially they were unaware that I was a barbers and it became an issue that I would need water and plumbing facilities.

“I rang the council towards the end of February and mentioned how when we open in April, I would be able to save up for a shop. But they called me back on February 25 and told me that the market would not be not opening on the 12th and that I was to empty my unit as soon as possible.”

He saw that the former Cake Tin Delights cafe at 111 topping Street was vacant and managed to get the lease and transform it into Alistair’s Barber and Hair Studio.

Alistair who founded his business after a Get Started event at the Oracle, spent three weeks getting his premises readyAlistair who founded his business after a Get Started event at the Oracle, spent three weeks getting his premises ready

He said: “With 14 hour days and three weeks work I managed to transform the old cafe into a barber and hair studio.

“It’s great but a lot of my old customers just don’t know where I have moved to.”

1,000th person gets Covid jab from Blackpool’s ‘vaccine van’

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A ‘vaccine van’ scheme set up to make it easier for residents to get the COVID-19 jab has successfully vaccinated its 1,000th visitor.

 

Charlie and Amanda Cheese dropped in at Blackpool Central Mosque, along with baby Matilda. They received vaccines 1,000 and 1,001 from pharmacist and vaccinator Hussain Vali.

The scheme was launched by Blackpool Council in June and is being run by FCMS along with local NHS vaccinators from pharmacy sites.

The vaccine van is delivering first and second doses to anyone over 18 years old, with no appointments necessary. Both Pfizer and AstraZeneca are available on board.

Charlie (left) and Amanda Cheese (right) dropped into the Vaccine Van at Blackpool Central Mosque with baby Matilda. They received vaccine 1,000 and 1,001 administered by the van.Charlie (left) and Amanda Cheese (right) dropped into the Vaccine Van at Blackpool Central Mosque with baby Matilda. They received vaccine 1,000 and 1,001 administered by the van.

The aim of the scheme is to make it as easy as possible for any adult in Blackpool to access the vaccine and reach those who perhaps wouldn’t have otherwise booked the jab. The service currently runs Wednesday to Sunday, and anyone can drop into any location convenient for them.

Residents are greeted by marshals, who direct them to the team on site. Once they have received their vaccination, there is a waiting area where the team make sure they feel well. Social distancing measures are in place and visitors are asked to wear a face covering unless exempt.

Blackpool hospital suspends visits as Covid cases rise.

“We need to remember that Covid is still with us, and cases are rising in Blackpool. Everyone in the town has done an amazing job of keeping our most vulnerable safe, but we need this push to get all adults vaccinated with two doses so that everyone has maximum protection from this horrible disease.

“Sometimes people can be affected by Covid who are otherwise healthy or have undiagnosed underlying conditions. Long-Covid can also affect all ages and can be debilitating, so we cannot urge people enough to get their two doses of the vaccine.

“The van makes getting vaccinated an extremely quick and easy process with no fuss and no pressure. The benefit of being able to drop in means if anyone is nervous or worried about getting the vaccine, they can walk up with a friend for support or just pop in and chat to the team first.”

Dates and locations for the vaccine van are updated regularly online at www.blackpool.gov.uk/VaccineVan

Performers sought to fill Anchorsholme Park amphitheatre with entertainment as lockdown end approaches

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Visitors to Anchorsholme Park were treated to its first live outdoor music performance last week – and a councillor hopes many more people will show off their talents in the amphitheatre as lockdown is set to end.

 

Anchorsholme Park opened for the first time in July last year, after an £80 million water project by United Utilities saw it close for five years.

One of the most prominent additions to the park was its outdoor amphitheatre, which became the site for joyous music for the first time last week when Fylde Ukelele Network held the park’s first music event.

Events were unable to be held at the park until recently, amid Covid lockdown restrictions.

Fylde Ukelele Network entertained visitors to Anchorsholme Park at its first outdoor live music event. Pic: Coun Paul GalleyFylde Ukelele Network entertained visitors to Anchorsholme Park at its first outdoor live music event. Pic: Coun Paul Galley

But an Anchorsholme councillor hopes as the summer holidays approach and lockdown ends, even more talented performers will visit the park to regale visitors with a tune or two.

Coun Paul Galley said: “We were delighted with how the first event at the park went and we are so grateful to the amazing Fylde Ukelele Network for putting so much effort into making our first ever event a great success.

“We are slowly building the experience required to put on events and we have learnt so much through this.

