Relocation of asylum seekers to Blackpool’s Metropole Hotel ‘paused’

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Plans to accommodate up to 324 asylum seekers in Blackpool’s Metropole Hotel have been put on hold – for now.

 

The relocation was due to take place tomorrow (Friday) despite Blackpool Council warning against it.

Blackpool Council says Metropole Hotel needs planning permission for asylum seek…

The council has told Britannia Hotels, which owns the Metropole, planning permission is required to close the hotel and convert it to a hostel.

Metropole Hotel

Metropole Hotel

Council leader Coun Lynn Williams said “every available power” would be used “to prevent the usage of the Metropole in the way that is intended.”

She said: “We have now been advised that the relocation of the asylum seekers to the Metropole Hotel has been paused and will not take place tomorrow (Friday September 10).

“However, our understanding is that the Home Office is continuing to pursue this plan.

“In that regard, our view remains exactly the same in that this is a wholly inappropriate and ill-conceived placement.

“We stand by our assertion that the Home Office has failed to satisfy any of the grave concerns raised by local services including the council, NHS, police, fire service and public health officials.

“Collectively we have requested answers to a number of questions relating to suitability of location, the timing of this placement and the need for a thorough risk assessment particularly in terms of the potential impact on these vulnerable and traumatised people.

“None of those questions have been answered to date and there is growing dismay over the way in which this situation has been handled.

“As a result, we will exercise every available power to prevent the usage of the Metropole in the way that is intended.

“We have served notice on Britannia Hotels advising that if they close the hotel and use it for the purpose of housing asylum-seekers they will need planning permission for a change of use of the building.

“If they ignore that advice, we will issue a temporary stop notice and enforce if necessary.”

 

Poundland axes Blackpool store to focus on its other resort shops

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Discount retailer Poundland is not reopening one of it’s Blackpool stores, which closed temporarily at the start of the pandemic.

 

The store at 13-19 Bank Hey Street has now been closed permanently, despite it still appearing as one of the retailer’s shop on its website.

Poundland also has another shop on Bank Hey Street, at 63, which the retailer is now ‘focusing’ on as well as its stores across the resort.

The shop closed temporarily during the pandemic. Bosses at the company said at the time that the move comes in a bid to protect the stores for the long term, as they ‘focus their attention’ on other stores

The Poundland on Bank Hey Street has closed down

The Poundland on Bank Hey Street has closed down

It was believed that the store at 13-19 Bank Hey Streey would reopen, however the firm has confirmed it is closed permanently and has been for some time.

A spokesman for the company said: “We already have a store at 63 Bank Hey Street in Blackpool and it makes sense to focus on one location. The store at 13-19 Bank Hey Street has been closed for more than a year. We’ve looked after colleagues there who have been working in other local stores.

“Customers won’t be disappointed as, in addition to 63 Bank Hey Street, we also have stores at Blackpool Cherry Tree Retail Park and Blackpool Retail Park.”

Signage at the former town centre shop has gone up advising of the closure and it’s unclear about the future of the retail unit. It was formerly the resort’s main Woolworths.

The Poundland website still lists it as one of its shops despite a spokesman advising it has been closed for around a year

The Poundland website still lists it as one of its shops despite a spokesman advising it has been closed for around a year

The store was formerly a Woolworths

The store was formerly a Woolworths

Indoor market empire expansion for Bispham trader

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A Bispham market stallholder is expanding his indoor empire by taking on his third stall in his 17 years of trading there.

 

Ian Holland, 40, from Thornton, has been a stallholder in Bispham market in Red Bank Road for the past 17 years, beginning the journey with All 4 Pets, a pet stall alongside his former business partner.

When his partner decided to retire four years ago, Ian bought into the business and has run it solo since.

Then another opportunity too sweet to turn down came up in the market – which saw him take over the confectionary stall, prompting the “All 4” brand to branch out with “All 4 Sweets.”

Ian Holland has taken over the cards stall in Bispham market, which will be run by his daughter Daniella. Pic: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

Ian Holland has taken over the cards stall in Bispham market, which will be run by his daughter Daniella. Pic: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

But not content with just two spaces in the market, Ian is now embarking on another venture, by taking over a third stall selling greetings cards.

