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‘Lock up’ plan for town hall

Blackpool Town Halls main entrance will be closed when public meetings are not on. Below: Council leader Simon Blackburn.

Blackpool Town Halls main entrance will be closed when public meetings are not on. Below: Council leader Simon Blackburn.

Blackpool Town Hall is set to end its open door policy.

In future, public access to the civic headquarters from Talbot Square will be restricted.

A keypad security system is being introduced to allow only “authorised individuals” to use the historic main entrance to the Grade II listed building, built between 1895 and 1900.

The public will still be able to use the front doors when public meetings are being held, but otherwise will have to use the Customer First centre on Corporation Street.

Conservative group leader Coun Tony Williams said he was dismayed the public would be expected to use the “back door.”

He said: “It is a beautiful building and belongs to the town. It is a civic building, there should be access from the front door.

“I am proud of the town hall and Blackpool’s civic history. For people to have to go through the back door is fundamentally wrong.

“It is depriving them from seeing the staircase and the Queen Victoria memorial.”

The move will see the loss of a receptionist’s job.

But council leader Coun Simon Blackburn said: “Coun Williams was fully consulted about this proposed change in early October, when it was explained the keypad would only be used when there were no public meetings – when there were public meetings then the Town Hall would be staffed, before during and after the meeting.

“The key pad is costing a one-off charge of around £2,000, whereas a member of staff would cost in the region of £15,000 plus per year.

“Residents will be able to access all council services and facilities as they are at present.”

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