Bikers pull plug on Prom convoy

Lancs and Lakes Honda Goldwing Owners Club of Great Britain annual meet

Lancs and Lakes Honda Goldwing Owners Club of Great Britain annual meet

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BIKERS have pulled the plug on a traditional convoy along the Promenade – blaming Blackpool Council’s “lack of vision”.

The Federation of UK GoldWing Clubs claims it has been forced to cancel its Light Parade, the biggest of its kind in Europe, for the foreseeable future because the council is “unwilling to accommodate” the parade any longer.

For the last eight years, around 300 bikers from across the country have put on a dazzling display riding their illuminated Honda GoldWings along the Promenade on the first weekend of the Illuminations.

But federation secretary Stuart Ormerod said heavy and slow moving traffic has made it unsafe and impractical to host a GoldWing Light Parade without closing the road.

Mr Ormerod said: “We put a new idea to the council for 2011 – a Parades Day, a carnival-type event when an array of clubs and volunteer organisations could make an even bigger spectacle for pedestrians along the Promenade.

“Combinations of illuminated vehicles, illuminated teams of dancers or musicians and carnival floats would make a terrific show.

“It would mean having temporary closure of the Promenade roadway or part of it – but it would be both practical and worthwhile.”

The federation offered to help publicise and organise a Parades Day and says it had already attracted interest from other clubs to join in.

But they say the council will not support the idea.

Mr Ormerod added: “We are grateful for the help we have had from the council.

“But it is disappointing the council, at a senior level, have not responded to this idea for an even better free event.

“With a bit of imagination, we feel this idea could be developed into a powerful new tourist attraction for Blackpool.

“But Blackpool seems to be capable of looking a gift horse in the mouth as well as lacking both vision and enthusiasm for new ideas.”

The resort will now miss out on hotel bookings from the GoldWing riders themselves, who collect money for charities including Brian House Children’s Hospice.

Co-organiser Ian Kay, from South Shore, said: “It’s a shame because it’s a big attraction. People organise their holidays around it.”

Natalie Wyatt, head of visitBlackpool, added: “The Honda GoldWing parade is usually held the night after the Illuminations Switch On when the town is extremely busy. There are concerns about hosting the event on one of the busiest nights of the Illuminations due to the heavy traffic causing potential problems.

“We would still like it to happen but even after various meetings with the organisers we are yet to reach a compromise. Discussions are still ongoing and I hope the event will be able to take place.”