Blackpool’s thwarted casino dream needs to be revived if the resort is to become a top tourist destination once more, it has been claimed.
Lord McNally of Blackpool made a passionate rallying call to encourage government ministers to sit up and take notice of the problems the town is facing.
He warned the resort risks reaching the point of no return unless immediate action is taken to revitalise the economy and bring in more people.
In a speech at the House of Lords, he listed the failed casino bid as a “missed opportunity” but said there are plans that could create much-needed jobs in the resort if they are properly supported by the Government. Among them he listed the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership’s draft growth deal to boost the county’s economy by £3bn over the next 10 years.
Lord McNally said: “I worry that, without concerted effort by both local and national government, the town could reach a tipping point which would make regeneration impossible.
“I still believe that the casino option should be revisited to revitalise the economy and to use Blackpool’s unique brand name to create a multi-activity resort, as has happened with many successful regenerations around the world.
“Blackpool urgently needs a coherent and co-ordinated programme of measures which will reverse the decline and create a benign circle of confidence and growth.”
Blackpool Council said little had changed since the casino bid was thrust back into the spotlight earlier this year when David Cameron told The Gazette he would “look favourably” on a fresh licence application and the council was still looking to speak to the Government about the issue.
At the time, council leader Simon Blackburn said: “We would welcome the opportunity to discuss this further and to consider how this might help us to develop the Central Station for the benefit of Blackpool’s residents and economy.”
A council spokesman added that council bosses were still looking to have a conversation with the Government about the matter, adding: “Our opinion has not changed.”