Blackpool Council say they played ‘no role’ in organising 260ft Star Flyer ride

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Blackpool Council said they “did not play any role in ordering, planning or procuring the proposed Star Flyer ride”.

 

The 260ft structure – Europe’s largest travelling aerial ride – was set to propel riders to heights of more than 210 feet, nearly half the height of Blackpool Tower.

But the ride, located in St John’s Square, was dismantled on Thursday (November 18) after Blackpool Council realised it was “significantly bigger than envisaged”.

The council later said it played no role in commissioning the ride as it was “privately-funded venture”, and it had a duty to ensure public safety.

The assembly of the Star Flyer ride in Blackpool has now been halted

The assembly of the Star Flyer ride in Blackpool has now been halted

“The plan that was originally proposed for St John’s was for small-scale children’s rides, but the organisers made a late change in their plans,” a spokesman said.

“When this particular ride arrived in the square, the installation started without the necessary council approvals.

“It became clear that the overall footprint of the ride, coupled with vehicle mitigation measures, made it too big to fit in the square.”

They added: “The view was taken that it would not be safe to operate so close to what is a public highway.

“Given this is a space used by buses, taxis and pedestrians, it was deemed inappropriate for this location.”

The Council has pledged to try and find a more suitable site for the attraction.

Blackpool Promotions had planned to make the ride a key part of this year’s Winter Gardens Wonderland.

But the dismantling of the ride led to the postponement of some of the markets, which were due to open tomorrow (Friday, November 19).

A spokesman for the firm said: “We hope to open very soon and will keep you all up to speed on the latest opening dates/times.

“We remain committed to creating the best possible experience for everyone in Blackpool and the many thousands of visitors to the resort this Christmas.

“We are more than confident that the Winter Gardens Wonderland will be a huge success and it will still be a magical experience for everyone involved.”

The skating rink, simulated snowfalls, log cabins, magical forest, light installations, festive light projection shows and Magical Express tram rides will go ahead as planned on Friday, November 19.

 

 

Blackpool Council say 260ft Star Flyer ride is being taken down because it “was significantly bigger than envisaged”

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The massive 260ft Star Flyer ride planned for St John’s Square has been dismantled after Blackpool Council realised it was “significantly bigger than envisaged”.

 

Workmen have been busily erecting the massive ride outside the Winter Gardens this week, but it is being dismantled today under orders from Blackpool Council.

The giant ride – nearly half the height of Blackpool Tower – was to open tomorrow (Friday, November 19) as the centrepiece of the resort’s Winter Gardens Wonderland.

But today, organisers Blackpool Promotions revealed they had been ordered to dismantle the ride after concerns were raised by the Council.

Blackpool's Winter Gardens Wonderland postponed because massive Star Flyer ride is too big for St Johns Square, say organisers

Blackpool’s Winter Gardens Wonderland postponed because massive Star Flyer ride is too big for St Johns Square, say organisers

The Council said it became concerned about security and public safety after the colossal ride arrived in St John’s Square on Wednesday (November 17).

Despite weeks of planning, the Council said they only realised it was “significantly bigger than envisaged” after construction got under way.

But the Council has pledged to try and find a more suitable site for the attraction.

The 260ft Star Flyer ride, which is half the height of Blackpool Tower, was expected to open in St Johns Square on Friday (November 19). Pic: Blackpool Promotions LTD

The 260ft Star Flyer ride, which is half the height of Blackpool Tower, was expected to open in St Johns Square on Friday (November 19). Pic: Blackpool Promotions LTD

A Council spokesman said: “We have a legal responsibility to ensure that attractions such as these meet all necessary requirements relating to security and public safety.

“When the ride arrived in the square, it was clear that it was significantly bigger than envisaged.

“Given that this is a space that is used by buses, taxis and pedestrians it was deemed inappropriate for this location.

“We immediately advised the promoters and they have agreed to take it down.

The Council told the Gazette that it became concerned about security and public safety after the colossal ride arrived in St John's Square on Wednesday (November 17), when it realised "it was clear that it was significantly bigger than envisaged".

