Category Archives: Blackpool Tourism

Nappies, needles and “human poo” among “disgusting” rubbish left at Lancashire beaches during heatwave weekend

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

“The worst one with BBQs is when we had a young child hurt yesterday by someone who left a BBQ under the sand and their feet were badly burnt”

 

Plastic bottles, toys and towels left behind after a busy weekend at Blackpool beach
Plastic bottles, toys and towels left behind after a busy weekend at Blackpool beach

Lancashire beaches have been strewn with ‘dangerous’ and ‘disgusting’ litter this weekend, with reports of needles, poo and a burning BBQ left in the sand.

Over the hottest weekend of the year, beaches like Blackpool beach and Lytham St Annes were full with people basking in the sun and families enjoying days out.

The reality of what seemed like a nice day sank in once holidaymakers left their spots on the hot sand, leaving behind unpleasant traces of where they had been.

Litter strewn across the sand, washed up by the tide and left scattered around bins was seen after the busy weekend.

Groups of litter pickers set out with their bags and tools to pick up after others.

One volunteer, Toto Jackson had been litter picking from the aftermath of the weekend in between Blackpool beach and Lytham St. Anne’s where he says he found a range of dangerous items discarded.

Toto said: “What people leave on the beach is disgusting.

“There’s nappies, wipes, human and dog poo, cans, glass and plastic.”

Bags of litter collected from one patch of Blackpool and St Anne's beach
Bags of litter collected from one patch of Blackpool and St Anne’s beach

Whilst on his patch, Toto has seen a number of cars parked along the beach which he says leads to even more littering.

As well as glass and plastic, Toto says he has seen BBQ’s that are still hot buried in the sand causing a huge danger to anyone who might pick it up or even accidentally walk over it.

“The worst one with BBQs is when we had a young child hurt yesterday (July 18) by someone who left a BBQ under the sand and their feet were badly burnt.”

Needles have also been collected from the beach.

Needles found along sand in between Blackpool Beach and Lytham St Anne's
Needles found along sand in between Blackpool Beach and Lytham St Anne’s

Another volunteer, Steven King, went along to the central and North pier in Blackpool where he was shocked by the amount of discarded food waste, plastics and glass.

Steven said: “Over the weekend there was so much rubbish left.

“It was disgusting what people left from towels, bucket & spades, general rubbish, baby wipes, take away packaging.

“I collected 10 or 11 bin bags full from 4pm to 10pm.”

Buckets and spades left behind on the beach over the hottest weekend of the year
Buckets and spades left behind on the beach over the hottest weekend of the year

One thing Steven noticed during his time on the beach was the amount of nappies left behind on the sand.

He said: “On Saturday in the space of about 6 hours between the lifeboat station and central pier I picked up about 20 nappies.

“It’s a shame because the beach is lovely and some can’t be bothered to bin their stuff.”

Blackpool council spokesperson said: “Littering doesn’t just spoil the wonderful views of our coastline – it also has a serious impact on the environment and the wildlife that inhabit it.

“We all have a role to play in order to ensure that Blackpool remains tidy.

“With over 250 bins positioned along the Promenade, there is no excuse for people leaving litter behind on our fantastic beaches and in the town.

“Even during unprecedented times, our dedicated teams, alongside a community of volunteers, continue to play an active part in ensuring that the whole town continues to remain clean.

“The council also works alongside local businesses to support the Keep Blackpool Tidy campaign, to encourage the safe disposal of litter and promote recycling.”

 

Decision will speed up £300m Blackpool Central leisure development

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Another step towards the £300m Blackpool Central leisure development has been taken after councillors agreed further powers to enable land to be used for the first phase.

 

The executive has approved a recommendation to appropriate for planning purposes a parcel of land to the rear of the former King Edward Apartments within the Blackpool Central Site on Central Car Park.

Plans submitted for £300m new Blackpool leisure destination

The land is needed to create a safe working space around the site earmarked for a new multi storey car park as part of the enabling phase of the scheme.

Artist's impression of Blackpool CentralArtist’s impression of Blackpool Central

It is proposed to build the car park closer to the former King Edward Apartments than previously anticipated.

Alan Cavill, director of communications and regeneration at the council, told a meeting of the executive: “This is a process we need to put in place to ensure no delay to the project commencing and so we can get this fantastic project underway.

“We already own the land but people have rights of access and we need to remove those, but it doesn’t take away their rights without compensation.

“When discussing it with the developer, they would like this to be enacted more quickly. The land sits right next to where the car park would be and is needed during construction.”

