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Road race ‘would be worth millions’

A new law could give council chiefs the power to stage a Monaco Grand Prix style road race on the Fylde coast but Phil James (below) said a rural rally might be more practical.

A new law could give council chiefs the power to stage a Monaco Grand Prix style road race on the Fylde coast but Phil James (below) said a rural rally might be more practical.

The Promenade might be a far cry from Monaco harbour but a proposed new law would open the door for a Grand Prix style road race in the resort.

Organisers of the North West Stages rally, which sees cars speed along the seafront at Blackpool and Fleetwood, say plans announced by David Cameron could be a massive boost for the race.

But while racing enthusiasts say a full scale Grand Prix is unlikely, they say the changes could be a welcome boost to the Fylde coast if they go ahead.

Phil James, of Pro-Rally Photography, said: “It could bring a lot of money for the local area – we are talking millions per event. The Norbreck Castle Hotel gets fully booked on the weekend of the North West Stages rally.”

If passed, the new law would give councils the power to close public roads for motor sport events. Currently they can only be held on private land.

Organisers of the North West Stages rally say they have spoken to Wyre Council about using closed public roads in the future. Dave Read, clerk of the course for the North West Stages rally, said their plans centre on using rural roads for one of the stages – but they would be open to a town centre rally in Blackpool if the possibility presented itself.

He added: “We believe we have got to go down the closed road route. If we can do that, we can offer the right quality of road and there would be no reason we couldn’t seek to be in the national championships.”

A Wyre Council spokesman said: “We have met with the North West Stages Rally 
organiser, along with the police, to hear his views on the proposals to stage motor races on public roads however any decisions would be made by Lancashire County Council as the highways authority.”

Coun Graham Cain, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for leisure and tourism, said: “We welcome anything that makes it easier for us to continue to put exciting events on in Blackpool.”

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