The Council told the Gazette that it became concerned about security and public safety after the colossal ride arrived in St John’s Square on Wednesday (November 17), when it realised “it was clear that it was significantly bigger than envisaged”.

“During discussions we agreed that we will consider other locations if any can be found that are deemed suitable.”

When pressed on why it had only realised the sheer size of the ride after it was partially erected in St John’s Square, Blackpool Council said organisers had not provided them with “technical specifications” before arriving on site.

A Council spokesman added: “We had received no technical specification for the ride prior to its arrival.

“When it arrived in the square, it was clear that the overall footprint would have increased significantly when vehicle mitigation measures, which are always required for these sort of attractions, were put in place.

“Hence the view was taken that it would not be safe to operate so close to what is a public highway.”

 

 

Christmas events near me: A guide to some of the 2021 festive fun in Preston, Blackpool, Wigan, Manchester and Liverpool

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There’s loads going on throughout the North West over the Christmas period – we’ve picked out some of the best events from around the region.

 

Here’s our guide to some of the top Christmas events in Preston, Blackpool, Wigan, Manchester and Liverpool

PRESTON

Christmas lights switch on – Saturday, November 20, at Preston Flag Market. Full details here.

Christmas markets are always popular - Manchester and Liverpool hold absolute crackers every year

Christmas markets are always popular – Manchester and Liverpool hold absolute crackers every year

Festive Preston at Winckley Square – Saturday, November 27: Winckley Square Gardens will become a Christmas paradise. There will be opportunities to have your face painted, dance around in an interactive snow globe, and have your photo taken with Father Christmas’ sleigh.

Christmas Magic at Cuerden Valley Park – Saturday, December 11. Enjoy a sumptuous breakfast or lunch at Cuerden View Cafe, then write your letter to Father Christmas and collect a trail map to track down his secret grotto. After finding Father Christmas children can give them their letter and receive a gift. Full details here.

The Lady in White at Samlesbury Hall – December 13, 14, 16, 19, 20, and 23. Enjoy a spooky tale this Christmas, designed for families and lovers of ghost stories. This tale will take you back in time, in the candle-lit hallways of Lancashire’s most haunted house, to hear the story of Lady Dorothy Southworth – The Lady in White. Full details here.

BLACKPOOL

There's loads to see and do this Christmas time

There’s loads to see and do this Christmas time

There will be a launch event on Friday, November 19, for winter attractions on the Promenade in front of the Tower – including a festive village, log cabins, light shows, illuminated Christmas trees and a skating rink. The Christmas lights will come on at the same time. Read our ultimate guide to what’s on here.

WIGAN

Christmas lights switch-on – Saturday, November 20, in Market Place. Full details here.

Christmas Fair at Parbold Village Hall – Saturday, November 20, and Sunday, November 21, from 11am to 3pm.

Are you excited for Christmas?

Are you excited for Christmas?

Wigan Santa Parade – Wigan Council Events Team will be hosting the annual Santa Parade in Wigan Town Centre on Sunday, November 21. The event is aimed at families with children and there will be entertainment with a Santa Parade and reindeer, a stage show with community groups and a small funfair. Full details here.

Ice rink, Santa camp, Nativity trail, markets and carol singers at The Wayfarer in Parbold – Children (and their nearest and dearest) can make a day of visiting Santa together with ice skating, German bier and festive food from December 3 through to January 4. Booking to see Santa is advised. The Christmas markets are held Saturdays and Sundays from 11am to 4pm. Full details here.

MANCHESTER

Christmas Markets – Open now until Sunday, December 20. Loads of stalls, loads to eat, drink and be merry. The Christmas Markets are located in different spaces around the city. They are located at: Albert Square (main square), Brazennose Street, St Ann’s Square, Exchange Street, New Cathedral Street, The Corn Exchange, Corporation Street. Full details here.

