Category Archives: Roads

Motorists queue outside petrol station in Thornton as worker says there’s ‘no diesel’ left

Home | Blackpool Gazette

This was the queue outside the BP petrol station in Fleetwood Road North, Thornton, today after the fuel giant was forced to close down a handful of its forecourts elsewhere.

 

BP said yesterday it had closed several forecourts due to a lack of available fuel after the lorry driver shortage hit deliveries, while a number of Tesco refilling stations have also been impacted according to Esso owner ExxonMobil, which runs the sites.

Cars were pictured waiting to get onto the forecourt, where a worker stood with a handwritten cardboard sign saying: “No diesel”.

It comes amid reports of panic buying, even after the AA said most forecourts are working as they should – and as the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said motorists should “carry on as normal”.

Motorists queuing outside BP in Fleetwood Road North, Thornton, on Friday, September 24, 2021 (Picture: Dan Martino for The Gazette)

Motorists queuing outside BP in Fleetwood Road North, Thornton, on Friday, September 24, 2021 (Picture: Dan Martino for The Gazette)

There was no suggestion any of those waiting for fuel in Thornton were panic buying, however.

“There is no shortage of fuel and thousands of forecourts are operating normally with just a few suffering temporary supply chain problems,” said AA president Edmund King.

“Fridays and the weekend always tend to be busier on forecourts as drivers either combine filling up with shopping runs, prepare for weekend trips or refuel for the start of the new working week.

“Drivers should not fill up outside their normal routines because, even if the occasional petrol station is temporarily closed, others just down the road will be open.

A worker at BP in Fleetwood Road North, Thornton, holds a sign saying 'No diesel' on Friday, September 24, 2021 (Picture: Dan Martino for The Gazette)

A worker at BP in Fleetwood Road North, Thornton, holds a sign saying ‘No diesel’ on Friday, September 24, 2021 (Picture: Dan Martino for The Gazette)

“It is now clear that there have been occasional delays over recent weeks that have been managed with hardly anyone noticing. This was a manageable problem.”

Labour Party chair Anneliese Dodds said the UK Government’s handling of Brexit was partly to blame for adding extra pressure on the HGV sector.

The Opposition MP said: “There are shortages of HGV drivers in other countries.

“I have to say, however, that there have been big failures in planning for this situation and the additional red tape that has been created, which was not inevitable, it was not an inevitable result of Brexit in many cases, but that hasn’t been tackled by Government.

“I talk to advanced manufacturers in my patch for example, and they tell me that now they have got to fill in dozens of pages of paperwork and that is quite a tall order for a HGV driver if they have got to be dealing with all of that, as well as getting goods from one place to another.

“So undoubtedly the Government’s method of implementing Brexit has had an impact overall on the system, but there are other factors that are in play here.

“And I think their failure to consider whether they need to ask that Migration Advisory Committee about a different approach to shortage occupations – I really do think they should be engaging with business on this and listening to them.”

Mr Shapps said there were “systemic” problems within the haulage sector that needed addressing and that there was a need to make it a “more attractive industry”.

He said: “Traditionally, this has been – and these are extraordinary figures – a 99 per cent white male profession, average age 55, conditions not great, truck stops not great.

“And the salaries have been supressed over many years by people coming in and driving and being prepared to do that at lower wages.

“So we need to resolve the systemic problems as well and that’s why, as I say, we are doing everything we possible can to open up the capacity and bring more people in.”

He added: “We need to make this a more attractive industry to go into and the solution to that is to have those slightly higher wages and better conditions at truck stops and the like as well.”

Mr Shapps said the wage base for hauliers had been held down by “importing cheap European, often eastern European, labour, undercutting the domestic market and creating more long-term problems”.

But the Transport Secretary said he was “ruling nothing out” in order to fix the haulier shortage but added that he was wary about importing cheap foreign labour.

“We’ve already doubled the spaces (for testing) and we’ve started to see people come into the sector to alleviate this problem, and what I don’t want to do is undermine that in any way as we bring people in, attracted by higher salaries and wages,” he said.

Asked whether he would be prepared to relax the rules on European drivers being able to work in the UK, Mr Shapps said: “I will do whatever is required, if that would help.

“What I don’t want to do, and I’ve been hinting at this, is undercut with, as has happened before, cheaper European drivers and then find our drivers drop out because they are being undercut.