“We are now looking to recruit performers to play at the park, ranging from solo performers, dancers and drama groups to bands, so we can create a timetable of events in the park.”

If you are interested in performing at Anchorsholme Park, email Coun Paul Galley at paul.galley@blackpool.gov.uk.

Blackpool music venue fans pull Motorhead mini artic truck to raise funds for its future

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The truck has its own “Lemmy” driver inspired by the Airborne music video in which the Motorhead frontman is chased by the cops

 

"Lemmy" driving the Waterloo Music Bar truck inspired by the music video by Airborne 'Runnin' Wild'
“Lemmy” driving the Waterloo Music Bar truck inspired by the music video by Airborne ‘Runnin’ Wild’ (Image: Waterloo Music Bar)

A struggling Blackpool music venue is due to get a financial boost from an unusual source as it tries to recover from the Covid pandemic.

Supporters of The Waterloo music bar will be pulling a truck from Bolton to Blackpool at the end of the month to help with its future after it missed out on government funding during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Waterloo Road venue is an independent grassroots music space ran by musicians for musicians and has been fighting for its survival financially for over 12 months.

The bar closed in March 2020 due to Covid-19 social distancing restrictions and as Managing Director Ian Fletcher did not have a full 12 month record of book-keeping the venue missed the funding requirements by a month.

Amazing lockdown transformation at Lemmy's Bar in Waterloo Music Bar, Blackpool
Amazing lockdown transformation at Lemmy’s Bar in Waterloo Music Bar, Blackpool (Image: Waterloo Music Bar, Blackpool)

The bar was only 11% of UK grassroots venues that were unsuccessful in securing the government’s Cultural Recovery Fund.

Musicians and music lovers have since come out in their droves to support the bar which is reportedly one of the fastest growing music venues in the UK since it opening in 2015.

Motorhead logo in the process of being painted onto the windows of the mini artic
Motorhead logo in the process of being painted onto the windows of the mini artic (Image: Waterloo Music Bar)

The establishment houses the only Motorhead-themed bar in the UK after staff built ‘Lemmy’s bar’ which has inspired one customer to come up with his own unique way to help.

Owner Ian Fletcher said: “We were contacted by an artist called Phil Frain from Bolton who’s a fan of our venue and also creates mini articulated trucks.

“He created it in his front garden and the pictures really don’t do it justice, you have to see it in person.

Phil Frain from Bolton constructed the mini artic 'Motorhead' truck in his front garden
Phil Frain from Bolton constructed the mini artic ‘Motorhead’ truck in his front garden (Image: Waterloo Music Bar)

“It’s Motorhead themed inspired by our Lemmy’s bar and also by the Airborne music video Runnin’ Wild in which Lemmy is featured driving a truck and is chased by the cops.

“Phil’s got everything spot on from his outfit to the sunglasses. It’s fantastic.

“He didn’t even ask us beforehand he just said he wanted to do it to support us and now we’re using it as part of a truck pull to raise money to help keep the venue alive.”

The cab part of the Motorhead mini truck parked next to a car for scale
The cab part of the Motorhead mini truck parked next to a car for scale (Image: Waterloo Music Bar)

The truck will be pulled by three teams of six the full 40 miles finishing at Blackpool Tower then on to its future home at Waterloo Road.

The truck is currently 5ft tall and 15ft long and people are invited to join the pull at various points and take a photos with the artic miniature.

The trailer behind the truck also has advertising space and businesses are invited to enquire about this with Waterloo Music Bar.

The back of the Motorhead mini truck for Waterloo Music Bar
The back of the Motorhead mini truck for Waterloo Music Bar (Image: Waterloo Music Bar)

The event will begin on July 31 from 5am, around the same time when plenty of rockers will be in town for the Blackpool festival Rockmantic.

The music venue has a number of prominent gigs coming up throughout the year such as Buckcherry and the Buzzcocks however in terms of funding it still in urgent need of help.

Sponsorships and donations are welcome.

To find out more about the Motorhead miniature truck pull and donate to Waterloo Music Bar’s future, please visit the Go Fund Me page here.

£2.8m Blackpool bid for community schemes including in Waterloo and Claremont

Blackpool is bidding for almost £2.8m of government funding to support projects in the town including regeneration plans for Waterloo in South Shore and Claremont in North Shore.

Town Hall chiefs are bidding for £2.8m from the Community Renewal Fund

Town Hall chiefs are bidding for £2.8m from the Community Renewal Fund

A total of 12 schemes are included in the submission for a share of the Community Renewal Fund (CRF) announced in March this year.

