Opposition calls for no-smoking rethink

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CONTROVERSIAL proposals to ban smoking from Blackpool’s parks are to go back before leading councillors.

Tory opposition leader Coun Tony Williams is demanding more public consultation before the designated no-smoking zones are introduced.

Coun Tony Williams

Coun Tony Williams

He has ‘called in’ a decision by Blackpool Council’s executive which last week voted to introduce the signs.

The decision will go back before councillors tomorrow at 3pm at the town hall.

Coun Williams is urging members of the public to attend.

He said: “We all know it is a good health message, but this is something which will affect every single resident in Blackpool and I believe the public should be able to have their say.

“So I am asking the council to defer the decision and go out to public consultation.”

Health chiefs say the signs, which are being paid for by the NHS at a cost of around £30,000, will prevent more young people from taking up smoking, reduce tobacco litter and reduce exposure of children to smoke.

Every year there are around 390 premature deaths in Blackpool and 8,000 people suffering illness, due to smoking-related diseases.

Signs have already been installed in children’s playgrounds.

Gary Pennington, chairman of the Friends of Highfield Road Park in South Shore, said: “We have worked in the park for five years and yet these signs have been imposed upon us without any consultation whatsoever.

“The size of the signs are not commensurate with the park, and the park is for all ages and I just think it is wrong to start discriminating.

“The council should ask the public, do you have a problem with anyone smoking in the park?”

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