Game over for Expo in resort

Poppy Foster, Mark Sox and Chloe Sherriff at last year's Expo at the Norbreck Castle Hotel.

Poppy Foster, Mark Sox and Chloe Sherriff at last year's Expo at the Norbreck Castle Hotel.

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BLACKPOOL has lost out to Manchester after organisers of a computer gaming festival decided to relocate their annual show to the city from the resort.

The Retro Games Expo had been held in November for the past two years at the Norbreck Castle hotel but had outgrown the venue.

Last year's Replay Video Game Expo at Norbreck Castle.

Last year's Replay Video Game Expo at Norbreck Castle.

Organisers considered transferring to the Winter Gardens but were deterred by the cost of town centre parking.

Now the event, which is said to attract around 5,000 visitors, will be held in Manchester although the actual location has yet to be confirmed.

A statement posted on their website by organisers Replay Expo, says: “We were all set to hold it at the Norbreck but they once again imposed unexpected terms about vacating the second room early which we absolutely weren’t happy with.

“The Winter Gardens was also viewed and costed but access there is appalling, plus there’s no free parking.

“The new venue, which will be confirmed shortly, has practically unlimited free parking, as well as great access for both equipment drop-offs as well as event visitors.

“We haven’t turned our back on Blackpool altogether and we’d still very much like to hold another event there in the future.”

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The two-day exhibition showcases computer games harking back to the days of pinball right up to the latest consoles.

Barry Bridges, sales manager at the Norbreck Castle, said the show had outgrown the premises.

He said: “They held it in our main function room Norcalympia, but they wanted to increase space and unfortunately we had an existing event already booked into the smaller room, the ballroom.

“This meant they would have had to shut that room down earlier so we could set up for a dinner in the evening.

“This is an ambitious event, which is growing, and it is a shame we have lost it but it was purely a business decision.”

Mr Bridges said another event, an international pool tournament, was already booked in its place, and the hotel is hosting another gaming event, the European Gaming League, over Easter.

Claire Smith, president of hoteliers group StayBlackpool (pictured), said it was disappointing to lose any event.

She said: “The conference team at Marketing Blackpool have been doing such a good job of getting small to medium, and quirky conferences, and it’s a shame when we lose something.”

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