Smoking signs ‘a giant step too far’

Chris Palk-Smith has resigned from the Friends of East Pines Park in protest at Blackpool Council erecting a huge'no smoking'sign in the park.

Chris Palk-Smith has resigned from the Friends of East Pines Park in protest at Blackpool Council erecting a huge'no smoking'sign in the park.

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A COMMUNITY champion has resigned in protest at moves to install no smoking signs in Blackpool’s parks.

Chris Palk-Smith has stood down as vice-chairman of the Friends of East Pines Park in Anchorsholme after health and town hall chiefs put the notices up across the resort.

Signs have gone up in playgrounds with plans in the pipeline to add to them to cover the whole park.

Mr Palk-Smith, the postmaster at East Pines Post Office on East Pines Drive, said: “I was one of the founder members of the friends group and have been involved for 12 years.

“But this is a step too far.

“We must consult with the council over anything we want to do in the parks yet they have gone ahead with this without consulting us at all.

“They have put in a six foot tall sign which is totally out of keeping yet we can’t even plant trees without consulting with the council.

“Where are they going to stop? Will the next sign be to say you cannot wear hoodies or denims?”

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A planning application has been submitted seeking permission to put signs up at the entrances to 13 parks and playing fields advising the public the areas are now smoke-free sites.

NHS Blackpool is behind the initiative, which is backed by the council, in order to protect children from the damaging effects of smoking.

Anchorsholme ward councillor Tony Williams said he backed Mr Palk-Smith’s stance.

He said: “Chris’s hard work and enthusiasm has been an important part of the success of the friends group and I am really sorry to see him go but I understand his feelings completely.

“I hope Chris will re-consider but at the moment he feels quite strongly about the council’s actions.”

As well as East Pines, the signs are due to go up in parks at Anchorsholme, George Bancroft, Boundary, Claremont, Crossland Road, Highfield Road, Kingscote, and Watson Road parks; Central Drive Recreation Ground, Fishers Field, Gynn Square and Whiteholme playing fields.

A spokesman for Blackpool Council said consultation was taking place as part of the planning process.

Figures from NHS Blackpool show almost 400 people die every year in Blackpool as a result of smoking, while 8,000 receive medical care for preventable smoking-related conditions.

Dr Amanda Doyle, Blackpool GP and clinical lead for Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said there was overwhelming public support for smoke free parks and playgrounds.

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