Ian said: “The guy who had the cards stall left, and the landlord asked me if I wanted to take it over.

“The market is a focal point in the village, especially now the village is getting busier and busier. Loads more people are using it, and the kids are now they’re all back at school.

“I didn’t want to see any empty gaps in here, which is what happened before I took over the sweets stall – because it’s at the front of the market, people were walking past thinking it was closed.”

Ian Holland and daughter Daniella have taken over the cards stall in Bispham market. Pic: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

Ian Holland and daughter Daniella have taken over the cards stall in Bispham market. Pic: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

Ian said he was pleased to see his fellow traders beginning to recover after lockdown, and hoped customers would continue to support the market.

Taking over the cards stall might be the third venture for him, but it will be the first time he works with his daughter Daniella, 18, from South Shore.

Daniella will be manning the cards stall while he keeps his eye on the sweets and pet stalls, he said.

“Daniella was working on South Pier over the summer,” he continued.

“But now the season is coming to a bit of an end her hours would likely reduce. So, when this opportunity came around I asked her if she wanted to get involved and she agreed.”

“I’ve been luckier than most during the lockdown because the pet stall was deemed as an essential business, but it’s good to see the market getting back to normal now.”

 

Man arrested after allegedly ‘telling police officers he had HIV, spitting at and headbutting them’ in Blackpool

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A man who allegedly spat at two police officers after telling them he had HIV, then “headbutted” a third officer, remains in custody after being arrested for a public order offence.

 

A 24-year-old man allegedly “spat at” two Blackpool police officers and “headbutted” a third after “telling them he had HIV” at around 3am (September 5) in Queen Street.

Officers were on Operation Night Safe duty, which sees enhanced patrolling of the town centre to support the resort’s night-time economy.

They approached the man in Queen Street and intervened in relation to a public order offence, before he “told them he was HIV positive.”

A 24-year-old man spat at two Blackpool police officers and headbutted a third after telling them he had HIV at around 3am on Sunday morning in Queen Street.

A 24-year-old man spat at two Blackpool police officers and headbutted a third after telling them he had HIV at around 3am on Sunday morning in Queen Street.

Lancashire Police’s Force Incident Manager said: “Two officers were then threatened by the offender who stated he had HIV, before he headbutted another.”

The officer had “minimal injuries” which did not require treatment in hospital, and all three remain on duty.

The man fled the scene, but was caught on CCTV heading towards the prom before being found near the cenotaph, where he “violently resisted arrest,” the Force Incident Manager said.

Blackpool Council says Metropole Hotel needs planning permission for asylum seekers

Home | Blackpool Gazette

The owners of Blackpool’s Metropole Hotel have been told planning permission will be required before the building can be turned over to house asylum seekers.

 

Blackpool Council has also warned Britannia Hotels it will issue a stop notice prohibiting use of the site as a hostel if it fails to comply with the requirement.

Home Office hits back at Blackpool Council criticism over 223 asylum seekers bei…

Council leader Coun Lynn Williams said the council had no choice but to take the action after the Home Office refused to give out information about the conditions asylum seekers would be living in.

The Metropole Hotel

The Metropole Hotel

It was announced on Tuesday the Metropole Hotel on the Promenade will be receiving 223 asylum seekers by the end of the week – a figure which has now risen to 324.

Coun Williams said the Home Office and Serco, which provides accommodation for asylum seekers on behalf of the Government, had been unable to allay concerns from the council, police, fire and ambulance authorities.

She said: “Our concerns escalated yesterday (Wednesday) following further meetings with the Home Office and Serco.

“We are not to be provided with any of the risk assessments that have been undertaken despite asking repeatedly for them to allay these concerns.

“Yesterday we gave notice to the Metropole and its owners that using the Metropole to house asylum seekers constitutes to a material change of use and planning permission is required before they proceed.

“If they do proceed we will issue a temporary stop notice immediately, which means if they continue to provide accommodation that is unlawful.

“This is a closure of a large hotel and conversion to a hostel and that requires planning consent.

“The Government knows the problems we have here with HMOs (houses in multiple occupation) and hostels and the impact on Blackpool, and yet we are expected to accept a very large HMO in the centre of Blackpool which is one of the most deprived areas of the country.”

