Street shaking off violent reputation

Members of Market Street Pub Watch are pleased with the investment in the area. L-R is Maria Benson and Danny Maddox from 1st Bowl, Lee Thelwell from Layton Raikes, Craig Southall from Yates and Ross Robinson from Revolution
Members of Market Street Pub Watch are pleased with the investment in the area. L-R is Maria Benson and Danny Maddox from 1st Bowl, Lee Thelwell from Layton Raikes, Craig Southall from Yates and Ross Robinson from Revolution
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LEISURE and entertainment bosses claim multi-million pound investment on Market Street has helped it shake off its image as the most violent street in Blackpool.

The street was given the name at the beginning of last year after a Government crime website revealed there had been 16 violent incidents in just one month.

But now, pub chiefs say the arrival of big name bars and top security has breathed new life into the street.

Craig Southall, chairman of Blackpool PubWatch and manager of Yates’s, said: “We have got a lot more footfall down Market Street now.

“After all this investment, the street is all lit up and it really looks like something is going on there.

“There is more security on the doors and there is new CCTV at the venues too.”

Revolution bar has proved a popular new addition on the street thanks to a £600,000 investment while North West Leisure spent £500,000 on transforming the former NTK bar into Ego.

Yates’s stumped up £65,000 for a make over and pub giant JD Wetherspoon opened its new £2.3m Blackpool venue, The Layton Rakes, in November.

Garland Leisure Ltd, which operates under the trading name First Bowl, invested £750,000 in the former Super Bowl range above Brannigan’s and now a function room and snooker hall are being built on the third floor.

Maria Benson, assistant manager of First Bowl, said: “It’s done really well since we opened. We have door staff on at the weekends so we don’t see any trouble.”

Ross Robinson, from Revolution, said: “We are very happy with the way things have gone in Blackpool both in terms of revenue and being low on crime and disorder.

“We use link radio to communicate with the other venues and the police.”

In November, there were 18 violent offences on or near Market Street but the previous month there were only 11.

The police say the night-time economy has shifted to Market Street so the area is bound to be busier – and they have a strong presence to stop trouble getting out of hand.

Supt Bill McMahon, Blackpool’s second in command, said violence in the town centre has been low compared to previous years.

There were nine violent crimes in the town centre between December 23 and December 25 – with only two on Christmas Eve – compared to 20 offences for the same dates in 2006.

Supt McMahon added: “It’s a good reduction, I’m pleased with that. It demonstrates the link between police activity, partnership working and the behaviour of the public.

“Market Street and Queen Street are our busiest in terms of night-time economy.

“The footfall is significant so we always have officers in place to prevent things happening or deal with them very quickly.”