A hybrid planning application for the scheme was submitted by developers Nikal Ltd and Media Invest Entertainment last month.

It is seeking full permission for the multi storey car park and to convert properties on Central Drive into a heritage zone, and outline permission for the rest of the development which will include leisure areas, retail and hotels.

 

The 1950s Blackpool crazy golf course in seafront sunken gardens which has been brought back to life

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

The Princess Parade Crazy Golf Course is located in the seafront sunken gardens near Blackpool North Pier

The Princess Parade Crazy Golf Course in Blackpool has been re-vamped for golfers to test out their putting skills

The Princess Parade Crazy Golf Course in Blackpool has been re-vamped for golfers to test out their putting skills (Image: Art B&B, Blackpool)

The public are being invited to “test out their putting skills” on a derelict crazy golf course that has been brought back to life.

The Princess Parade Crazy Golf Course, located in the seafront sunken gardens near Blackpool North Pier, has been lovingly restored by hardworking community volunteers and given an injection of cash by the National Lottery Community Fund.

Now the tourism arm of Blackpool Council, I Love Blackpool, is inviting people to play a round or two with the profits going to Blackpool and Fylde Street Angels.

The charitable organisation runs a weekly outreach service for the homeless and provides an emergency night shelter.

The prices for Princess Parade Crazy Golf Course with profits going to Blackpool and Fylde Street Angels

The prices for Princess Parade Crazy Golf Course with profits going to Blackpool and Fylde Street Angels (Image: Art B&B, Blackpool)

Its volunteers prepared and restored its features over the last two years allowing the historic site to re-open.

The revamp was made possible with the help of a grant from the National Lottery Community Fund through the Blackpool Fulfilling Lives program.

Blackpool is one of 12 areas in England receiving Big Lottery funding to support people with multiple disadvantages as part of the national program.

This includes helping local people with a combination of issues such as homelessness, re-offending, problematic substance misuse, and mental ill health.

The course is just over the road from Art B&B Bar on the Promenade where visitors can also read about the history of Princess Parade and the sunken gardens dating back to 1776.

Blackpool and Fylde Street Angels will continue to maintain and manage the site.

Prices start at £3.00 per child going up to £5.00 per adult and £10.. for a family ticket.

To find out more, please visit Princess Parade Crazy Golf Course Facebook group here.

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

Home | Blackpool Gazette

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fleetwood hosting three-day arts festival at the end of week

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Fleetwood is playing host to an eye-catching outdoor arts festival this weekend – and residents from the town have had an input in the event

How the In Memoriam display will look

How the In Memoriam display will look

Transported is taking place in the Marine Gardens and runs from Friday until Sunday, at 11am to 4pm daily.

It is being organised by LeftCoast in partnership with the SpareParts Festival, which usually runs in tandem with the Fleetwood Festival of Transport.

However, when the latter (also known as Tram Sunday) was cancelled this year, the team came up with an alternative.

This temporary memorial offers the public a space to visit and remember those lost to the COVID-19 crisis.

The artwork is also intended as a tribute to the NHS staff who have worked tirelessly throughout the past year.

It is a space for reflection and future intentions.

Created from over 100 hospital bedsheets flown from flag posts, the installation will be arranged for people to wander through it at different times of the day.

The striking visual of “In Memoriam” will be complimented by a soundscape from artist Anthony Davey who has been commissioned to create an audio artwork to be played across the weekend.

Broadcasted from The Mount, the soundscape will feature conversations, stories, quotes and songs from Fleetwood residents.

Visitors are invited to sit and listen to this whilst taking in the overview of the installation at the Marine Hall Gardens.

Local residents are also invited to contribute further to the weekend’s activities through Flag Up, a participation project which allows the people of Fleetwood to

share their reflections from the past year.

Currently, SpareParts and LeftCoast are collecting people’s contributions to this project at four sites across town.

These sites are Fleetwood Market, Fleetwood Library, Healthier Fleetwood (Affinity Centre) and the Inside Out Exhibition (Old Fleetwood Hospital).

Jodie Gibson, Artistic Director of SpareParts Festival says, “Following so much isolation, Transported creates a collective event and opportunity for people to gather safely together, whilst giving time and space for people to reflect upon the diverse experiences within the community.”

Man jumps 400ft off crane in Blackpool on back of a blow-up unicorn

Blackpool AirGamez are coming to a close today but there have been some spectacular sights

 

Not something you see every day at Blackpool beach
Not something you see every day at Blackpool beach (Image: Bpl Bible/LancsLive)

Blackpool’s AirgameZ are in their final day, with hundreds of daredevils turning out to launch themselves off a 400ft crane with nothing but a parachute.

