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‘This could be the biggest year yet for restored pier’

Blackpool's North Pier is recovering from the battering it took during the winter gales, and as well as renovations new features are being added.
The new outdoor seating area of the Merrie England bar.  PIC BY ROB LOCK
19-5-2014

Blackpool's North Pier is recovering from the battering it took during the winter gales, and as well as renovations new features are being added. The new outdoor seating area of the Merrie England bar. PIC BY ROB LOCK 19-5-2014

It’s one of Blackpool’s oldest and grandest attractions, and it’s fair to say it’s taken a battering over the winter.

But with the new season approaching , things are looking good for those who ply their trade on North Pier – which has undergone more than £600,000 of improvements to get it ready to entertain tourists over the course of the summer.

The structure was devastated by a storm in January, which caused £1m of damage to the listed building.

Just a month later it was hit by a second storm – with its Sun Lounge bearing the brunt of the damage.

However, the recovery effort in the aftermath of the double blow is now nearing completion.

The pier’s theatre manager, Denis Askham, said he had been inundated by offers from entertainers wanting to play at the famous venue.

He said: “This could be our biggest year in a lot of years.

“The pier has recovered well.

“It’s had ore than £600,000 spent on it and it is now all up and running – we’ve even opened our new bar.

“We were on about shelving it until next year, but we’ve managed to get that done.

“The theatre has had a refurbishment too.

“Now a lot of big shows are approaching me, rather than me having to go out and approach them.”

A full summer of shows is planned in the theatre – with highlights including a tribute to Michael Jackson, Pinocchio, and The Last Train To Skaville.

Comedian Joey Blower is entering his 21st year of performing at the pier, and has welcomed the new improvements to its Merrie England bar.

He said: “We’re already up on this time last year.

“I can’t speak for the theatre, but the whole of the pier is starting to look good.

“The damage done over the winter was horrible, but they seem to be getting to grips with it and they’ve worked really hard on getting it open for the public.

“It looks like it’s going to be a good summer. Everybody’s pulled together, and hopefully we’ll be making a massive impact on tourism in the town.”

 

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