‘Broken system’ blamed for Blackpool Metropole Hotel asylum seeker placement

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

“Our Nationality and Borders bill will fix this broken system to deter these dangerous and illegal crossings.”

 

Metropole Hotel, Blackpool
Metropole Hotel, Blackpool (Image: LancsLive)

The temporary placement of hundreds of asylum seekers at a prominent seaside hotel in Blackpool has been blamed on a “broken system”.

The past few weeks have seen discussions between the Home Office, Serco, Britannia Hotels, MPs and the general public over the suitability of the Metropole Hotel on Princess Parade as temporary housing for hundreds of asylum seekers.

On Sunday night (September 26) and early Monday morning (September 27), the first of more than 300 men, women and children alighted a bus outside the Britannia-owned hotel just off the Promenade.

It is believed that their placement will be ‘temporary’, but concerns have yet been raised by the council and other authorities over the suitability of the location, with Blackpool Council leader Lynn Williams saying that the decision was ‘wholly inappropriate’ and ‘ill-conceived”.

Lancashire Constabulary and health leaders have also raised several questions about the rationale of placing vulnerable people in such a high-profile tourist location.

Blackpool MPs Scott Benton and Paul Maynard both stated that they have previously raised concerns and see the move as damaging to Blackpool.

Blackpool Council felt no proper consultation was made with public services, with Coun Williams adding that she feels this is ‘a marriage of convenience between the Home Office and Britannia Hotels’.

Asylum seekers pictured heading into the Metropole Hotel
Asylum seekers pictured heading into the Metropole Hotel (Image: Bpl Bible/LancsLive)

The Home Office has since addressed concerns over the location of the placement, saying in a statement yesterday (September 29): “Due to unprecedented demand we have had to use temporary accommodation such as hotels to manage demands on the asylum estate and we encourage all local authorities to volunteer their support and work with us.

“The Home Office has been clear about the use of asylum accommodation in Blackpool and we have been communicative with the Council’s Chief Executives, and have met with local stakeholders such as police and public health providers, as well as officers from the local authority.

“All the hotels the Home Office uses must meet relevant health and safety legislation and provide their latest health and safety risk assessment.”

The Home Office added that the Nationality and Borders bill will fix ‘this broken system’ to deter these ‘dangerous and illegal crossings.’

Despite the Government’s insistence that the health and safety legislation has been met, Blackpool Council is now considering legal action after the first men, women and children were dropped off in a late night operation on Sunday (September 26) with no prior warning.

Councillors had wanted the Metropole hotel to seek planning permission before using the building to accommodate people en masse.

It is believed that more asylum seekers will continue to arrive throughout the week.

 

 

Blackpool school kids ‘could miss out’ on Scotland trip after minibus theft

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

Staining CE Primary School has had to use alternative transport to take the pupils to their swimming lessons

 

Staining CE Primary School had their minibus had their minibus stolen from school premises on September 23
Staining CE Primary School had their minibus had their minibus stolen from school premises on September 23

A primary school near Blackpool has had its minibus stolen meaning pupils are left missing out on ‘integral’ school trips.

Staining CE Primary School had their minibus, donated from Lancashire County Council, stolen from the school premises last Thursday, September 23, at approximately 11pm.

In a letter sent out by the school to parents and carers, headteacher Jennifer Shoulders, explained that the theft could result in the cancellation of some ‘exciting’ trips away – including a residential to Scotland.

“We have absolutely no idea who would want to take the minibus – it is branded with our school logo all over and is therefore quite distinctive,” she said.

“It is such a shame – we have worked hard to be in the unique position of being a primary school with a minibus and we have built an exciting new curriculum around it.”

The school had lots of trips lined up for pupils, including a year 6 residential visit to Lockerbie Manor Activity Centre in Scotland. They had also used the minibus for swimming lessons at Poulton Leisure Centre, ‘adventurous activities and visits’ that could only take place with the transport of the minibus.

Mrs Shoulders wrote: “It is incredibly expensive to use coaches etc. for such frequent experiences and so the minibus has become an integral part of life at Staining. We use the minibus all the time and so now, unfortunately, we are in danger of the children missing out – something we are not willing to let happen.”

The Ford Transit 17 seater minibus was stolen from the school premises on Thursday September 23 at approximately 11pm
The Ford Transit 17 seater minibus was stolen from the school premises on Thursday September 23 at approximately 11pm

Mrs Shoulders assured parents and carers that they ‘will do everything’ they can do get the minibus back, but in the meantime had asked ‘parent volunteers to help shuttle children to local events so the children can still take part.’

