Tower chiefs back £40m offer

LEISURE Parcs today confirmed public ownership is the only way to preserve Blackpool's key assets.

As revealed in yesterday's Gazette, the company has accepted a multi-million pound offer from Blackpool Council to buy the Tower, Winter

Gardens and other sites including the Golden Mile Centre and Louis


The deal, said to be in excess of 40m, is reliant on a mixture of Government and European cash, as well as a loan.

A spokesman for Leisure Parcs, the Trevor Hemmings company which has owned the attractions since 1998, confirmed bosses were "considering the approach in a favourable manner" following a review of how Blackpool's key assets should be managed.

The spokesman said: "The outcome of this review was that investment was required into the key strategic assets in Blackpool.

"Due to the decline in visitor numbers and the poor economic outlook, not only for Blackpool but for the county as a whole, it was difficult to foresee how this investment could come from the private sector.

"Public sector funds cannot be made available for assets in private commercial ownership. The only way to ensure that the Government fulfills its promise to support Blackpool is for the council to acquire these strategic assets from Leisure Parcs.

"They then must procure the capital investment when the assets are in the council's ownership."

For more on this story, see Friday's Gazette.