Widely considered to be the most dangerous extreme sport in the world, the basejumping event in Blackpool is the only UK competition of its kind.

Taking place on Blackpool Promenade from Friday (July 2) to today (July 4), the giant crane has been addition to the resort’s already fascinating skyline.

The crane, which is erected for the competition, is almost twice the height of the infamous Big One rollercoaster which stands at 235ft.

Each jumper taking part has used their skills and experience to land on a target placed on the beach, all competing to be AirgameZ Champion 2021.

But one in particular stood out over the course of the 48 hours.

Blackpool AirgameZ this weekend
Blackpool AirgameZ this weekend (Image: Bpl Bible/LancsLive)

Amid the head first jumps and the tandem jumps, one brave individual decided to take their flight on the back of a unicorn.

Majestically hurling themselves off the platform on the inflatable, the free faller deployed their parachute and managed to land, still sat on the float.

We know who our winner is.

The event is organised by Blackpool-based Julian Deplidge, 40, who has come second in the World Base Jumping Championships in Spain.

Julian had made over 1,000 jumps across 36 countries including Ukraine, Beirut, America, France, Spain, China and Finland in some of the most picturesque locations on earth.

One of the jumpers at Blackpool AirgameZ takes a head first dive
One of the jumpers at Blackpool AirgameZ takes a head first dive (Image: Bpl Bible/ LancsLive)

Blackpool, he states however, is one of the best locations in the world to hold the extreme event – but as the organiser he has not competed in AirgameZ himself.

He told LancsLive: “I’m local to the area which obviously makes things easier in terms of organising however there’s a lot more cost to stage the event in Blackpool.

“It actually costs us around £8000 more to have it here as opposed to a field somewhere in another city which it may be cheaper.

“Blackpool has beautiful headlands however that are perhaps underused and I think in terms of events and attractions there’s a lot of reliance on the Pleasure Beach and the Tower, so it’s great to use the beach itself.

An amazing sight to behold on Blackpool beach
An amazing sight to behold on Blackpool beach (Image: Bpl Bible/LancsLive)

“There’s nice soft sand to land on and plenty of places for people to watch from. You can see the crane from around 20 miles away and it looks spectacular as it towers above the Big One.

“”It’s not quite as big as Blackpool Tower but perhaps one day the council will let us jump off there! Visit Blackpool and the council have been really supportive along with a local company called KRS (Knight Ringing Services) and NMT cranes.”

This year is a little less competitive than other AirgameZ competitions due to travel restrictions on competitors coming in however jumpers will still be assessed on the quality of their falls.

Having an incredibly small window, the daredevils have one and a half seconds to deploy their parachute before the ground ensuring they’re not too early and not too late.

Points are also deducted for too much flailing and accuracy for falling within the five meter marker on the ground is rewarded.

 

How Blackpool could look in 2030 with exciting projects on horizon

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

Blackpool is set to change dramatically by the time the £300m rated Blackpool Central entertainment complex opens its doors to the public

 

An artist's impression of Blackpool Central's 'heritage quarter'
An artist’s impression of Blackpool Central’s ‘heritage quarter’

By the end of the decade, Blackpool should be home to an extra £75million of annual spend and 1,000 new jobs thanks to the town’s looming £300million rated entertainment complex.

Dubbed Blackpool Central, the attraction is estimated to bring an extra 600,000 people to the seaside resort every single year.

Nikal Ltd and Media Invest Entertainment are behind the plans, working closely with Blackpool Council to make their ambitions a reality.

With a completion date of 2030 on the cards, the complex is expected to be home to major live events, a hotel, restaurants, leisure facilities, hospitality venues, and three entertainment centres.

“We have taken a major step towards creating one of the UK’s most exciting destinations with this application submission,” Norbert Reichart, chief executive of Media Invest Entertainment, said.

“The scheme has a crucial role to play in enhancing Blackpool’s tourism offer and attracting more visitors to the town, and we have been spurred on by the strong show of support for our plans.

“The consultation has also given us lots of food for thought for how we shape the future phases of Blackpool Central and maximise its pulling power.”

Lynn Williams, Blackpool Council leader, said the complex is “vitally important” to creating new jobs and boosting town tourism and the local economy.

But how might Blackpool look by the time the complex is built?

We’re still nine years away from seeing Blackpool Central in all its true glory – and it certainly isn’t the only thing planned for the town in that time.

