Category Archives: Blackpool Businesses

Council refuses alcohol licence for European-style food store in Blackpool

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Licensing chiefs have refused permission for alcohol to be sold at a proposed new food store in Blackpool town centre after police warned it could fuel more anti-social behaviour.

 

Food Plus is set to open in the former Bright House premises

Food Plus is set to open in the former Bright House premises

A town hall licensing panel has turned down the application by Radoslaw Barwinski who wanted a licence for Polish chain Food Plus@Polon, which he is planning to open in the empty former Bright House premises on Abingdon Street.

The police and council licensing department had objected to the application for a licence to sell alcohol between 8am and 8pm, saying it contravened the council’s saturation policy designed to control the number of licences granted in the town centre.

A decision notice published following the hearing says: “Members acknowledged the number of conditions offered by the applicant but did not feel that they sufficiently addressed the policy to rebut the presumption of refusal in an area already saturated with convenience store type premises which suffered from alcohol related violence and anti-social behaviour.

“In addition, the panel felt that insufficient information had been provided about the applicant and his experience in operating a premises licensed for the sale of alcohol.

“In the absence of such evidence the panel concluded that they would have issues managing a retail premises within such a challenging environment and therefore potentially contribute to the problems being experienced in the area.”

Mr Barwinski had told the panel he proposed to sell specialist products such as cake, bread and vegetables, but also needed an alcohol licence “because without it my shop will not survive.”

But PC Guy Harrison, of Blackpool Police, warned the area already attracted drinkers who caused anti-social behaviour due to the existing number of places to buy booze.

He said this led to anti-social behaviour including during the day when the resort was busy with shoppers and holidaymakers.

The applicant has 21 days in which to appeal.

 

Blackpool cabbie punished by council for smoking in their own taxi

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A Blackpool cabbie has had their licence suspended after being caught smoking in their taxi.

 

The driver, who has not been named, was spotted lighting up on June 10 this year by a town hall licensing officer.

Members of the council’s public protection sub-committee heard it was the third time the cabbie had been seen smoking in their hackney cab and previous warnings had gone unheeded.

The previous transgressions had been in September 2019 when a fixed penalty notice was issued, and July 2020 when a verbal warning was given.

A Hackney driver has been punished for smoking in their cabA Hackney driver has been punished for smoking in their cab

But following the latest incident, the driver (referred to as J.S.) was hauled before the sub-committee which ruled their licence should be suspended for four weeks.

Council minutes from the meeting, setting out the decision, say “despite the previous interventions by the licensing service this had not deterred J.S. from continuing to smoke in their vehicle”.

The driver had “expressed their regret and acknowledged that such actions were unacceptable” and told councillors “they did not smoke in front of customers”.

The smoking incidents had been their only indiscretion in more than 30 years of driving.

But the sub-committee “expressed concerns over the number of occasions J.S. had been caught smoking in their licensed vehicle and noted that previous warnings from the licensing service had not been heeded.

“Whilst the remorse of the driver was noted, members considered the behaviour fell well below the standards expected of a licensed driver and therefore agreed to impose a four week suspension.”

 

Update on Blackpool’s £20m Houndshill Centre extension

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Blackpool’s Tower Street car park looks set to close at the end of August to enable construction of the £20m Houndshill extension.

 

Artist's impression of the Houndshill extension

Artist’s impression of the Houndshill extension

Council regeneration chiefs say enabling work on the project which was announced in the spring, has begun.

A spokesperson said: “Essential utility works have been taking place on site which has enabled the car park to remain partially open to date.

“We won’t be closing the car park in full until absolutely necessary, when the main contractor fences off the site later in August.”

Deals were signed in the spring to bring a new Wilko store to the site, and an IMAX-style cinema and multi-media entertainment centre.

The phase two extension is also due to include two restaurants, although operators have not yet been revealed.

The cinema will boast 850 seats across nine digital screens including a giant PLF (Premium Large Screen Format) IMAX-ready central screen, set to be the largest in the North West, within a 40,500 sq ft unit.

Screens will be able to double up as conference venue spaces, and there will also be an e-sports cafe.

The overall scheme has been facilitated by £5m of funding from the Government’s Covid 19 Getting Building Fund, following formal approval by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) in October last year.

Blackpool Council will fund the balance of the scheme through prudential borrowing.