Get your skates on this Christmas

Get your skates on this Christmas

White Christmas The Musical at Palace Theatre & Opera House Manchester – From Monday, November 22, to Saturday, December 4. A timeless romantic comedy to warm the hearts of all ages. White Christmas features the classic songs Blue Skies, Sisters and the most famous festive song of all White Christmas. Full details here.

Silcock’s Winter Wonderland at EventCity, next to The Trafford Centre in Manchester. The UK’s largest indoor Christmas Theme Park runs from Saturday, December 4, to Sunday, January 2. Full details here.

Christmas Spectacular at The Bridgewater Hall – Thursday, December 16, at 7.30pm. Christmas Spectacular is a cracker of a show filled with music, dance, lights and spectacle. The Bridgewater Hall will spring to life with high kicks, festive fun and special effects plus all the trimmings in the company of glittering West End vocalists, a full orchestra and our all-star Jingle Belle dancers. Full details here.

LIVERPOOL

Christmas market – The Liverpool Christmas Market has around 40 stalls selling a mixture of sweet treats, street food and festive favourites like Bratwurst and mulled wine. Open now, it will run until Thursday, December 23, each day from 11am, closing at 9pm Sunday to Wednesday and 10pm Thursday to Saturday. The market is located around the North Side of St George’s Hall on William Brown Street, and St John’s Gardens at the back of St George’s Hall.

Can’t Touch This Christmas Special featuring Whigfield at Camp and Furnace, Greenland Street – Saturday, December 4. Nineties pop princess Whigfield (Saturday Night) returns to Liverpool for a Christmas jumper party like no other. Full details here.

Love Actually in Concert at Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Hope Street – Tuesday, December 14. Everyone’s favourite festive romcom is coming to Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall this December. Love Actually is on the venue’s festive schedule this year, but with a musical twist. The much-loved film will be shown a huge projector at the venue, while a live orchestra performs Craig Armstrong’s score throughout. BAFTA winner Craig Armstrong is one of the UK’s most recognised film. composers. Full details here.

 

 

Man wanted after bike stolen in Blackpool town centre

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A man is wanted by police after a bike was stolen in Blackpool town centre.

The bicycle was stolen in Birley Street on Monday, November 8.

Today (November 18), police released images of a man they would like to talk to in relation to the theft.

If you have any information or recognise the man in the pictures, email BlackpoolNorth.NPT@Lancashire.police.uk quoting LC-20211108-0770.

Police would like to speak to this man after a bike was stolen in Birley Street, Blackpool (Credit: Lancashire Police)

Police would like to speak to this man after a bike was stolen in Birley Street, Blackpool (Credit: Lancashire Police)

Historic Blackpool Promenade shelter restored

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Volunteers from Blackpool Civic Trust have battled through harsh weather  to give one of the resort’s famous Promenade shelters  a spruce up.

 

Members have repainted and renovated the shelter and bench in North Shore which is among eight granted Grade II listed status in August this year.

It has taken two months of hard work to complete the project, working alongside the council which is undertaking its own repainting scheme for the historic structures.

Blackpool Civic Trust chairman Joan Humble said weather conditions for the volunteers had been “very harsh at times” at the site opposite Norkeed Road and Norkeed Court apartments.

She added: “Many of the residents came over to thank civic trust volunteers for their work.

“The widespread affection in which these Promenade shelters is held was very obvious, with mums with their children, older people in their mobility scooters, dog-walkers, hikers, cyclists and visitors to the town, all stopping to say how much they admired these handsome Edwardian structures.

“Blackpool Civic Trust worked closely with the council, which is part way through a major programme of renovating and painting the other 15 listed shelters.”

The Civic Trust submitted applications last year for eight shelters to be listed, with the status confirmed in August this year. They joined eight shelters which were already Grade II listed.

Most of the shelters were made between 1903 and 1904 by renowned iron-founders Walter MacFarlane and Co (MacFarlanes), of Glasgow and the Lion Foundry Company, of Kirkintilloch.

The Middle and Lower Walk Colonnades in North Shore were also granted Grade II listed status in August, and the Civic Trust hopes to work with the council next year on another repainting scheme.

