Concerns over £35m water bid

Robert Tidswell (United Utilities Catchment Manager) explains the project to members of the public
Robert Tidswell (United Utilities Catchment Manager) explains the project to members of the public
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THIS is the first chance to see a multi-million pound scheme to improve Blackpool’s bathing waters.

Water board bosses yesterday showcased plans to build a £35m water works treatment works – the size of five football pitches.

But the plans were met with concern when they went on display at the River Wyre pub, Poulton.

In May, waters off the Fylde coast were labelled a “potential health hazard” after failing to meet European Standards.

And Dr Robert Keirle, of the Marine Conservation Society warned council bosses: “Clean-up or the resort will die.”

But United Utilities has vowed to do its bit with the treatment works off Shard Lane, Hambleton.

A spokesman said: “The key purpose is to reduce the spill of untreated water into the River Wyre which then feeds into the sea.

“Tough new European standards coming in 2015 means treated water returned to the Irish Sea from areas of Cumbria, Lancashire, Cheshire, Merseyside and Greater Manchester has to be of better standard.

“And these proposed works will deliver ‘significant improvements’ to the quality of water returned to the environment which will benefit both the River Wyre and the beaches along the Fylde coast.”

But viewing the plans, resident Paul Oakey, of Mains Lane, Singleton, said he had a number of concerns.

He added: “I want to know whether there will be any smells, the height of the development and the scale of it – will it devalue my house?

“The area proposed is supposed to be green belt land, if they allow these plans through will it be the start of more development, such as housing. I don’t feel this exhibition has really answered any of my questions, I keep being told the plans are up in the air at the moment.

Waste

“There are always good reasons for improving waste water treatment but no one wants it on their doorstep.”

John Quine, of Skippool Road, Thornton, believes the idea the proposed treatment works will improve Blackpool’s bathing water is a purely a ‘sweetener’.

He said: “It is in totally the wrong place for the flow of water to improve the bathing waters at Blackpool.

“If anything it will improve the water up at Morecombe Bay but not Blackpool, we would need to build one in Lytham to do that.

“I am also very concerned about the traffic brought about by these plans.”

At the height of its construction there are expected to be around 100 engineers working on the site, which if approved, is expected to start late 2012.