Coun Williams said the Home Office actions were ‘contradictory’ to other government departments which had ploughed millions of pounds into Blackpool to improve the quality of housing and reduce the spread of HMOs.

She added: “We are not doing this out of lack of sympathy for the asylum seekers but because this is entirely the wrong place for these people.”

She said the Home Office had failed to grasp the fact Blackpool’s season was still in full swing with millions of visitors in the town for the Illuminations which already put extra pressure on local services.

 

Jilted Blackpool man admits sending his male escort ex offensive WhatsApp messages

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A jilted ex found himself in court after sending his male escort ex offensive and indecent messages on WhatsApp.

 

Daniel Lloyd, 29, of Horsebridge Road, Grange Park, admitted harassment when he appeared at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court last week.

His lawyer Patrick Nelligan said: “My client had a relationship with a male escort which did not end well.

“He admits sending insulting messages.”

An undated file image of Blackpool Magistrates' Court

An undated file image of Blackpool Magistrates’ Court

Lloyd had his case adjourned so pre-sentence reports could be prepared.

 

 

New mum ‘pushed pram at guard in Boots after stealing £1,000 of Chanel beauty products’ in Blackpool

Home | Blackpool Gazette

New mum Laren Nettleton, 23, of London Road, Blackpool, stole £1,703 of Chanel products from Boots in the town centre – before pushing her baby’s pram at a security guard, Blackpool Magistrates’ Court was told.

 

Nettleton admitted theft and assault.

Her case was adjourned while probation service reports are compiled – with her bailed in the meantime.

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.

An undated file image of Blackpool Magistrates' Court

An undated file image of Blackpool Magistrates’ Court

Blackpool man charged with assault on police officers

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A resort man was charged with attacking three police officers in the town centre.

 

Ryan Pearce, 24, of Charnley Road, was formally accused of spitting at two – telling them he has HIV – and headbutting a third.

He was bailed to appear at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, October 12.

The officers were in nightlife hotspot Queen Street in the early hours of Sunday when the attack allegedly happened.

A 24-year-old man has been charged with assaulting three police officers in Blackpool Town Centre at the weekend.

A 24-year-old man has been charged with assaulting three police officers in Blackpool Town Centre at the weekend.

Vandals smash LGBT charity shop window and cause £600 of damage

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A Blackpool LGBT charity has been left ‘gutted’ by a vandal attack causing around £600 worth of damage.

 

Damage caused to the charity shop window

Damage caused to the charity shop window

The LGBT Charity UK shop on Talbot Road had its front window smashed twice overnight, leaving behind two large cracks.

Charity founder Luke Conway said: “I left the store at 10.15pm, and sometime between then and when I came in at 8.15am this morning somebody had put their fist through the window and smashed it in two places, and we can’t get anyone to come and fix it until next Thursday. We can’t even get it boarded up, unless we’re willing to pay another £500. So we’re now appealing for any help or support from local people.

“I just can’t believe we have been targeted like this. It hasn’t happened to any other shop in the area, just us.”

Damage caused to the charity shop window

Damage caused to the charity shop window

The incident was reported to police this morning.

Luke added that the cost of replacing the window, which is expected to be around £600, would divert much-needed funds away from the charity, which provides mental health and housing support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

“We feel gutted,” he said. “Unfortunately, we don’t have any CCTV that covers that area of the shop.

“What gets me is that we often get people coming into the shop and taking things without paying. I don’t bother reporting it and put my own money in the pot instead. Now this has happened, I wonder how much money can you put in to keep things going.”

Anyone with any information about the vandalism is asked to contact police on 101 quoting the log number LC-20210906-0290

 

Bispham man in court accused of raping girl, 10, and other sex attacks

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A man made his first appearance in court after being charged with raping a 10-year-old girl.

 

Daniel Pritchard, 41, of Pinewood Avenue, Bispham, also faces three allegations of sex attacks on female children, and a fifth charge of engaging in a sex act in front of a child.

Appearing at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court today, Pritchard had his case sent to Preston Crown Court.

Defending, Gary McAnulty said the alleged offences date back several years.

Blackpool Magistrates' Court

Blackpool Magistrates’ Court

“He denies the charges,” the lawyer added.

Pritchard remains in custody and is due to appear before the higher court on Wednesday, October 6.