To find out more about becoming a member of Blackpool Civic Trust, visit its website at blackpoolcivictrust.org.uk

 

 

Blackpool academy school set to get a new building after planning permission was granted

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A Blackpool school is set to get a new building for its new arrivals.

 

Plans have been approved by Blackpool Council to construct an additional building specifically for year seven students at Blackpool Aspire Academy.

Designed by Preston architects, Cassidy and Ashton, who designed the new sports pavilion at Blackpool Airport, the academy’s new building will provide a dedicated space for incoming year seven students to begin their studies in a modern and supportive environment.

Construction onsite at Blackpool Aspire Academy is planned to start in February and is expected to be completed before the next academic year starts in September 2022.

A computer image of the new building at Blackpool Aspire Academy designed by Cassidy and Ashton

A computer image of the new building at Blackpool Aspire Academy designed by Cassidy and Ashton

Around 180 year seven students each year join the Blackpool Old Road school, which is sponsored by Fylde Coast Academy Trust (FCAT).

Cassidy and Ashton’s new building design, based on the academy’s existing campus, offers eight large classrooms and amenities in a single storey unit.

Alistair Baines, architect and chairman at Cassidy and Ashton said: “We have a long-standing working partnership with the Fylde Coast Academy Trust, providing architectural and design expertise to help them improve the learning environments they manage across the Fylde.

“Our design offers spacious circulation and incorporates the benefits of natural ventilation to enable the students to learn healthily and interact in a safe and inspirational environment.”

Alistair Baines of Cassidy and Ashton

Alistair Baines of Cassidy and Ashton

Constructed in rendered composite materials with large, prefabricated windows, the new build will be in keeping with the Academy’s existing buildings including its signature green panelled exterior.

The building will have heat recovery units to enable fresh air ventilation and natural airflow throughout the classrooms that has proven to improve student learning.

John Woods, headteacher of Aspire Academy said: “The primary to high school transition is a key phase in a child’s education. Being able to support new starters in their own space will allow us to be more creative and flexible with the year seven curriculum.

“This is a really exciting project that will support our continued goal to maximise the life chances of all of our students and provide them with the ‘golden futures’ they deserve.”

The building will be for the school's newcomers, year seven, who are moving from primary to senior school

The building will be for the school’s newcomers, year seven, who are moving from primary to senior school

Established in 2014, Blackpool Aspire Academy provides secondary education to more than 900 students and works closely with external agencies to strengthen the community ethos and create a safe environment for its students to thrive. FCAT manages seven academies and three primary schools across the Fylde.

Sean Bullen, FCAT director of education said: “’Aspire is well known for its ‘golden’ teaching culture, where each hour is a ‘golden’ hour of learning. It is literally all about aspiring to shine in all that they do and all they achieve.

“The team at FCAT are pleased to support the construction of this building, which will enable year seven students to transition from primary to secondary education with ease. It will also help the school set its high expectations from the ‘golden’ starter gun!”

Businesses give Lytham Christmas event a boost

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Lytham Christmas has been given a helping hand from businesses across the Fylde.

 

It costs around £18,000 to stage the Lytham Christmas Lights Switch-On event and Booths, Stringers, Lytham Festival organisers Cuffe and Taylor, St Annes Beach Huts and Apartments, River Properties and Ribby Hall Village have all made substantial financial donations to help cover the costs, along with local Lytham restaurant Spago.

The financial help is a massive boost to the event which will take place on Saturday, November 20 from 1.45pm until 6pm.

The Lytham Christmas lights switch-on traditionally attracts thousands of people.

The Lytham Christmas lights switch-on traditionally attracts thousands of people.

Coun Blackshaw said: “We cannot thank our sponsors enough. They have made considerable financial donations and that really is a huge boost.”

The donations have been further boosted by a number of other businesses and individuals across Lytham.

Spago has sponsored the event and Christmas lights since 2010.

Proprietor Helen Vavoso said: “The switch-on event has become a firm fixture on the Lytham events calendar and is very popular with the locals.”