“That doesn’t solve the problem, it just creates a new problem.”

Asked whether the military could be drafted in to drive HGVs, the Cabinet minister replied: “I certainly won’t rule anything out at all, we will look at all the various contingency measures.”

BP had to close only five of its petrol forecourts across the country yesterday due a lack of delivery drivers, according to the Transport Secretary.

Asked how many petrol forecourts were impacted this morning, he said: “I’m afraid I don’t have the answer to that at 7am in the morning.

“As of last night, five petrol stations on the BP network out of twelve or thirteen-hundred were affected.

“I’m meeting this morning with Tesco and I’m sure they’ll give me the update for themselves.

“None of the other retailers said they had any closures.”

He added: “The others – Asda, Morrisons and other supermarkets – are saying they have no problems, as have other petrol companies.”

Mr Shapps said a lot of European lorry drivers, who have settled and and pre-settled status, are overseas and the Government was trying to “entice” them back to the UK.

He said: “Critically, they’ve already got the rights to come here and do it.

“Ironically, of course, every time you say, ‘let’s open it up to Europeans, eastern Europeans’ and you undercut the marketplace, this is how we’ve ended up with this systemic long-term problem, because salaries have been reduced to a point where people are saying ‘Well, that job’s not for me’. Part of it is this conditions.”

Questioned if he would have a standby plan to deploy army drivers to deliver fuel, he responded: “Anything that’s reasonable, and probably that’s not the solution in terms of sheer numbers. We’re not in a position where, previously, drivers have just stopped driving.

“We will always look at all the different things which are required.”

 

 

Plans to slash speed limit and ban parking on Clifton Drive North from Blackpool to St Annes

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Lancashire County Council has submitted plans to slash the speed limit on Clifton Drive North, between South Shore and St Annes, from 40mph to 30mph, and to ban cars from parking on the road.

 

Traffic on Clifton Drive North

Traffic on Clifton Drive North

Two notices of proposal have been submitted by the council under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 for the changes which, if approved, will span from Starr Gate to the Highbury Road West area.

The plans to reduce the speed limit from 40mph to 30mph comes just a few months after Fylde MP Mark Menzies wrote to county council bosses asking for speeds there to be slashed following a series of accidents.

The 40mph speed limit was enforced in 2010 – long before Persimmon Homes built a large housing development on the former Pontins site opposite the sand dunes.

Mr Menzies said: “The growth of these two developments at Coastal Dunes means this is now clearly a residential area and should be treated as such by the highways authority.

As well as a possible speed reduction, Lancashire Council Council has submitted further plans to restrict parking on the road, which is frequently used by tourists and beach-goers.

A ‘red route’ banning the stopping of vehicles in the main carriageway, footway and verge on both sides of the road from the junction of Squire’s Gate Lane to Highbury Road West has been proposed.

Cars would also be banned from waiting on the east side of the road between Highbury Road West and Norwood Road, and on the west side between Highbury Road West and Todmorden Road.

The council also plans to introduce a police parking place on the west side of Clifton Drive North, 95m south of the Addison Way junction. As a consequence of this, the existing police bay in the area would be removed.

 

 

Bispham resident campaigns to improve road signs and stop speeding around Red Bank Road

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A Bispham woman is campaigning for improvements to road signs and traffic calming measures around the Red Bank Road area after her elderly father was hit by a car last weekend.

 

Michelle Beech, 53, of Hesketh Avenue, hand-delivered a petition to hundreds of neighbours and left copies in Bispham cafe Maddisons in a bid to unite them in a fight against speeding motorists in the area.

Her father Vincent O’Toole, 93, was taken to hospital with an arm injury on Saturday evening after a car reversed into him in Warbreck Drive before driving off, while he was crossing the road after going to the shop to do the lottery.

An appeal to find the driver was issued by Lancashire Police.

Michelle's elderly father Vincent was involved in a hit-and-run incident near Warbreck Drive on Saturday, which Michelle said would have been prevented if drivers stopped speeding in the area. Pic: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

Michelle’s elderly father Vincent was involved in a hit-and-run incident near Warbreck Drive on Saturday, which Michelle said would have been prevented if drivers stopped speeding in the area. Pic: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

Man in his 90s injured after being struck by car in Bispham hit-and-run

Hesketh Avenue is a one-way street, but Michelle said the “no entry” signs in the road are in such poor condition that motorists ignore the restrictions and drive down the road from the Promenade end, often breaking the speeding limit.

