Residents rue loss of club

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A community is hoping a buyer will come forward to give a historic former working men’s club a new lease of life.

The LMS Loco Club on Ribble Road, Blackpool, has been closed since it went into administration in spring 2014.

It is up for sale amid hopes a new owner can be found.

Peter Dundavan, former secretary of the club, said: “Unfortunately the numbers just dwindled and it went into administration.

“Not enough people were going in. The smoking ban didn’t help and there is so much competition now from off-licences which sell cheap alcohol.

“I had been a member around 30 years, so it was very sad.

“Now we hope a buyer can be found, and perhaps it could be opened as a club again.”

Angie Buss, chairman of the Revoe Area Forum, said people were dismayed the club remained closed.

She said: “It was a big part of the community round here, and we are waiting to see what happens to the building.

“It would be nice if it could be given another use which benefited the community. Among the suggestions are that it could be used for a youth club, or perhaps an arts and crafts centre for older residents.

“It is sad it is closed, and it worries me that in this area we are losing the working men’s clubs.

“The building is going to waste.”

Former member Billy Leahy, who is now a partner in the Central Club on Kent Road, Blackpool, said: “I was a member for many years and it was a lovely club.

“It was a family club and as well as being for residents, it did very well in the summer with the visitors.

“It would be nice to see it re-open as a club again.”

The Loco Club was originally founded by engine drivers around 1940.

Members became owners of the building in 1999, and over the years the club hosted scores of fund-raising events.

The Loco is the latest well-known Blackpool club to struggle.

The Comrades Club on Adelaide Street shut its doors last November, the Co-operative Club on Preston New Road, Marton, closed in August 2013, while the Layton Institute closed in 2012, but re-opened after converting the premises to a pub.