The final list had to be pared down after 27 applications totalling £7.4m were received by the council seeking to be part of the bid.

A council report said the oversubscription meant “many projects would be disappointed” but some would be eligible for money through the much larger Shared Prosperity Fund to be announced later this year,.

This would be aimed at supporting “commercial and residential development as well as greening and the creation of safe community spaces.”

Also included is a bid for around £250,000 towards developing ideas for an ‘Our Clarement’ masterplan focused on the development of Egerton Square.

It would provide details of landowners, leases, development costs and funding opportunities while considering partnerships with the council, businesses and other organisations.

The CRF bid is divided into four themes, with the biggest bulk of funding being sought to support people into employment.

This includes £504,000 for Blackpool Pathways to Employment run by the Citizens Advice Bureau, £444,000 for the Blackpool Youth Hub (Blackpool Council) and £125,000 for Ready to Work (Inspira).

The Investment in Skills category includes £113,000 for Let’s Get Digital (Blackpool and the Fylde College), £500,000 for Skills for Work 2021/22 post Covid 19 (North West Skills Agency), and £100,000 for Pathways For All (Right to Succeed).

Investment for local businesses sees funding sought to kickstart new ideas with a bid for £180,000 for Piloting Placed-based Innovation Catalysts (Lancaster University) and £99,000 for Create to Innovate (UCLAN).

Investment in Communities includes the Waterloo and Claremont bids, along with £190,000 for a feasability study into a Central Library/Grundy Art Gallery cultural hub (Blackpool Council), and £13,000 for a Digital Museum and Archives feasability study (UCLAN).

Aldi responds to rumours that one of its Blackpool stores might be closing

Aldi has responded to rumours about the future of its store in Waterloo Road, South Shore, with some shoppers under the impression that it plans to close the supermarket.

 

Shoppers have been speculating about the future of the store since Aldi opened a new branch in Oxford Square, just a mile up the road.

It has been claimed that there are plans to shut the Waterloo Road branch in January 2022, with some shoppers saying they learned of the plans from staff working at the store.

In response to these reports, the Gazette has sought clarification from Aldi about the future of the supermarket.

Aldi says it has no plans to close its either of its stores in Waterloo Road, South Shore and Clifton Drive North, St Annes. Pic: GoogleAldi says it has no plans to close its either of its stores in Waterloo Road, South Shore and Clifton Drive North, St Annes. Pic: Google

We also asked for clarification on the future of the St Annes store after similar concerns were raised about plans to close the branch in Clifton Drive North and replace it with a new branch in Lytham.

Aldi has dismissed the reports, with a spokesman saying, “We currently don’t have any plans to close either store”.

The supermarket has been busy expanding its footprint across the Fylde coast, with its refurbished store in Fleetwood reopening earlier this month.

Work is also under way on a new Aldi at the former Poundstretcher unit in Holyoake Avenue, Bispham which is expected to open in Autumn.

Despite recent speculation, Aldi says it has no plans to close its store in Waterloo Road, Blackpool. Pic: GoogleDespite recent speculation, Aldi says it has no plans to close its store in Waterloo Road, Blackpool. Pic: Google

 

Questions asked about plans for £45m Blackpool attraction that would halve Stanley Park Golf Course

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The leader of the Conservatives on Blackpool council has called for a full update on the controversial Adrenaline World  attraction planned for part of Stanley Park Golf Course.

 

The £45m scheme, which attracted 288 objections when it went before the council’s planning committee, also includes up to 250 holiday lodges on the site but will mean the loss of nine of the 18 holes at the course and open green space near East Park Drive.

The plans have been stalled by the year of coronavirus lockdowns and now Coun Tony Williams has said the hiatus should be used for a re-think.

But Blackpool Council has said no changes will be made to the golf course until the full details of the scheme had been seen and approved by the planning committee.

Stanley Park golf course is at the centre of a controversial plan for a new attraction for BlackpoolStanley Park golf course is at the centre of a controversial plan for a new attraction for Blackpool

He said: “It’s been sometime since Blackpool Council have provided an update on the intended development on the east side of the golf course.

“The official handover of the land is due to take place in September this year. When that happens this important green area will no longer be part of the golf course.