 

Blackpool’s spooky ghosts walks are back

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One of Blackpool’s most distinctive attractions has made a return following an absence caused by the pandemic lockdowns.

 

Stephen Mercer's Blackpool Ghost Walks have returned

Stephen Mercer’s Blackpool Ghost Walks have returned

Stephen Mercer has been running the Blackpool Ghost Walks for the past 11 years but admits things have been tough during the past 16 months.

With his black top hat and Victorian attire, he leads guided groups to some of the resort’s oldest buildings, recounting ghostly stories associated with each of them.

Stephen returned via his business, award-winning Supernatural Events, last week and will be leading the tours every Thursday and Saturday night up until Halloween.

“Not being able to do the ghost walks for 12 out of the last 16 months has been horrendous – I was able to do one or two things online but it wasn’t the same.

“Sadly the tenth anniversary celebrations and tours didn’t really happen last year; but I’m pleased to say the tours are back bigger and better than ever before for 2021.

“There will be two completely different Blackpool Ghost Walks every week, Thursday Thrills and Saturday Scares; each has its own separate route, locations and tales.”

This year the Blackpool Ghost Walks will feature some new stories along with a few old favourites.

As the finale to the outside walking tours, those attending will be invited to join a spooky ‘Victorian Séance’ experience in a first storey room in what used to be the Stanley Arms Hotel but is now known as The Brew Room, on Church Street.

Robert Wynne, owner of The Brew Room said: “Since reopening this old Victorian Pub we have all noticed spirits of all kind in the building. The upper floors are particularly well preserved and particularly spooky! We look forward to welcoming all those brave souls who go on the Blackpool Ghost Walks back again this year.”

The tours start at 7pm from the Tourist Information Centre, Festival House on The Promenade, next to The Beach House.

For further details and information on tickets and prices, visit www.BlackpoolGhostWalks.co.uk.

 

Blackpool millionaire aims to inspire Fylde coast’s young people with new mentorship programme in schools

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A Blackpool born millionaire has launched a mentorship style programme designed to help some of the most underprivileged children in Blackpool get ahead in the world of business.

 

Lucas Hunter, who went to St Mary’s High School, is a self-made millionaire who owns a national firm of solicitors Hunter Lawyers and an investment company Hunter Real Estate Group.

He has six offices with 12 directly employed staff and a team of around 50, including; consultants, barristers and solicitors.

He said he wanted to let children on the coast have the chance to follow in his footsteps and get to understand about the world of work.

Fleetwood High School is the first to roll out a business mentoring programme from Lucas Hunter of Hunter Lawyers supported by the Headteacher Mr Barnes (pictured right) and deputy Headteacher Mr Grant (pictured left) with programme director Rebecca Garcia.Fleetwood High School is the first to roll out a business mentoring programme from Lucas Hunter of Hunter Lawyers supported by the Headteacher Mr Barnes (pictured right) and deputy Headteacher Mr Grant (pictured left) with programme director Rebecca Garcia.

The mentorship style programme is designed to provide training and real-world business skills to children aged 14-16.

As part of the programme, children will be paired with local business leaders who will provide work experiences guidance and support.

Programme director, Rebecca Garcia said “I am pleased to be able to help provide deserving children opportunities.

“As a teacher myself, I know how much programmes like this can change a child’s life.”

Lucas Hunter said: “I grew up in circumstances not dissimilar to many of these children and I am fully aware that my life could have turned out very different.

Hunter Lawyers is of course, going to be part of the programme as well as my real estate company, Hunter Real Estate Group a large residential and commercial property company.

“We also have a number of different businesses that will become part of the programme and will actively recruit them as the programme progresses.

“I would encourage local business leaders to sign up for this programme and see a real difference being made in their community. We pair selected students with business leaders who will provide them with help such as work experience, advice and coaching.”

Fleetwood High School is the first school on the Fylde coast to roll out the scheme supported by the Headteacher Mr Barnes and deputy Headteacher Mr Grant.

 

Alcohol licence battle for Blackpool Food Plus store described as on ‘par with Aldi and Lidl’

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A European style foodstore planned for Blackpool town centre will not survive without an alcohol licence, a town hall hearing was told.

 

Radoslaw Barwinski wants to open a branch of the Polish chain Food Plus@Polon in the empty former Bright House premises on Abingdon Street.