With that in mind, LancsLive has looked at the many ways Blackpool is set to change up until 2030. The list is not exhaustive but merely an indication of what we can expect:

Less congestion

Work has started on the new M55 Heyhouses Link Road
Work has started on the new M55 Heyhouses Link Road (Image: Tim Bradley Photography / Lancashire County Council)

It is hoped a new £27million M55 link road to Lytham St Annes will see less traffic backing up as people head into Blackpool.

Dubbed the M55 Heyshoues Link Road, it is expected to be open to traffic in early 2024.

Lancashire County Council says it will relieve congestion on smaller roads on the Fylde coast and promote business and housing in the area.

County Councillor Charlie Edwards, Lancashire County Council cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “I know that residents and businesses have been anticipating this moment for many years, and I’m very pleased to be able to say that we’re getting on with delivering those better journey times and reduced congestion which the link road will bring.

Kristian Marsh, Highways England’s route manager for the M55, said the link road will “see a reduction in congestion locally, improve access and provide better facilities for pedestrians and cyclists”.

As well as this, the Preston Western Distributor will open in 2023 linking the M55 with southern Fylde and Preston in a move that will free up roads around Blackpool and the Fylde coast.

Talbot Gateway masterplan

What the Holiday Inn as part of the Talbot Gateway masterplan is set to look like
What the Holiday Inn as part of the Talbot Gateway masterplan is set to look like (Image: Blackpool Council)

Blackpool said goodbye to Wilkos and its neighbouring car park in September 2020 as part of the ongoing Talbot Gateway masterplan.

With demolition work complete, June 2021 saw steel framework erected for a new 4 star Holiday Inn on the same site.

A Marco Pierre White restaurant is also set for the same location with a modern underpass under construction linking to Blackpool North railway station.

The restaurant – run by Black and White Hospitality – will be Marco’s New York Italian, reflecting the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple as well as Marco’s passion for classic, simple, authentic food.

Nick Taplin, Chairman and CEO of Black and White Hospitality said: “This New York Italian is perfect for Blackpool.

“It represents friendly, casual dining and will give locals and visitors a great new place to go out and eat. It’s not pretentious, it’s just good food, served in a great environment.”

From Monday, July 5 High Street will be closed for 26 weeks to allow the underpass works to be carried out.

The site is set to be finished by the summer of 2022.

Andrew Robb, Chief Business Development Officer at hotel management company RBH, said: “It has been great to work with the team at Blackpool Council over the past few years, seeing first-hand the passion and dedication they have for their town.

“As the flagship commercial development for Blackpool, Holiday Inn will form the centrepiece of the Talbot Gateway development’s second phase, transforming an important gateway to the town.

“We are delighted to be working with our partners at IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) on this project and can’t wait to get started.”

A better looking town centre

A revamped Samaritans in Topping Street, Blackpool
A revamped Samaritans in Topping Street, Blackpool (Image: Blackpool Council)

Blackpool Council has already been giving shops in the town a facelift through its Quality Corridors project.

A total of £7.84m has been set aside to make the town’s shop fronts look more appealing.

So far, Church Street, Talbot Road, Dickson Road, Cookson Street and Bispham Village have all been visited.

Tree planting, public art, fresh street furniture and resurfacing footpaths and roads have also been included in the scheme.

The work is set to finish in 2021, meaning the impact should already have been seen in many areas of the town.

Levelling Up Fund

View of Blackpool including Winter Gardens and Houndshill Shopping Centre
View of Blackpool including Winter Gardens and Houndshill Shopping Centre (Image: Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)

Blackpool Council has bid for £20million from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund.

If successful, money would be spent on investment including in the Winter Gardens and former Abingdon Street Post Office.

The money would also go towards easing congestion and improving the public realm between the Winter Gardens, the Houndshill extension and Blackpool Central.

Blackpool South MP Scott Benton has welcomed the bid but called for areas outside of the town centre to also be included in the spending.

“As far as I’m concerned, the obvious place in need of capital spending on regeneration is South Shore, and specifically Bond Street/Waterloo Road,” Mr Benton said.

“I live not far from this area and regularly use the shops and facilities there.

“The decline in the area over many decades has been noticeable and it’s in urgent need of investment.”

Higher costs for those without electric cars

An electric car being charged
An electric car being charged

Plans are in place to create an ultra-low emissions zone in Blackpool town centre.

The Blackpool Climate Assembly is calling on Blackpool Council to bring this in by 2027; and in doing so charge vehicles that aren’t electric for access.