“My home [in Hesketh Avenue] has been a family home for over 20 years, and my husband and I moved in here around seven years ago to take care of my mum who we lost last year, my dad and my brother who is disabled,” Michelle said.

“People in our street have asked and asked and asked for better signs to be put up, someone from Highways came out to see my husband around four years ago, and we just keep being told the signage is sufficient – but no, it’s not. Cars go speeding up and down this road at all hours, it’s supposed to be a one-way street but it’s used like a racetrack all the time.

Michelle Beech is campaigning for traffic calming measures and improved road signage in Hesketh Avenue, and around Warbreck Drive and Red Bank Road in Bispham. Pic: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

Michelle Beech is campaigning for traffic calming measures and improved road signage in Hesketh Avenue, and around Warbreck Drive and Red Bank Road in Bispham. Pic: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

“I visit an elderly neighbour across the road and I daren’t even cross the street, it’s lethal. You can barely see the ‘no entry’ signs on the road and people just ignore them.

“There aren’t enough signs in the road, and the speeding around this whole area is horrendous. If the person who’d hit my dad hadn’t been speeding, it wouldn’t have happened.

“I’ve got around four A4 pages full of signatures now for my petition to the council, something needs to be done.”

Bispham councillor Don Clapham said he had received complaints about traffic using the one way section at the seaward end of Hesketh Avenue “for a number of years.”

The 'No Entry' sign painted onto the road at the Promenade end of Hesketh Avenue is ignored by motorists, Michelle said. Pic: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

The ‘No Entry’ sign painted onto the road at the Promenade end of Hesketh Avenue is ignored by motorists, Michelle said. Pic: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

“The signs are illuminated and signage is good,” Coun Clapham said.

“But still the one way section is ignored by some motorists.

“We have suggested to Highways that Hesketh Avenue could be blocked off and the one way section be used two way to and from the entrance to the Highlands pub. This section is narrower than the rest of Hesketh Avenue.

“As for speeding on Warbreck Drive and Red Bank Road, it has become a major issue on all our roads since the lockdown for Covid.”

Residents have resorted to makeshift signs in a bid to stop motorists driving the wrong way up Hesketh Avenue, which is a one-way street. Pic: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

Residents have resorted to makeshift signs in a bid to stop motorists driving the wrong way up Hesketh Avenue, which is a one-way street. Pic: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

Blackpool Council was contacted for comment.

The painted sign is fading and doesn't deter drivers from entering Hesketh Avenue at the Promenade end, but Blackpool Council has informed residents the signage is sufficient, Michelle alleged. Pic: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

The painted sign is fading and doesn’t deter drivers from entering Hesketh Avenue at the Promenade end, but Blackpool Council has informed residents the signage is sufficient, Michelle alleged. Pic: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

Blackpool taxi fares rise is agreed

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Taxi fares in Blackpool are set to increase by an average of five per cent as part of a package of measures which it is also hoped will help attract more drivers to the trade.

 

Councillors agreed to a request from the Blackpool Licensed Taxi Operators Association (BLTOA) for changes which also include bringing forward the times when more expensive night time fares come into effect.

Taxi plea as shortage of drivers puts pressure on Blackpool nightscene

It means the average fare for a two mile journey before 9pm (tariff one) will increase to £6 from £5.80 which is in line with national averages.

Taxi fares rise is agreed

Taxi fares rise is agreed

Late evening fares (tariff two) will kick in an hour earlier at 9pm instead of 10pm, while the early hours tariff (tariff three), which includes a 60p supplement on the fare, will start from midnight instead of 1am.

The effect of the overall changes, which were approved by the council’s public protection sub-committee, is an average increase is 5.29 per cent. The changes will now be advertised before being implemented.

A council report said higher late night fares were “payable to drivers for working anti-social hours” so the measure would “help ensure taxi availability”.

The report adds: “The taxi trade has reported a shortage of drivers recently particularly during the evening/night and it is hoped these measures will help to assist in bridging that gap.

