Seaside beacon of light

Lightpool at Blackpool Tower

Lightpool at Blackpool Tower

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Blackpool has been singled out by Government chiefs as a success story for the way it has used special funding designed to boost seaside economies.

The resort received nearly £2m last year from the Coastal Communities Fund towards the Illuminations.

The investment was used to create the LightPool project which sees images projected onto the front of the Tower, and has also funded a team of town ambassadors.

It is predicted the enhanced displays could lead to the creation of more than 500 new jobs when additional visitor spending in other attractions, cafes etc is taken into account.

Lightpool specifically encourages visitors out of their cars to enjoy the new features.

Communities Minister Mark Francois said: “We’re determined to unleash the enormous potential of our Great British coast, which is why we’ve invested £120m in the last three years alone.

“And with every £1 we invest having the potential to create an up to £8 boost to our coastal economies – that’s money well spent.”

Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden welcomed the cash injection received by the resort, but said the town had lost funding as well.

He said: “I welcome investment from the Coastal Communities Fund, but it needs to be set against the fact there was a similar fund which Labour instigated when we were in government.

“It is also a fact that Blackpool has suffered cuts in its direct government funding.

“There is the long-standing unfairness that we have to deal with the extra pressure placed on our health service, police and other services by up to 10 million visitors a year and this is not taken into account in the funding formula.”

Coun Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, said: “Last year’s inaugural LightPool programme was fantastic and brought a completely new dimension to our traditional Illuminations offer. It also gave visitors the opportunity to experience much more of the Illuminations offer on foot, creating a greater economic benefit for businesses in the visitor economy.

“Our feedback from last year was excellent and we are now forming our plans to make this year’s LightPool events just as successful. This will mean new projection shows on to the Tower as well as light-themed exhibitions and installations.”