Coun Gary Coleman said it is a “very difficult balancing act” with the council hesitant to “put people off by them thinking Blackpool’s got this charge now so I’m not going to go to Blackpool”.

Scott Butterfield, strategy policy and research manager at the council, has said such zones will work in some places in Blackpool but that further investigation is needed before any plans can be brought in.

North West’s largest IMAX screen

A CGI of a multi-functional auditorium
A CGI of a multi-functional auditorium

A unique multimedia IMAX cinema is being built in the Houndshill Shopping Centre as part of a new entertainment centre with eight other cinema screens and conference rooms.

A total of 850 seats will be available at the venue.

The work at the Tower Street site is due to be completed by Spring 2022 and is set to create 30 full time jobs.

The IMAX screen will be the largest in the North West, with council leader Lynn Williams confidence the site can be a success.

“We are delighted that all parties are now on board and we can move forward to an early start onsite date, bringing new jobs and opportunities,” she said.

Ticketless buses
Blackpool's sole surviving No. 346 last carried passengers in 1974
Blackpool’s sole surviving No. 346 last carried passengers in 1974 (Image: Fylde Transport Trust)

A £550,000 loan has been granted to Blackpool Transport from the council to help fund a new contactless ticketing system.

The technology has been fitted on all Blackpool Transport’s fleet of around 115 buses with plans to install it on the trams this summer.

There is also a ‘Tap & Go’ facility, similar to London’s Oyster card, whereby people tap their card or contactless device when boarding, tap with the same device when exiting, and they will be automatically charged the correct fare for their journey.

Flooding

Climate Central forecasts for Lancashire by 2050
Climate Central forecasts for Lancashire by 2050

Rising sea levels are set to cause huge damage to Blackpool and the wider Fylde coast.

Rising temperatures are causing loss of sea ice, rising sea levels, longer and more intense heat waves, and shifts in plant and animal habitats

Climate Central, a non-profit news organisation focused on climate science, has revealed the severity of this threat locally.

By 2050, areas of Blackpool, Lytham, Fleetwood and Morecambe could be underwater, with damage expected to be seen by 2030.

Most of the area south of Central Pier could be lost by 2050 including Pleasure Beach and Blackpool Airport.

Inland areas including Common Edge, South Shore, Little Marton, Marton Fold and Squires Gate would also be impact along with parts of Blackpool & Fylde Industrial Estate, Blackpool Zoo and Marton Mere Local Nature Reserve.

Blackpool’s first museum

Stan Laurel bowler hat signed to Cyril Critchlow in 1947 courtesy of the Blackpool Museum Trust
Stan Laurel bowler hat signed to Cyril Critchlow in 1947 courtesy of the Blackpool Museum Trust (Image: Blackpool Museum Trust)

Blackpool is readying for its first ever museum celebrating the town’s history.

The £13million project will be feature permanent displays in a public museum on circus, magic, variety, and ballroom dance.

Moe than 800 objects from Blackpool’s extensive collections will be on show along with items loaned from national partners including the Victoria and Albert Museum.

It is set to open in 2022 on Blackpool’s famous Golden Mile in the Sands Building, next to the Tower.

 

YouTube star DanTDM unveils his waxwork at Madame Tussauds Blackpool

Home | Blackpool Gazette

One of Britain’s biggest YouTube stars has unveiled a waxwork of himself at Madame Tussauds in Blackpool

 

Online gaming star DanTDM visited the resort yesterday for the unveiling arriving by helicopter on the beach in the resort.

He is followed by millions around the world and he came face-to-face with his figure at the Promenade attraction – the first time he has ever been immortalised as a waxwork.

Best known for his online video game commentaries, DanTDM – real name Daniel Robert Middleton – boasts more than 25 million YouTube subscribers and has racked up around 18 billion video views to date.

Can you tell which is the real DanTDM?Can you tell which is the real DanTDM?

It was created after DanTDM ‘superfan’ Scarlett, whose mum Trudie Knowles is guest experience manager at Madame Tussauds Blackpool, pitched the idea.

Speaking after his ‘introduction’ to his waxwork, Dan said: “It’s a real honour to have been chosen to have a Madame Tussauds waxwork made of me. I still can’t quite believe it. And coming face to face with myself, in a replica of my office too, was incredible.

“I really hope people have fun hanging out with me in there, it’s unreal how realistic it all is. The team of artists who do this for a living are so talented.”

His waxwork took around 800 hours to create, with experts in hair, makeup and sculpting all lending their skills to perfect the figure.

