‘Council ditched our city bid efforts’

Peter Callow

Peter Callow

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THE former leader of Blackpool Council today attacked the decision to scrap the resort’s city status bid.

Tory councillor Peter Callow’s comments follow the Labour group’s decision to pull Blackpool out of the 2012 bid.

Council leader Simon Blackburn said although the bid was a ‘lovely idea’ there were other more important issues which needed focusing on.

But Coun Callow, who led the city status bid when in power, accused Coun Blackburn of ‘dismantling all the previous administration’s hard work’.

He said: “He (Coun Blackburn) is just not ambitious for the town. In every statement he ever makes he is down grading Blackpool.

“He talks about not going in for glamorous or sexy. I imagine all he wants is dullness and that sort of thing.

“The previous council were ambitious and you can see that all around you, the regeneration, the tram works, everything was there, all the building blocks were in place.

“I just hope he is not going to dismantle everything the previous administration did.”

The Norbreck ward councillor, who was ousted as leader of the Conservatives last month said he believed Blackpool had a real chance of gaining city status.

He said: “The town is on the up, there is no doubt about that and that will be seen in just a few short weeks when the central promenade is open and the comedians arrive for the unveiling of the comedy carpet.

“Blackpool is all about razzmatazz which brings in tourists and provided jobs for local people but for Labour ‘tourism’ seems to be a dirty word.

In January The Gazette revealed the ambitious move after the Government announced one new British city will be created to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012. Blackpool unsuccessfully bid to become a new city during the Millennium celebrations.

Coun Blackburn who became leader of the council in a major swing to the left at last month’s elections defended his decision.

He said: “I have no intention of carrying on with Callow’s follies.

“We made a very clear pledge to deliver on priorities that Blackpool residents themselves identified and his pie in the sky, expensive, impractical and doomed to fail policies will not be pursued with public money or valuable officer time.”

Explaining why the bid was pulled he said: “Everyone knows where Blackpool is, it won’t put us on the map and no one can tell me what the benefits are, what being a city will give us that we haven’t already achieved.

“It is a lovely idea but it will cost a lot of money and time to pursue it.”

The new Tory group leader Peter Evans said he agreed with Coun Blackburn’s decision.

He said: “He is probably right. Although it would have been nice to be a city he is probably correct that there are more important things at the moment.

“As a town we are still the most popular tourist destination in the country, especially now with all of the regeneration going on.”