The school are looking into ‘how to get a replacement bus (physically and financially) as quickly as possible and with as little disruption to the curriculum as possible.’

Mrs Shoulders wrote: “We are still in shock that someone would do such a thing to a primary school.”

Since the minibus was stolen Bonnie Montgomery, School Business Manager, has started a fundraiser to replace the ‘vital resource’ for the children.

Bonnie said: “This is an integral part of the school life and it is such a shame – we have worked hard to be in the unique position of being a primary school with a minibus and we have built an exciting new curriculum around it. We use the minibus all the time and so now, unfortunately, we are in danger of the children missing out.”

Bonnie told LancsLive that Boundary Primary School on Dinmore Avenue, Blackpool, had “very kindly loaned their bus” for two days this week, so pupils can continue their climbing and swimming lessons.

“The response so far has been good considering it was only set up on Tuesday, we need to start looking at what we need to do going forward.”

You can donate to the fundraiser here.

 

 

 

Esso petrol station shut down after fire with ‘shaken’ staff rushing to help customers

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

The flames were seen coming from the bonnet of a car as staff used multiple fire extinguishers to tackle the blaze with no luck.

 

A fire that broke out at a petrol station in Blackpool left staff shaken and worried for the safety of their customers.

At around 2:40pm on Wednesday (September 29) a black car caught alight whilst parking up near the fuel pumps at the Esso garage in Bispham.

It is not yet know how the fire started but manager of the forecourt on Devonshire Road, Adeel Hashmi says he was alerted by a customer who came into the store “shouting there’s a fire”.

With long queues and around 15 cars at the forecourt, Adeel and his team tried to quickly evacuate the station as well as shutting down all the pumps and fuel supplies.

“The car was just a few inches away from the pump,” Adeel said.

“It was in flames and there was a lot of smoke coming from the engine of the car – I shut the pumps down immediately and announced on the mic that all the people there should empty the forecourt.”

As people started to leave their cars and get onto the main road, staff member contact the fire services who arrived within 10 minutes to deal with the flames.

Car on fire at Bispham petrol station causes the forecourt to be evacuated as emergency services were called to the scene
Car on fire at Bispham petrol station causes the forecourt to be evacuated as emergency services were called to the scene

In attempts to prevent the flames from getting onto spilt fuel covering the ground after a busy morning, Adeel and his team exhausted all options to try to minimise the fire.

“We had fire extinguishers so I took that out and my colleague did the same, we tried to control the fire but it was too windy,” Adeel said.

“The fire was increasing in size and we had about five or six extinguishers and we tried all of them and we had bags of sand too but we couldn’t control it.”

Having to control the situation whilst waiting for the services to arrive became a scary ten minutes for the staff and members of the public at the scene.

“It was horrible, we were shaking and when we were using the fire extinguishers we were shaking,” :Adeel said

“But in 10 to 15 minutes the fire brigade came and they controlled the fire.”

The fire services were able to quickly control the situation and clear the car of flames within ten minutes.

Flames from he bonnet of the car were extinguished by the fire services
Flames from he bonnet of the car were extinguished by the fire services

Adeel closed the forecourt for over an hour to ensure checks were carried out thoroughly and that any and all dangers were dealt with.

A spokes person for Lancashire Fire and Rescue said: “There is no cause listed and the fire is not under investigation. The crews arrived at the scene at 2.33pm yesterday and were there approximately ten minutes. They put out the fire with a hose reel and were engaged for 10 minutes, no casualties or injuries reported.”

 

 

 

Ma Kelly’s in Blackpool responds after stabbing incident sees nine arrested

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

A 19-year-old man from Blackpool suffered a number of stab wounds and was taken to hospital

 

Ma Kelly's on Talbot Road, Blackpool, in the early hours of the morning on Wednesday (September 29)
Ma Kelly’s on Talbot Road, Blackpool, in the early hours of the morning on Wednesday (September 29) (Image: BPL Bible / LancsLive)

Blackpool’s Ma Kelly’s has responded following a stabbing outside its venue yesterday.

A man was stabbed multiple times outside of the venue on Talbot Road in the early hours of the morning on Wednesday (September 29).

Police were called to reports of a fight, in which a 19-year-old local man suffered a number of stab wounds and was taken to hospital.

He remains in a serious but stable condition.

Nine men, aged between 19 and 36 from London, have been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and are currently in custody.