Coming face-to-face with his own waxworkComing face-to-face with his own waxwork

Each figure is sculpted using around 150kg of clay, with an average of 25 individual artists working on just one figure and approximately 75 hours of hand painting.

Dan’s online video channels include commentaries on popular video games such as Minecraft, Roblox and Pokemon, winning over his masses of fans thanks to his witty and informative content.

In addition to his YouTube superstar status, Dan is an accomplished author, having created his graphic novel, Trayaurus and the Enchanted Crystal in 2016, while he has also voiced characters in animated film Ralph Breaks the Internet and Netflix series Skylanders Academy.

Helping Dan to arrive in Blackpool in style was helicopter operator HeliSpeed.

Dan arrived by helicopter on Blackpool beachDan arrived by helicopter on Blackpool beach

Operations director Gemma Walker said: “We are delighted to help support the internationally recognised Madame Tussauds unveiling of the new waxwork of DanTDM.”

Stuart Jarman, General Manager at Madame Tussauds Blackpool, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to welcome our newest famous face, DanTDM, to Madame Tussauds Blackpool.

“There’s an incredibly diverse mix of celebrities here and Dan’s figure is just one example of how we’re constantly updating our celebrity rollcall, ensuring there’s something here for the whole family to enjoy.

“We know that Dan is extremely popular with gaming fans, so we’re really looking forward to unveiling his waxwork figure to his huge following and allowing them to get that all important selfie. And we have even recreated his famous office! We are sure he will be massively popular here in Blackpool.”

he said it was a real honour to have a waxwork at Blackpoolhe said it was a real honour to have a waxwork at Blackpool

DanTDM grabs a selfie with his Madame Tussauds waxworkDanTDM grabs a selfie with his Madame Tussauds waxwork

 

Covid scuppers Blackpool’s Blue Flag bid – but its clean water still brings promise to marine life

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Blackpool Council’s bid to secure Blue Flag status for a resort beach last year was scuppered by the pandemic – but the lack of accolade hasn’t stopped the wildlife beyond our shoreline from thriving.

 

Back in 2019, Blackpool lost the internationally-recognised Blue Flag award for its south beach opposite the Pleasure Beach, which was attributed to a 1.89 per cent drop in water quality.

The council aimed to go for gold again last year, confident in its abilities to put Bispham beach – which is classified as “excellent” bathing water quality by the Environment Agency – back on the Blue Flag map.

But the impossibility of offering and promoting environment education to resort adults and youngsters during the pandemic forced a delay.

A council spokesman said: “In order to apply for a Blue Flag a number of criteria has to be met across four categories. In Bispham our bathing water is classed as excellent and we would meet the vast majority of the required standards but unfortunately this year we know we would not be able to fulfil the Environmental Education and Information criteria.

“This would require us to offer and promote environmental education activities to beach users which we aren’t in a position to do at the moment. Through LoveMyBeach we will continue to work towards this but it just hasn’t been possible this year due to the pandemic.”

Despite this setback, many of the Fylde coast’s beaches, including Blackpool South, Central, North and Bispham, did scoop a Seaside Award in 2021.

In Wyre, Rossall Beach, Jubilee Beach in Cleveleys, Marine Beach and Ferry Beach in Fleetwood also received the accolade, as did St Annes Pier. in Fylde.
Cleaner beaches are thought to be a contributing factor to thriving populations of cetacean species in Fylde coast waters. Picture: Daniel Martino/JPI Media
Cleaner beaches are thought to be a contributing factor to thriving populations of cetacean species in Fylde coast waters. Picture: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

Seaside Awards are given to beaches acknowledged by environment charity Keep Britain Tidy as having appropriate water quality, clean beaches, and adequate safety services including lifeguards, among other factors.

Water improvements have been prioritised in Blackpool in recent years – with the installation of pumping stations across the resort to clean up the Irish Sea.

United Utilities spent five years building an underwater storage tank and a new storm water pumping station as part of an £80 million project at Anchorsholme Park, and a £35 million project to update an 80-year-old waterworks system which had been struggling to cope during times of heavy rainfall was installed on land off Midgeland Road.

New pipes were laid under routes including Highfield Road and Midgeland Road, existing pumping stations including Lennox Gate were upgraded and an underground holding tank was built at Fishers Field to capture stormwater.

A thornback ray was found stranded on Blackpool's central beach this week, alongside a dogfish - a small species of shark. Picture: Daniel Martino/JPI MediaA thornback ray was found stranded on Blackpool’s central beach this week, alongside a dogfish – a small species of shark. Picture: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

The projects were undertaken in a bid to ensure sewage systems weren’t overrun with rain water – and are hoped to prevent waste water being expelled into the sea, posing a serious risk to the health of marine and human life.

