Fylde coast counting the cost of strong winds

Rough seas on South Promenade, Blackpool
Rough seas on South Promenade, Blackpool
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ROARING winds and lashing rain have caused chaos for motorists and pedestrians across the Fylde coast.

Council workers and firefighters have been busy throughout the area making hot spots ravaged by the bad weather safe for pedestrians and motorists.

Teams were sent to Queen’s Promenade opposite Sandhurst Avenue in Bispham around midnight yesterday after a tram shelter became dislodged and was left hanging into the road.

Local resident Ralph Livock, 59, witnessed the tram stop being ripped from its foundations by the strong winds.

He told The Gazette: “I couldn’t believe a shelter which has only just been put up could be blown down in two seconds.

“It was hanging over the road.

“A woman was passing by when it happened – she could have been killed. It’s dreadful.”

A section of the busy road had to be closed off to traffic while workmen were brought in to remove the damaged shelter.

Mr Livock added: “The shelter was taken down very quickly – they worked through the night.

“There are tram shelters which have stood there since 1860 and they haven’t been blown over.

“It’s a total waste of tax-payers’ money.”

Blackpool Council says an investigation has now been launched.

John Donnellon, Blackpool Council’s service director for the built environment, added: “It appears the very high winds overnight on Tuesday and Wednesday caused the shelter at the Sandhurst Avenue tram stop in Bispham to become dislodged. We have asked the contractors to carry out an immediate investigation and report back to us as a matter of urgency.

“Contractors are currently in the process of installing 45 new tram shelters which will be open for public use in April 2012.

“The remaining shelters have been checked today and remain secure.”

Motorists also came across traffic problems in Fylde after a tree in Singleton was blown over by the strong winds and blocked part of Church Road.

Harvey Danson, principal highways engineer at Lancashire County Council, said: “We had to close part of the road on Tuesday evening due to a tree which had been blown over by the strong winds.

“The tree had fallen from private land and our highways staff and police acted quickly to close off the road.

“Tree removal work began as soon as there was sufficient light to allow work to be carried out safely and the road was re-opened by lunchtime on Wednesday.”

The Met Office continues to give a Level 2 cold weather warning for the Blackpool area, which means residents should be alert and ready for bad conditions.