The cabaret and karaoke bar has since released a statement on its Facebook page to re-assure customers.

A spokesperson said: “Ma Kelly’s would like to clarify the unfortunate incident that took place yesterday did not take place within or inside the premises.

“The perpetrators of this attack were not inside the venue or the victim. The incident took place outside on the street on Talbot Road.

“Our thoughts are with the victim of the attack at this time.

“The safety and well-being of our customers are our priority and we are open and it’s business as usual. Thank you.”

Police at the scene outside Ma Kelly’s on Talbot Road in Blackpool
Police at the scene outside Ma Kelly’s on Talbot Road in Blackpool (Image: BPL Bible)

Detectives are investigating and are appealing for witnesses and anyone with information, CCTV, dashcam or mobile phone footage of the incident to come forward.

Det Insp Abi Finch-Hall, of Blackpool CID, said: “This incident has left a young man with some serious injuries and while we have made a number of arrests our enquiries are very much ongoing. I would appeal for anyone who has any information or who witnessed the incident itself to come forward and speak to us.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 quoting log 0001 of Wednesday, September 29.

Alternatively contact independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

 

 

Fleetwood nail and beauty salon staging open day at new premises

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A nail and beauty salon in Fleetwood is moving a few doors down to a bigger new premises – and is staging an open day there this Friday.

 

Lisa Potts and Michaela Giddings have moved into new premises on Lord St in Fleetwood

Lisa Potts and Michaela Giddings have moved into new premises on Lord St in Fleetwood

Michaela Giddings, owner of Nikayla’s, says the move was needed because the busy trade at has meant extra staff and space were needed.

Friday’s open day will allow customers to look around the new premises and enjoy a glass of prosecco and a cake.

Michaela, 47, who lives off Manor Road in the town, first opened Nikayla’s, at 216 Lord Street, in 2017 with pal Nicola Berry, who has since left the business.

Eventually she took on three new members of staff and says things are on the up.

The new address, at 187 Lord Street, has also brought a new name, Kayla’s.

Michaela, a busy grandmother and mum-of-five, said: “The pandemic has been a tough time and thankfully we were able to see it out.

“As soon as we were able to reopen, customers couldn’t wait to get here!

“I think that with all the doom and gloom, people just want to be pampered and also get back to normality.

“We’ve had lots of good luck messages about the new shop.”

After the open day, the salon is set to open next week.

Michaela, who used to work as a cook in a care home, decided on a complete career change and qualified as a nail technician five years ago.

In the salon she has now been joined by Amy Lee (nails, make-up and hair), Lisa Potts (aesthetics – botox and lashes) and part time staff member Daniella Trenchard (lashes).

Michaela added: “We won’t be working on Friday, it’s just a chance for people to look around and enjoy a glass of prosecco and a cake!”

 

 

Heartbroken parents to sue Blackpool Vic for alleged negligence after death of premature ‘Baby J’

Home | Blackpool Gazette

The parents of a baby boy who died shortly after being born at 22 weeks have moved to sue Blackpool Victoria Hospital for negligence after doctors mistook the mother’s labour pains for a water infection and sent her home.

 

Baby J's parents allege that Blackpool Vic doctors were negligent when they sent his mum home with a UTI diagnosis when she was in fact in labour

Baby J’s parents allege that Blackpool Vic doctors were negligent when they sent his mum home with a UTI diagnosis when she was in fact in labour

Baby J was born at home at 5.55pm on September 8 2017 – less than three hours after Blackpool Vic doctors discharged his mum without performing a speculum examination, which may have revealed that she was in labour. The infant died a short time later.

A further miscommunication between ambulance and hospital staff lead to his death being marked as a miscarriage, though an inquest this week heard that Baby J was in fact alive when he was born.

The coroner handed down a conclusion of death by natural causes, with the cause being extreme prematurity.

Baby J’s mum said: “For the past four years we have had to battle for our son’s birth, and short life, to be recognised. We heard him gurgling after he was born and his father and paramedics tried their best to help his breathing until he arrived at hospital.

“To have no recognition of your baby’s life due to a communication mix up is heart-breaking. Nothing we could do could bring him back, but we simply couldn’t allow him to have no place officially in history.”

His father said: “This situation has been very difficult me and for the family. Our baby boy will always be in our hearts, but knowing that justice has now been done, has finally meant our baby boy can be remembered for the right reasons.”

The pair have now agreed to pursue a civil case against Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust alleging negligence in the treatment provided when discharging the mother home when in labour.

