Welcome arch set to move up Prom

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A SEAFRONT landmark looks set to be moved as part of cost-cutting measures.

The 20ft high Southern Welcome Arch, which heralds the start of the Illuminations, is due to be relocated from its current position at Starr Gate to a new site opposite the Solaris.

A planning application seeking permission has been submitted to the council.

The arch is being moved because the Illuminations are being shortened to help save nearly £267,000 from the lights budget. Its new location has been chosen to avoid impacting on nearby properties.

A report accompanying the plans says: “The position has been chosen to be on the corner of the block housing the Solaris building and avoiding the blocks with hotels or domestic properties, and therefore limiting the impact on the local and residing visiting population.”

The stretch of Illuminations between Starr Gate and the Solaris has already been removed.It is hoped the arch will be in place at its new location in time for the start of this year’s Illuminations.

Alan Cavill, assistant director for tourism and economy at Blackpool Council said; “The planning application has been submitted and we are aiming to move the arch, subject to approval being granted, by the start of the illuminations in September.”

The arch, along with one at Bispham marking the northern limit of the Illuminations, was installed in October 2008 with both features funded by a £250,000 grant from the North West Development Agency.

The Southern Welcome Arch had to be moved slightly in 2009 to make way for underground services.

The original arch at Starr Gate was demolished in 1998 when it became unsafe.