In fact, the cleanliness of our waters appears to be one of the contributing factors in helping marine life thrive off our coast, one expert said.

A video which emerged on social media last week appeared to show a school of bottlenose dolphins swimming off the coast at Starr Gate, a sight which is more common than perhaps most people think.

And if scientists’ predictions are correct, we could be welcoming larger numbers of another mammal, the grey seal, to our coast in coming years.

Blackpool has cleaned up its water in recent years, with the addition of new pumping stations north and south of the resort. Picture: Daniel Martino/JPI MediaBlackpool has cleaned up its water in recent years, with the addition of new pumping stations north and south of the resort. Picture: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

Dr Emily Baxter, senior marine conservation officer at North West Wildlife Trusts, said a reduction in pollution and improvement in water quality over the past few years could have played a role in increased sightings of cetaceans – marine mammals – off the Fylde coast.

She said: “Dolphin and porpoise sightings (and even whales) have been a regular occurrence in the summer months off Blackpool for at least the past 10 years. There are however, well known hotspots for marine mammals and basking sharks, particularly off the North Wales coast and around the Isle of Man.

“This is due to how weather systems interact with the seabed causing areas of cold, nutrient-rich ‘upwellings’ that stimulate plankton blooms and then fish, birds and marine mammals soon follow. These areas are close to the coast of the North West and Liverpool Bay so when conditions are right, they can be seen feeding close to our shores as well.

“There have also been improvements in water quality and reduction in pollution over the past few decades, which are bound to have helped.”

In the past decade, the grey seal population around Walney Island, north of Morecambe Bay, has boomed five-fold – meaning there is a likelihood of more seals appearing to eagle-eyed coast watchers across the resort.

“We have seen a dramatic increase in the numbers of grey seals using the South Walney Nature Reserve increasing five-fold in the past 10 years,” Dr Baxter continued.

Cleaner beaches and waters mean cetacean species, grey seals and some fish species are thriving in the Irish Sea. Picture: Daniel Martino/JPI MediaCleaner beaches and waters mean cetacean species, grey seals and some fish species are thriving in the Irish Sea. Picture: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

“They also started breeding on the nature reserve five years ago and we have had pups every year since. This will mean that more seals are likely to be spotted off the Lancashire coast as they travel to feed.”

According to the Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP), which logs all reports of stranded mammals on UK coastlines, a significant drop in reports was received last year – which could be because lockdown was imposed and fewer people were visiting beaches.

However, a decline in numbers since 2017 held promise for populations of marine mammals, as potentially fewer of them were washing up on our shores.

In 2017, 27 dead mammals, predominantly harbour porpoises, were reported to the authority – dropping down to 22 a year later, 19 in 2019 and just 11 last year.

A spokesman for the CSIP said: “There are many reasons why strandings can happen, and most animals we see have been stranded after dying of natural causes.

“Recording strandings allows us to monitor for natural threats like disease and predation as well as human threats like pollutants and fishing bycatch. It also provides a great opportunity to study animals that are otherwise difficult to observe as they live out at sea.”

Although declining, strandings still occur on beaches, albeit usually due to “natural causes.”

A thornback ray was found stranded on Blackpool’s central beach this week, alongside a dogfish – a small species of shark.

Thornback ray populations are commonly found off the Fylde coast, and during the summer hundreds of their egg cases – known as “mermaid’s purses” – can be found scattered along the tideline.

Scott Blacker from Blackpool Sea Life Centre said rays are commonly found swimming around our coast – but their numbers are near-threatened due to fishing or habitat loss.

He said: “We do tend to find these washed up on the beach this time of year and I have seen a couple myself whilst out walking both at St Anne’s and Cleveleys beach.

“The rays may be coming into shallower waters to chase more abundant foods and also for breeding. They are caught a lot by anglers and fishing boats and could be thrown back as bycatch or injured when the hook is removed. The thornback ray egg case is also the most common ray egg found on the beach around here, so we know they have some large groups off the coast.

“They are listed as near threatened on the International Union for Conservation of Nature red list, and this is mainly due to habitat loss and over-fishing.”

James Nesbitt pictured filming new Netflix series in Blackpool (SPOILER ALERT)

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Films crews returned to Blackpool today (Wednesday, June 30) to shoot scenes for a new Netflix series starring James Nesbitt.