Solicitor Emma Stone said: “This was a very traumatic experience for our client and her family, and of course something which will impact on their lives forever.

“The loss of a baby is always a very difficult time, whatever the circumstances of that loss. However, for our client to be sent home from hospital, give birth at home and see her baby boy struggling for life was heart-breaking. This was then further compounded by being told her baby was not being recognised as having lived, meaning there was no post-mortem, and no registration of his birth or death.

“It was for that reason that the family pursued an Inquest and they are grateful to the Coroner for recording that their baby boy had shown signs of life after birth, and that he died of natural causes due to the prematurity of his birth.”

Peter Murphy, Director of Nursing, AHPs and Quality at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said ‘everyone at the Trust was thinking of baby J, his family and his mum in particular who had been through a devastating experience’.

He added: “I want to offer our deepest condolences to them and for them to know that baby J is in our thoughts. This was a traumatic experience and there is help available as and when they need it. The Trust supported the inquest fully and notes the findings of the coroner. The lessons we are able to learn and share from this death will be a priority for us to understand and a basis upon which to improve.”

A North West Ambulance Service spokesman said: “Our deepest sympathies remain with the family of Baby J in what remains an incredibly difficult time for them.

“The Trust acknowledge and take seriously the concerns raised and extend our apologies to Baby J’s family for any distress or suffering that may have resulted. As an organisation we will review our systems and liaise with the coroner and family upon the outcome of that review and any improvements we have been able to make”.

 

 

Mereside Library will reopen and library services will expand after many months of problems caused by Covid-19

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Mereside Library will reopen and other Blackpool Council-run libraries will extend their opening hours next week after 18 months of disruption caused by Covid-19.

 

Blackpool Central is among the libraries extending its opening hours

Blackpool Central is among the libraries extending its opening hours

The library, on Crummock Place, Mereside, has been closed for more than a year, while other libraries, including Central, Layton, Anchorsholme, Palatine, @TheGrange, Moor Park and Revoe have been operating on reduced times.

The changes to these times will come into place on Monday, October 4, the same day the service’s annual Libraries Week celebrations are set to begin.

This year’s theme is ‘Taking action, changing lives’ and promises a variety of public and online events, including visits to local schools and the delivery of a special ‘afternoon tea in a bag’ to some ‘Library-At-Home’ customers.

Library services have been up in the air throughout the coronavirus pandemic

Library services have been up in the air throughout the coronavirus pandemic

Councillor Kathryn Benson, cabinet member for community engagement, aspirations and community assets, said: “We know how much our residents value visiting our library buildings and will be happy to see them open for increased hours, and see the return of Mereside Library.

“We are really pleased that many locals have already returned to our libraries over the last few months and hope many more will return to enjoy and utilise the fantastic range of services available.

“The libraries team have been working hard to deliver services and activities whilst ensuring enhanced safety for all those visiting and thank residents for their support and understanding. They look forward to offering an extended in-person service we know many in our communities really benefit from.”

 

The libraries team have planned a careful extension to the current opening hours, seeking advice from Public Health and council leaders to ensure a safe service, Blackpool Council said.

Mandatory hand sanitising, reduced visitor capacity, limited computer time, and the use of protective screens at counters and around computer terminals will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

NEW OPENING TIMES FOR BLACKPOOL LIBRARIES

Central Library

Monday: Closed

Tuesday: 9am to 5pm

Wednesday: 9am to 5pm

Thursday: 9am to 7pm

Friday: Closed

Saturday: 10am to 4pm

Layton Library

Monday: 10am to 4pm

Tuesday: Closed

Wednesday: 10am to 4pm

Thursday: Closed

Friday: 10am to 4pm

Saturday: 10am to 1pm

Anchorsholme Library

Monday: 10am to 4pm

Tuesday: 10am to 4pm

Wednesday: 10am to 4pm

Thursday: 10am to 4pm

Friday: Closed

Saturday: 10am to 1pm

Palatine Library

Monday: 9am to 5pm

Tuesday: 9am to 5pm

Wednesday: Closed

Thursday: Closed

Friday: 9am to 5pm

Saturday: 10am to 4pm

Moor Park

Monday: 9am to 5pm

Tuesday: 9am to 5pm

Wednesday: Closed

Thursday: Closed

Friday: 9am to 5pm

Saturday: 10am to 4pm

Mereside

Monday: 10am to 1.00pm

Tuesday: 10am to 1.00pm

Wednesday: Closed

Thursday: Closed

Friday: 1pm to 5pm

Saturday: 1pm to 5pm

Revoe

Monday: 1pm to 5pm

Tuesday: 1pm to 5pm

Wednesday: 10am to 1pm

Thursday: Closed

Friday: 1pm to 5pm

Saturday: Closed

@The Grange

Monday: 9am to 4pm

Tuesday: 9am to 4pm

Wednesday: 9am to 4pm

Thursday: 9am to 4pm

Friday: 9am to 4pm

Saturday: Closed

 

