Sail of the century......

WANTED - new home for 20ft plywood windmill, in good condition despite 40 years or wind and rain, complete with hundreds of twinkly lights.

By ROB STOCKS

Talk is rife over the future of Blackpool's famous Promenade windmill which is up for grabs after council chiefs said: "If you want it, come and get it."

A furious battle could now erupt as groups scramble to pick up their own piece of Lights history.

But where would you like to see the weatherbeaten windmill - in reality little more than a cunning disguise for a ventilation shaft - set sail for one last swansong?

Could it become a showpiece attraction in Stanley Park's rose gardens or even a little brother to Lytham's life-size windmill on Lytham green?

Or how about outside the Windmill Unit at Blackpool Victoria Hospital or even among the animals at Blackpool Zoo?

But Coun John Coombes, leader of Fylde Council, said locals in Lytham might not be too pleased to find a new addition to their seafront.

He said: "We have our own windmill, a proper windmill, one which we are very proud of.

"The fake windmill from Blackpool might be a bit of a novelty next to its bigger brother, but I don't think the townsfolk would take it to their hearts.

"Maybe it would be better with some proper sails on and placed in Talbot Square to power the Town Hall in Blackpool and save taxpayers some money.

"After all, that is a rather windswept spot!"

But Wyre Council leader, Coun Russell Forsyth was more open to the idea of taking on Blackpool's unwanted windmill.

He said: "Wyre is known as the land of the windmills and I can't see anything wrong with taking on another.

"Perhaps we could have it on Cleveleys promenade as part of the revamp, or on the boating lake in Fleetwood.

"We want to do everything we can to enhance what is already the most attractive part of the Fylde coast.

"The Blackpool mill might need a bit of a spruce up, but we would happily have a look at it.

"If Blackpool don't want it, we might be able to find it a home."

Canatxx gas storage campaigner June Jackson came up with a novel suggestion for using the mill.

She said: "Canatxx have been very keen to get us to put in some environmental enhancements.

"If we have to build rock banks for amphibians in our fields, why not put in a windmill as well.

"Field mice could live inside and birds could roost on the sails.

"I can just see it now in a field overlooking the river."

Coun Peter Callow, Tory leader at Blackpool Council said: "I certainly wouldn't want it in my back garden.

"But they could certainly stick it on a roundabout. It might look quite good next to the tree on the Gynn, or brightening up Bispham.

The windmill will be torn down to make way for the 62million revamp of Blackpool's sea defences - and unless a new home can be found, it will be put in storage at the council's Rigby Road depot.

ENDS