Beach setback is ‘just a blip’ leaders insist

Cleveleys beach has failed bathing standards.
Cleveleys beach has failed bathing standards.
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Cleveleys’ disappointing result at failing to pass strict new bathing water standards has been described as a “temporary blip” by senior figures in the town.

Cleveleys was a lone setback after Fleetwood, Bispham, Blackpool North, Blackpool South, St Annes North and St Annes Pier were graded ‘excellent’ by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

To add to the indignity, signs will now have to be erected at Cleveleys advising people not to swim in the water at that location.

One suggested reason for the failure was that a small handful of poor results for Cleveleys in 2012 and 2013 had “skewered” this year’s results, despite overall improvements.

However, leading traders and councillors in the town insisted it was a short term situation and that matters would radically improve upon the completion of key work at Anchorsholme.

United Utilities is working in the area to create a major new underground stormwater tank, plus pumping station and 4.5km outfall pipe, over five years until 2019.

Trader John Protheroe, of menswear shop Mr Frederick on Victoria Road West, is a former Cleveleys Chamber of Trade leader who organises an annual car show in the town.

He said: “Of course it’s disappointing, but the bigger picture is that the quality of all the Fylde coast beaches will radically improve even more once the work in Anchorsholme is completed, it will benefit everyone for years to come. The length of the new out fall pipe, for one, will clearly make a difference. This is just a short-term issue and I am certain that the quality of the bathing waters at Cleveleys will be excellent, just as the quality of the seafront itself is excellent.”

Jane Littlewood, publisher of the Visit Cleveleys website, who works to promote the town as a visitor attraction, said: “You have to look at the wider picture, with improvements in bathing waters occurring all across the Fylde coast. That is an astounding turnaround for this area.

“When the work at Anchorsholme is finished we will see even better results. This is just a blip.”

Counc Ian Amos, who represents Cleveleys Park ward, said: “The work at the pumping station at Anchorsholme is probably a factor. But once it is finished, things will be different.”

And Coun Alan Vincent, who represents Victoria and Norcross ward in the town, said: “This is a temporary thing, I am sure. The next time, Cleveleys will be as good at the rest.”