Comedian Steve Royle is switching on the lights this year

Comedian Steve Royle is switching on the lights this year

Damian Clarke, from Stringers, added: “It’s brilliant to see the town looking so festive. I think we’re all ready for a great Christmas!”

Stuart Robertson, from St Annes Beach Huts and Apartments, said: “I’ve been lucky enough to live in Lytham pretty much my whole life and it has been great to see it develop over the years.”

And John Gill, head of trading and marketing at Booths, added: “We are delighted to be a sponsor for Lytham Christmas Lights Switch On 2021.”

Britain’s Got Talent finalist Steve Royle will switch on the lights following an afternoon of entertainment in Clifton Square.

There will be performances from Lytham Community Choir, dance school Dance Etc, singers Scarlett Hackett, Mei Mei and Monroe, and local musicians and singer-songwriters Ike James, Daisy Atkinson and Edward Rhodes.

Party band 80s Rewind and Lytham’s very own The Coustics will perform following the switch-on and fireworks, which will take place between 4.30pm and 5.30pm.

Father Christmas will also lead a procession around Lytham setting off from the Assembly Rooms on Dicconson Terrace at 4pm.

Organisers of Lytham Christmas are appealing for the public’s help to raise £15,000 towards the switch-on event and to keep the lights shining until the end of January. To make a donation, visit https://gofund.me/7aea69d5

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.

 

 

Blackpool’s newest tea room offers art and brews next to noted tattoo studio

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A Blackpool tattoo studio couple who had designs on branching out have realised a dream and opened their own tea-room and art gallery.

 

Tea Amantes has opened on the ground floor beneath the The Inkden in Albert Road, offering speciality teas and refreshments. And customers can take in some local art too, as the cafe features a gallery.

Anna Paprzycka and Shamack Malachowski, who own the tattoo studio and who has organised tattoo conventions in Blackpool, brewed up the idea two years ago and launched the tea-room when space became available in their building.

Anna Paprzycka and Shamack Malachowski have opened Tea Amantes, a tea room and art gallery next to the Inkden Tattoo studio.

Anna Paprzycka and Shamack Malachowski have opened Tea Amantes, a tea room and art gallery next to the Inkden Tattoo studio.

Anna said: “I have always had a love of loose-leaf tea. We opened a tea shop online in 2018 selling special blends and accessories but it was always in our heads to open a tea-room and gallery.”

Shamack said: “I put on a tattoo art exhibition on North Pier in 2019 and wanted to do more. There was quite a bit of space downstairs to hang artwork so when it became available we just connected it all together.

“We will have monthly exhibitions. We are featuring work by our tattoo artists at the moment but we will also have local artists’ work and photographers.”

Anna said: “We have around 50 different flavours of tea at Tea Amantes but we also have speciality coffees too – some lovely ones from France and we will feature a coffee of the week.

Sarah Railton serves Harry Brack. On the walls are some of the art works for  Tea Amantes' first exhibition

Sarah Railton serves Harry Brack. On the walls are some of the art works for Tea Amantes’ first exhibition

“We have green tea, black tea, flower teas. We will be having tea experience events and tastings too.”

Shamack added that they had plans to develop the business further. He said: “We will have planters in the summer outside so it will be like a little garden with 20 seats outside.”

The couple plan to make full use of the cellars under the building and hope to put on art workshops there in the future.

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The new cafe has more than 50 specialist teas on offer as well as coffees and refreshments

The new cafe has more than 50 specialist teas on offer as well as coffees and refreshments

Anna Paprzycka and Shamack Malachowski have opened Tea Amantes, a tea room and art gallery next to the Inkden Tattoo studio. Pictured are David Cairns, Harry Brack, Sean Keogh, Holly Andrew with Anna and Shamack.

Anna Paprzycka and Shamack Malachowski have opened Tea Amantes, a tea room and art gallery next to the Inkden Tattoo studio. Pictured are David Cairns, Harry Brack, Sean Keogh, Holly Andrew with Anna and Shamack.