A town hall licensing panel heard an alcohol licence was vital if the business – which was likened to Aldi and Lidl – was to succeed.

Licensing consultant June Clarke, representing Mr Barwinski, said: “The store is what they refer to as high end, it’s on a very similar par to Aldis and Lidls in its style, layout, food products and standards.”

The former Bright House store earmarked to become Food PlusThe former Bright House store earmarked to become Food Plus

She added: “Just like Aldi, Lidl, Asda, Co-op, Sainsbury’s and Tesco it needs the benefit of an alcohol licence to secure survival.”

Mr Barwinski told the panel made up of councillors: “We want to sell specialist products such as cake, bread and vegetables but we really need an alcohol licence because without it my shop will not survive.”

Mrs Clarke, said the shop which is due to open in two weeks time, would store all alcohol behind the counter, not sell single cans and stock specialist foreign beers.

But the police and council licensing department objected to the application for a licence to sell alcohol between 8am and 8pm, saying it contravened the council’s saturation policy designed to control the number of licences granted in the town centre.

PC Guy Harrison, of Blackpool Police, warned the area already attracted drinkers who caused anti-social behaviour due to the existing number of places to buy booze.

He told the hearing, held online: “It’s about the fact Blackpool, and this part of the town centre, has a preponderance of street drinkers and alcohol related problems.”

He said this led to anti-social behaviour including during the day when the resort was busy with shoppers and holidaymakers.

Lee Petrak, licensing and trading standards manager at the council, said the location was “metres away from similar licensed premises” including the Co-op, News and Booze and Home Bargains.

He added: “The decision for the panel is, do we want another one?”

The panel is expected to publish its decision next week (from July 26).

 

Blackpool man’s healthy food business aims to create a buzz with vegan version of honey

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A Blackpool man with a background in health and fitness has launched a healthy foods company which has produced its own vegan version of honey.

 

Jack Berry, which has premises at the Sycamore Trading Estate in Blackpool offers a range of healthy Gluten-Free, Organic and Vegan Flours and other food products.

It was founded by registered nurse and former personal trainer Jack Bieniek who said his background inspired an interest in healthy food and diets.

Jack said: “While researching health and medical information for my nursing career, I discovered lots of interesting facts associated with the diet of our ancestors and the diet and lifestyle of the present day.

Jack Bieniek whose firm Jack Berry has launched No Bee Vegan HoneeJack Bieniek whose firm Jack Berry has launched No Bee Vegan Honee

“I came up with the slogan: Let’s get back to basics – such as home cooking and baking, eating more raw foods and sourcing additive and preservative free quality food products.

“During the past few years I have been researching the health benefits of speciality flours, traditional flours, ancient grain flours and the impact of using them in our diets.

“We have developed a gluten free range of flours and bread mixes, aimed specifically at customers who require a GF option such as Coeliacs. Now we have local suppliers, bakers and more people joining ‘our family’.

Jack Berry's No Bee Vegan Honee

Jack Berry’s No Bee Vegan Honee

“Our products are verified or certified by different regulatory bodies. I, personally, visit the farms where the goods originate from to maintain the highest quality of the raw ingredients and ensure that our code of ethics is not compromised.”

The firm, as well as selling regular natural honey, has developed ,No Bee Vegan Honee a honey-like alternative for vegans who do not agree with the exploitation of bees and the potential damage to hives which may occur with some unethical producers or unethical, commercial practices.

He said: “It gives vegans an alternative to bee honey, it resembles the taste, scent, and liquidity of regular honey without compromising the bee population.”

“Our raw natural honeys originate from secluded mountainous regions, which, ensures the quality and purity of the pollen collected. The beekeepers are involved in replanting and preservation schemes and the regions are not over-farmed or industrialised.

 

Delight as Abingdon Street Market finally reopens in Blackpool at its new town centre location

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We’re back! That’s the message from Blackpool’s market traders who are up and running again after being dislodged from Abingdon Street Market.

 

Stallholders whose goods range from hosiery to handbags, clothes to cosmetics have been found a temporary new home by the council in the former Top Shop unit on Victoria Street.

Abingdon Street Market traders up and running in their new home

They expect to be there until at least next spring while a £3.6m renovation of the market building is carried out.