“BLTOA has stated in their submission that there have been complaints that there are insufficient drivers late at night and in the early hours of the morning.

“Following informal discussions with private hire operators and BLTOA the licensing service would support those concerns.”

It was reported last month some taxi operators in the town had half the usual number of drivers available to work after 8pm on a Saturday night.

The lack of cabbies has been blamed on drivers finding alternative jobs during the Covid pandemic and not returning to the industry.

 

Lanes re-open on M55 after overnight closures in both directions

Home | Blackpool Gazette

M55 was closed in both directions by police overnight last night due to a serious incident.

 

Highways England reported that traffic was temporarily stopped in the early hours of this morning, September 12, between junctions one and three following an incident on the M55.

It was announced at around 3.45 am this morning, where they confirmed traffic was stopped westbound between the two junctions, with traffic officers and police attending the scene.

Shortly after it was confirmed that a closure was then introduced eastbound, between junctions four and three, but the nature of the incident has not yet been confirmed.

The M55 was closed in both directions last night

The M55 was closed in both directions last night

Diversion routes were provided via the hollow diamond eastbound and the solid circle westbound with more information and updates shared by Highways England through the night.

Lancashire Police and the Fire & Rescue Service were both in attendance at the scene and advised drivers to find an alternate route.

It was then confirmed the closures were both removed by 6.48am this morning.

Police and the fire service were in attendance at the scene before lanes reopened

Police and the fire service were in attendance at the scene before lanes reopened

Crash closes Progress Way and Ashworth Road in Blackpool

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Road closures have been put in place on Progress Way and Ashworth Road following a collision.

 

Police said traffic may build in the area as people attempt to exit junction 4 (Marton Interchange) of the M55 today (September 11).

Motorists have been advised to find alternative routes if possible to help emergency vehicles attend.

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said : “We currently have road closures in place on Progress Way inbound from Junction 4 and Ashworth Road in Blackpool due to a road traffic collision.

“Please be aware this may cause delays when travelling into Blackpool.”

Gang who made ‘regular trips to Blackpool to collect drugs’ jailed for almost 50…
Road closures have been put in place on Progress Way and Ashworth Road following a collision.

Road closures have been put in place on Progress Way and Ashworth Road following a collision.

Motorists have been advised to find alternative routes if possible. (Credit: AA)

Motorists have been advised to find alternative routes if possible. (Credit: AA)

Firefighters free person from wreckage after collision in Blackpool today

Home | Blackpool Gazette

One casualty had to be freed by firefighters from a vehicle following a collision in Blackpool at lunchtime today.

Branstree Road, Blackpool.

Branstree Road, Blackpool.

A fire crew was called to the incident on Branstree Road in the resort at around 12;20pm.

The crash involved one vehicle and one person had to be released.

A fire brigade spokesman said: “One fire engine from Blackpool attended a road traffic collision on Branstree Road, Blackpool.

“The incident involved one vehicle. Firefighters used a hearth kit and stabilisation equipment at this incident.

“One casualty was conveyed to the hospital by North West Ambulance Service personnel. Crews were in attendance for one hour.”

It is not known at present how seriously injured the casualty is.

 

Drivers warned of diversions and delays as road is closed north of Blackpool

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Motorists are being warned of delays north of Blackpool as a road is to be closed to re-route a water main.

 

Skippool Road at its junction with Skippool roundabout will be shut from 7am Monday, September 13, for six weeks, to divert the large water pipe.

And United Utilities has been working at Skippool Road, to the north of Ashley Hall Mews, to replace a lead water connection.

At the same time, Cadent Gas is currently working on Breck Road from Skippool roundabout towards the Wyre Council offices.

Highways England has published these  maps showing the diversions due to the road closure at SkippoolHighways England has published these maps showing the diversions due to the road closure at Skippool

As part of the ongoing work to try to reduce traffic choke points along the A585, Amounderness Way (eastbound) and Mains Lane (eastbound) will be reduced to one lane to facilitate new drainage installation and road surface testing until September 3.

Lodge Lane will see temporary lights at the entrance to Singleton Hall/Barnfield Manor to allow utility works there to take place until September 5.

Mains Lane and Garstang Road East will bot have narrow lanes to allow utility work to take place until September 5.

