Tribute to boxer Brian is rejected

Brian London

Brian London

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Calls to rename Blackpool Sports Centre in recognition of Blackpool boxer Brian London who fought Muhammad Ali have been thrown out by councillors.

Conservative group leader Coun Tony Williams had put forward the proposal as a notice of motion to Wednesday’s full meeting of the council.

Sugar Ray Leonard  with Blackpool boxing legend Brian London.

Sugar Ray Leonard with Blackpool boxing legend Brian London.

But the ruling Labour group rejected the request and council leader Coun Simon Blackburn said Coun Williams had contravened town hall protocol by bringing it to full council.

Coun Williams today accused Labour of acting “with contempt” and said he did not want the decision to be made “behind closed doors”.

He said: “It wasn’t originally my idea, it came from one of my residents who reminded me the council had done nothing to honour Brian and that in Bradford they had named their sports centre after their own boxing hero Richard Dunn.

“Without exception all Labour councillors voted against the proposal.

“It was evident their whole mindset was to, without solid reason, reject this tribute to Brian out of hand and in doing so show their contempt for not just a great ambassador for the town, but also for the people of Blackpool many of whom contacted me to show support for the proposal.”

Speaking during the meeting Coun Blackburn said he agreed Mr London was “an iconic figure in British sport who has great links with Blackpool and I think it is absolutely right those links are recognised.”

But he added there was “a very clearly established protocol for the naming of council buildings” with decisions made at private meetings when cross-party support had been agreed.

Coun Blackburn said in the past suggestions had been put forward to name the sports centre at Stanley Park after other sports stars including rugby player Bill Beaumont, cricketer Brian Larwood and Paralympian Shelly Woods.

But none had gone ahead because there had never been cross-party agreement.