Customers have been welcomed back

Customers have been welcomed back

While there is frustration the relocation was held up by more than three months due to delays caused by the negotiation of the lease, businesses are glad to be welcoming customers again.

Tony Townsend, of The Book Shack which has been in the market for 14 years, said: “We have missed our customers and a lot are saying they are pleased to see us back.

“We have already had a good response on our first morning, and it’s a great location.”

Most traders have got less space than before, with the Gill family, who sell clothes, shoes and bags, having to squeeze four stalls into one.
Tony Townsend at The Book Shack
Tony Townsend at The Book Shack

Adi Gill said: “It’s been a hard time because for my parents, whose stalls they are, as it is their livelihood.

“But we’re grateful for the help we have had, particularly from Andrew Ferguson and Debs Lancelott, and our customers have been very supportive.”

Bernard Power, of Mr Smart Menswear, has had to go down from 100ft of space to around 40ft, but said: “It’s good to be back and we’re still able to have plenty of stock on display.”

Stallholders have missed out on months of trade due to lockdown and then being unable to re-open when restrictions for shops ended on April 12, but they hope the new location will give them a boost.

The market traders have relocated to temporary premises on Victoria Street

The market traders have relocated to temporary premises on Victoria Street

David Greaves, of The Bag Store, said: “I think people who knew us in Abingdon Street Market will come back, and we’ll also get new customers from being in this location.”

But it’s not just their livelihoods, the traders have also missed working side by side and are pleased to be reunited – while some stalls are part of Blackpool’s heritage.

Cassie Scanlan, of Cassandra’s Hosiery, said: “This hosiery stall has been in Abingdon Street Market since just after the war so it’s part of the town’s history.

“It’s nice we are all together here as the market is like a little family.”

Pamela Hoyle and Val Cella are delighted to be back, working on stalls side by side selling cosmetics, perfumes and hair products and chatting with their customers.

Val said: “It’s been hard work getting everything ready, and we had to put our own shelves in to display everything, but it’s been worth it.”

Pamela added: “It’s brilliant – and I’m just glad to be out of the house and looking forward to seeing all the familiar faces.”

Customers like Angela Lawriw from St Annes have also missed the market.

She said: “The market is something different in the town centre, and you get really friendly service.

“I can also appreciate the hardship any business which has had to close has been through in this environment, so it’s great to see them back.”

The market will be open six days a week, and closed on Tuesdays.

Thirteen stalls have moved into the former Top Shop unit, while another five have been found alternative sites in council properties in the town centre and other traders have found new premises privately.

The council bought the market last year after receiving a £3.6m grant from the government’s Getting Building Fund.

 

It’s party time in Blackpool as mum and daughter launch their events business

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A Bispham mum and daughter are hoping to help get everyone’s party started after teaming up with an events supply business.

 

Beverley Forbes and daughter Shania, 20, have taken over Platinum Parties with a plan to glitz up events all across the North West.

They held an outdoor launch event this month for the business and have had a host of contacts on social media since showing interest.

Beverley said: “We have all sorts of things to make a party on any type go with a swing, everything from popcorn machines and wishing wells, illuminated letters to form words such as Love and Mr and Mrs for weddings, to pic and mix stands and prosecco walls!

Beverley and Shania Forbes who run Platinum Parties in Bispham, BlackpoolBeverley and Shania Forbes who run Platinum Parties in Bispham, Blackpool

“Shania has her own business, Shania’s Cakes and Bakes and I worked in the kitchen at Anchorsholme school. She was the one who said this would make a fantastic business for us both and when the opportunity came up in June we just went for it. Sometimes you just have to when the opportunity arises no matter what the economic conditions.

“The launch party went really well, with entertainers and refreshments and we had 65 people visit our site straight afterwards. We want to get the business established and then grow. We are already looking to bring in new items such as photo booths to expand the range.

“It is the right time for this sort of business, now as we hopefully come out of all the coronavirus restrictions. People have had a tough time and we want to bring a little bit of glitter, a little bit extra to any event they have coming up.

“People want to let their hair down and celebrate a bit now, and with numbers at weddings having increased this is the ideal time to make those events a bit more special. We are here to add a bit of the wow factor.

Shania Forbes with some of the items Platinum Parties supplies for the full range of eventsShania Forbes with some of the items Platinum Parties supplies for the full range of events