Blackpool children’s services Ofsted inspection due next year

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Blackpool’s children’s services is expected to have a full reinspection by Ofsted in autumn 2022.

 

The department was rated ‘inadequate’ in January 2019 following its last full inspection but has been working to improve the service since then.

Vicky Gent, who took over as the council’s director of children’s services in the summer, told a meeting of the audit committee one of the main challenges to further progress was retaining and recruiting social workers.

She said: “If we want to deliver a solid improvement plan, we need a solid workforce behind us.”

Town hall bosses are expecting an Ofsted inspection of children's services next year

Town hall bosses are expecting an Ofsted inspection of children’s services next year

Ms Gent said the workforce strategy had been updated and would focus on recruitment, retention of staff, the health and wellbeing of the staff and workforce development.

She added the leadership team was now fully staffed and work was ongoing to develop the management team.

One of the areas Ofsted would be looking at was the department’s ‘front door’, including the quality of referrals, how children are assessed and the service provided to them.

But Ms Gent said decision-making, especially around children ‘on the edge of care’ who had child protection plans had been much improved.

A report to the committee said: “Ofsted carried out a monitoring visit in September 2021 and is likely to undertake more monitoring visits before a full re-inspection of the service which is likely to take place in autumn 2022.”

The department has been under intense scrutiny since its ‘inadequate’ rating, when an inspection found evidence of children left living in ‘chronic neglect’.

It was the second time in six years the service had received an ‘inadequate’ rating.

An independent review later judged children’s social care should remain under council control but said assessments must continue.

However in March this year children’s commissioner Helen Lincoln ruled there was no need for further intervention on her part because over the previous 18 months the council had made changes to enable “substantial and lasting improvement”.

 

 

Blackpool skipper: Seasiders’ players and management team are humble

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Chris Maxwell is keeping his lips sealed about what Blackpool can realistically achieve in the Championship this season.

 

The newly-promoted Seasiders have proved the doubters wrong so far this term and have adjusted well to life back in the second tier.

After 17 games, Neil Critchley’s side – who make the trip to Swansea City this weekend – sit in 10th and just one point adrift of the play-offs.

Prior to last season’s promotion-winning campaign, Maxwell was happy to speak openly about Blackpool’s lofty ambitions.

Blackpool club captain Chris Maxwell

Blackpool club captain Chris Maxwell

On this occasion, Pool’s club captain is happy to let the Seasiders’ football do the talking for them.

“I did get asked the question at the start of the season and I wrote down where I think we should finish,” he told BBC Radio Lancashire.

“Hopefully I will be right again and we can achieve whatever we can achieve.

“As soon as we sit back and think we’re the finished article and take our foot off the gas, then we’ll get punished.

“We’ve got to recognise why we’re a good team and what has got us our success this season in terms of some of our results.

“As long as we keep referring back to them and keep implementing them, and keep listening to the manager during the week, we will be fine.

“It all comes down to how humble he is, but also we have a dressing room full of players that are humble.

“We’re a hard-working group, we’ve got a real core set of values among the group and we’re desperate to win, desperate to learn and that’s the recipe for success.”

Maxwell, who may return from injury this weekend, is under no illusion as to the main reason for their success.

He said: “The manager is a very genuine, nice guy. He cares about the team more than himself.

“He describes the game to us in a different way with new philosophies and different ways of doing things, which is completely different to what me and the other experienced players have had throughout our careers.

“When you’ve got a manager like that with his personality, and the same goes for his staff as well, you trust him and trust is massive in football.

“There are a lot of people that have their own agendas and only look after themselves, but I can honestly say everyone associated with this club is in it for the team and in it for the club.

“We’re a team and if a certain way of playing or a certain opposition means we put different personnel on the pitch, we do it and it works.

“The manager gets it right every time and we as a group trust him. If it’s your turn to sit out a game and someone else comes in that has different traits, they perform and help the team get a win, then we’re all celebrating together.

“There’s not one player here that sulks if they’re left out of the team. Of course we’re not happy if we don’t play, but it comes back to that trust we have in the manager.”