 

Mereside Primary Academy in Blackpool and charity URPotential team up to promote LGBTQ+ diversity

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A Blackpool primary school intends to fly the rainbow flag for diversity as it begins a year-long mission to promote inclusivity among pupils.

 

Mereside Primary Academy in Langdale Road has embarked on a journey to become the first school in Blackpool to work towards an award to promote diversity in the school.

The Rainbow Flag Award is a quality assurance framework with a focus on positive LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, plus other related identities) inclusion for all schools and colleges, delivered by Central Drive-based charity URPotential.

URPotential is working with Mereside towards the Rainbow Flag Award, to encourage a whole-organisation approach to LGBT+ inclusion, as well as developing ways to challenge and combat LGBT-phobic bullying.

Kayley Miller and Jen Macdonald from Mereside Academy (front), with Jade Holloway, Nina Beavers and Molly Houghton from URPotential. Pic: Mereside Academy

Kayley Miller and Jen Macdonald from Mereside Academy (front), with Jade Holloway, Nina Beavers and Molly Houghton from URPotential. Pic: Mereside Academy

Over the next year, teachers Jen Macdonald and Kayley Miller, newly-trained designated diversity leads, will be leading the project across the academy in a bid to implement positive changes to promote positive LGBT+ inclusion and visibility.

Nina Beavers, LGBTQ+ coordinator at URPotential, explained more about the award and how it benefits Fylde coast pupils.

“We’re seeing more and more younger pupils expressing themselves in terms of sexuality and gender at a younger age,” she said.

“What we found is that teachers want to support them, but aren’t sure how to, so this is how this training has come about. Teachers don’t have the knowledge or skills, and don’t have a lot of experience with LGBT pupils because they aren’t taught about it when they’re at university.

“There are different resources we recommend for primary pupils, and others for secondary pupils. For primary pupils, they might be reading a story book with two penguin dads, as an example.

“While teaching geography, they might be taught about different communities, what flags are there in Great Britain? Maybe teachers could pop a rainbow flag in there and discuss that.

“It’s about promoting diversity and inclusion, it’s about children feeling comfortable in their own skin and feeling free to express themselves and be who they are. We’re helping staff in schools understand how to support these pupils and their families, and help other pupils to understand it.”

John Topping from Fylde Coast Academy Trust, which runs the school, said: “Mereside hopes to become a flagship school in the north west for the award.

“We will aim to work in association with URPotential and use materials from the Proud Trust to promote the core values of the award and involve all stakeholders in the school.

“The award is intended to promote a better understanding of how different people choose to live their lives, promote tolerance and kindness to others and respect for the LGBTQ+ community in particular.”

The Rainbow Flag Award is a programme designed for all Fylde coast schools to take part in.

The next cohort of schools is being enrolled in January 2022.

For more information, email rainbowflagaward@urpotential.co.uk .

 

 

One of Lancashire’s Most Wanted men arrested in Blackpool

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Wanted man Dailen Royle has been arrested as part of Operation Hunter – a police campaign to target some of the county’s most wanted who try to evade capture.

Wanted man Dailen Royle has been arrested as part of Operation Hunter - a police campaign to target some of the county’s most wanted offenders who try to evade capture

Wanted man Dailen Royle has been arrested as part of Operation Hunter – a police campaign to target some of the county’s most wanted offenders who try to evade capture

The 24-year-old, previously of Pickmere Avenue, South Shore, had been wanted since April after failing to appear at Blackpool Magistrates Court charged with breaching a court order.

Royle, who has been released on licence, was arrested this morning (Thursday, September 30).

He will now be recalled to prison to serve the remainder of his sentence for convictions of assault and criminal damage in January (2021).

Royle, then 22, should have been living at his mother’s home in Oldham at the time.

But when his mum could not find him she reported his disappearance to police.

Officers traced him to an address in Blackpool and discovered Royle in the bedroom cupboard of a woman he should have no contact with by court order.

Royle admitted breaching his bail and was remanded into custody.