“The development company (Holmes Investment Properties) had scheduled to present their planning application in May this year, however it’s now July and nothing further seems to have progressed. In their annual return the company has stated that Covid has affected their performance and activity over the last 18 months so this may well be the reason for the delay.

“Most people in Blackpool are against this development going ahead, so it would come as welcome news if the delay means the council has had a change of heart or that the scheme is no longer viable.

Coun Tony Williams whose Conservative group oppose the plans to replace nine holes of Stanley Park Golf Course with an Adrenaline World attraction and holiday lodgesCoun Tony Williams whose Conservative group oppose the plans to replace nine holes of Stanley Park Golf Course with an Adrenaline World attraction and holiday lodges

“Along with others the Conservative group on Blackpool Council have continued to actively lobby against this development and questioned the viability of the scheme plus the loss of a treasured area of green space.

“Whatever the situation the council has ignored the folks of the town who need to know exactly what’s happening otherwise we are in danger of losing this valuable piece of land and part of the golf course forever by another behind closed doors sign off.”

He said Covid had disrupted much business but elsewhere in Blackpool new building and projects were still carrying on.

But he said there had been a “roar of silence on one of the most controversial land deals in the history of the town”.

Abseiling cold be one of the activities at Adrenaline World along with zip wiresAbseiling cold be one of the activities at Adrenaline World along with zip wires

He added: “I want The council to ditch this Holiday Park development idea once and for all, or to move it somewhere else, before the September deadline arrives and it’s too late.”

But Blackpool council has said it was too early to say that a £45m Adrenaline World attraction on Stanley Park golf course was unviable.

A council spokesman said: “The granting of a lease will not automatically change the status of the east side of the golf course. It is our understanding that no changes will commence to this area of the course unless and until planning is approved for the development.

“The full development proposals have not yet been shared publicly and this is the next step of the process that we understand will happen in the very near future.

“It is true that COVID has caused a delay to many developments right across the country and this one is no exception.

“As the detailed proposals have not been released it is difficult to see how anyone can draw any conclusion about the scheme’s impact or viability.

“There will be a full consultation on this development both before and after the planning application is submitted we hope that everyone will reserve judgement until they see what is actually being proposed rather than continuously speculating.

“The Council will consider the plan once they have seen it as part of the planning process.”

 

Blackpool’s driving theory test centre to close with learners now having to travel to Preston

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Blackpool’s learner drivers will now have to travel to Preston to take their theory test after the DVSA decided to shut the theory test centre in the resort.

 

The theory test centre based at Blackpool Technology Park in Faraday Way is one of 6 test centres in the North West to be axed by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

It follows a review of test centre locations by the agency as it continues to battle with a backlog of tests due to the coronavirus lockdowns.

Ironically, the DVSA has announced that the total number of theory test centres in England will increase from 180 to 202, making it “easier” for learner drivers to book their theory test.

The driving theory test centre based at Blackpool Technology Park is one of 6 test centres in the North West to be axed by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA)The driving theory test centre based at Blackpool Technology Park is one of 6 test centres in the North West to be axed by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA)

But for learners in Blackpool and the Fylde coast, it means a 34-mile round trip to the nearest theory test centre in Preston.

The agency says it will handle increased demand at the Preston test centre by making more tests available from September 6.

The DVSA says there are no plans to make changes to its practical tests in Blackpool and the Fylde, which will continue as normal.

The move has caused an uproar among Fylde instructors, with some saying they intend to “fight” the decision to keep the Blackpool driving theory test centre open.

Local driving instructor David Bradley said: “We have today been informed that the theory driving test centre at Blackpool is to be permanently closed. We are further informed that our nearest theory centre will be Preston.

“We personally think this decision is a disgrace. It comes without any thought or regard for the inconvenience and hardship that the closure will cause to our customers.

“We will keep you updated on the situation but be assured we and other local driving schools intend to fight on your behalf to try and keep a test centre open for Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde learners.”

 

Crews tackle ‘waste fire’ in garden of Fleetwood property

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A waste fire broke out in the garden of a residential property in Fleetwood.

 

Two fire engines from Fleetwood and Bispham attended the scene in Cross Street at around 6.40am on Sunday, July 11.

The fire involved a quantity of waste in the garden of a property.

Firefighters extinguished the fire using two hose reels.

Two fire engines from Fleetwood and Bispham attended the scene in Cross Street.Two fire engines from Fleetwood and Bispham attended the scene in Cross Street.

No injuries were reported.

Crews were at the scene for approximately 20 minutes.