 

Taking centre stage on the beach near Central Pier was actor James Nesbitt, in the role ofa homicide detective, as 'armed police' surroundeda suspect with their guns drawnTaking centre stage on the beach near Central Pier was actor James Nesbitt, in the role ofa homicide detective, as ‘armed police’ surroundeda suspect with their guns drawn

The Cold Feet star was spotted filming climactic scenes for a new 8-part thriller, Stay Close, on the beach near Central Pier.

The series, based on Harlan Coben’s bestselling novel of the same name, previously visited the resort to shoot scenes on the Promenade in March.

This morning, bystanders watching from the Prom were gripped by the tense drama unfolding on the beach as cameras rolled.

Cold Feet star James Nesbitt was spotted filming climactic scenes for anew 8-part Netflix thriller,Stay Close, on the beach near Central Pier today (Wednesday, June 30)

Cold Feet star James Nesbitt was spotted filming climactic scenes for anew 8-part Netflix thriller,Stay Close, on the beach near Central Pier today (Wednesday, June 30)

(SPOILER ALERT)

Taking centre stage on the seafront was James Nesbitt, in the role of a homicide detective, as ‘armed police’ frantically surrounded a suspect with guns drawn.

As the tense stand-off unfolded, an actor playing what appears to be the series’ villain was detained by armed officers under orders from Detective Broome – played by Nesbitt – who has been investigating a missing person’s cold case.

Filming for the climactic scene has now wrapped up and the show’s Manchester-based production company has not said whether filming will resume in the resort after today.

Cast, crew and extras watchedfrom the steps on the beach near Central Pier as the tense drama unfolded and cameras rolledCast, crew and extras watchedfrom the steps on the beach near Central Pier as the tense drama unfolded and cameras rolled

What’s Stay Close about?

RED, the same production team behind Channel 4’s ‘It’s a Sin’ and Netflix hit ‘The Stranger’, has been commissioned by the streaming giant to create the new show.

Prior to filming commencing earlier this year, James Nesbitt said: “The team at RED are a northern powerhouse of world-class TV. They are a benchmark for quality drama, and I’m thrilled to be part of such a great production.

“The scripts drew me in from the get-go and I am looking forward to starting filming.”

As the tense scenesunfolded, an actor playing what appears to be the series' villainwas detained by armed officers under orders from Detective Broome - played by Nesbitt - who has been investigating a missing person's cold caseAs the tense scenesunfolded, an actor playing what appears to be the series’ villainwas detained by armed officers under orders from Detective Broome – played by Nesbitt – who has been investigating a missing person’s cold case

The series also stars Richard Armitage, who featured in last year’s Harlan Coben/Netflix adaptation The Stranger, as well as actress Cush Jumbo, best known for her starring role in the legal drama series The Good Wife.

Production company Red, said: “With trademark thrills, gripping suspense, and a crime to solve, Stay Close questions how much you really know someone. Three people living comfortable lives each conceal dark secrets that even the closest to them would never suspect.

“Megan (Jumbo), a working mother of three; Ray (Armitage), the once promising documentary photographer, now stuck in a dead-end job pandering to celebrity-obsessed rich kids, and Broome (Nesbitt), a detective who’s unable to let go of a missing person’s cold case.

“Lorraine (Parish), an old friend from Megan’s past, delivers some shocking news which will impact on all three characters.

Taking centre stage on the seafrontwas James Nesbitt, in the role ofa homicide detective, as 'armed police' frantically surroundeda suspectwith their guns drawnTaking centre stage on the seafrontwas James Nesbitt, in the role ofa homicide detective, as ‘armed police’ frantically surroundeda suspectwith their guns drawn

“As the past comes back to haunt them, threatening to ruin their lives and the lives of those around them, what will be their next move?”

Netflix and Red are yet to reveal further details but writer Coben has been sharing his excitement with fans for the show on Twitter.

He said: “I am so happy and excited to Stay Close (pun intended) with Danny Brocklehurst (producer), Nicola Shindler and Richard Fee — the same team that made The Stranger, Safe and The Five.

“And talk about a dream-come-true cast – Cush Jumbo, an incendiary and awesome talent; Jimmy Nesbitt, a legendary actor I always wanted to collaborate with; and wow, Richard Armitage back again.

“Netflix has been a wonderful home, and from what I’ve seen so far, Stay Close will be our most gripping and binge-able series yet.”

Stay Close is the latest Netflix project for Harlan Coben and part of his five-year deal with the streaming service to adapt 14 of his bestselling books into film and TV dramas.