Highways England is to hold some public information exhibitions, in its engagement van at:

More on the diversionsMore on the diversions

Morrisons Supermarket, Amounderness Way,Thornton-Cleveleys FY5 3TS

Wednesday 1 September 2pm to 8pm

Wednesday 8 September 2pm to 8pm

Lidl Supermarket, Clark St, Poulton Industrial Estate, Poulton-Le-Fylde, FY6 8JW

Thursday 2 September 10am to 4pm

Thursday 9 September 10am to 4pm

A spokesman said: “The water main was constructed around 50 years ago and provides the main water supply to Fleetwood, Thornton and Cleveleys. We need to divert the water main away from the proposed new bypass.

“This will ensure any future maintenance to the water main can take place safely, without disrupting motorists.

“With the excavation being 2m deep, 5m wide and 7m long, there isnt enough room for motorists to pass the work area safely. Motorists wanting to access the area of Thornton will be diverted along A585 Amounderness Way and the B5412 (Victoria Road East). Please leave extra time for your journey, especially during peak hours.”

More motoring fines could be on way as new enforcement cameras planned for Blackpool

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Blackpool Council wants to introduce bus lane enforcement cameras on part of Market Street, Church Street and Corporation Street.

 

The proposed area of enforcement of the new bus lane cameras in Blackpool town centreThe proposed area of enforcement of the new bus lane cameras in Blackpool town centre

The council is proposing to install the cameras, which will enforce restrictions between the hours of 10.30am and 6pm, on the corner of West Street behind the Municipal Buildings and on the corner of Market Street and Church Street, to deter drivers who flout the law by driving in areas designated for buses and taxis.

As part of ‘Making Blackpool Better’ plans, Corporation Street now has more space for buses to stop and wait, making it easier for passengers to connect with other services in the town centre. Recent work has included widening the road for safer access for buses and taxis, as well as improving the road and pavement surfaces.

If approved, the next phase of the plans would include the introduction of the cameras. Cabinet Member approval has been granted for the council to publish public notices in The Gazette. From the date the notices are placed (September 6), there is a minimum three-week consultation period during which any comments will be considered.

If installation proceeds, an initial grace period will be in place during which any unauthorised driver using the bus lanes will be issued with a warning letter rather than a fine.

As part of the plans, drivers who persist in using the bus lanes will be fined £60, reduced to £30, if paid within 14 days but increased to £90 if not pad after 28 days.

Coun Neal Brookes, Blackpool Council’s Cabinet Member for Enforcement, Public Safety, Highways and Transport, said: “ “The bus lanes are there to give priority for buses and introducing the cameras would help to ensure that everyone follows the rules, and the system works as it should.

“In the past, people have abused the bus lane by parking in taxi and bus bays. Hopefully the introduction enforcement cameras can provide a deterrent to any driver who is tempted to abuse the bus lane.”

Blackpool roads to close with dry weather seeing roadworks return

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Overnight closures were expected to be complete for Thursday 26 but latest heavy rain and winds put a stop to the works.

Queens Promenade where some of the closure are expected to take place

Queens Promenade where some of the closure are expected to take place

Half a dozen roads in Blackpool could be closed overnight as dry weather conditions allows for ongoing work to finally continue after heavy rain fall and wind halted progression.

Holidaymakers and locals may have noticed over recent weeks, several roads around the seaside town being improved as part of Blackpool Council’s Project Amber.

The project aims to create 21st century roads to make Blackpool better through preserving and extending the life of road surfaces for five to eight years.

Whilst disruption was kept to a minimum with the council only beginning work between the hours of 8pm and 6am, bad weather stopped work altogether.

The initial deadline for the works to be completed is this Thursday (August 26).

With the road works looking likely to continue this week, here is a reminder of the affected routes that will be closed during construction hours:

  • Progress Way, between Ashworth Road roundabout and Common Edge Road
  • Squires Gate Lane, between Common Edge Road and Starr Gate
  • New South Promenade, between Starr Gate and Station Road
  • Promenade, between Talbot Square and Gynn Square
  • Queen’s Promenade, between Gynn Square and Red Bank Road
  • Queen’s Promenade, between Red Bank Road and Fleetwood Road

Blackpool Council said: “We’ve recently been carrying out road repair works on sections of Progress Way, Squires Gate Lane and the Promenade.