Letters - June 11, 2014

BALLROOM BLITZ  One of our letter writers argues that charging for entrance to balcony areas at the Tower Ballroom is a small price to pay to safeguard one of the area's  iconic buildings
BALLROOM BLITZ One of our letter writers argues that charging for entrance to balcony areas at the Tower Ballroom is a small price to pay to safeguard one of the area's iconic buildings
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Have your say

Dance floor investment

Necessary

I read with interest a letter from Clifford Chambers, bemoaning the fact admission to the balcony areas of The Tower Ballroom is no longer ‘free’ (Your Say June 6).

Perhaps I could help by clarifying a few points ?

I’m a regular dancer at the ballroom, and have attended from being a child, now some 35 years.

I also have close links with two of the most popular organists who play in the ballroom.

People are quick to forget that, up until only a few years ago, no part of the Tower Ballroom could be accessed unless the inclusive admission charge to the Tower Buildings was paid, at last count in 2010 it was in the region of £18.

That charge allowed visitors to The Tower to avail themselves of all the attractions, including the ballroom.

When Merlin Entertainments became operator of the building, they scrapped the all-inclusive admission policy, and created areas within the building that could be accessed without charge.

One of these areas was the ballroom balconies, with an admission fee only charged for those people wishing to sit on the ballroom floor level, or indeed dance.

Sadly, as with most things, the lure of ‘something for nothing’ attracted many people, who unlike Mr Chambers, spent nothing at catering outlets in the building, and used the balconies as a picnic area, generating no revenue.

Furthermore, groups of teenagers were wandering around the balconies, throwing items onto the dance floor below, and on one occasion spitting on the stage.

Seats and upholstery became damaged, torn and stained, and rubbish strewn everywhere.

Also, as the ballroom doesn’t receive the same budget as other attractions within the building, the nominal balcony fee was implemented two fold.

One, to stop the damage and the anti-social actions of individuals, and two, to provide funding for the continued refurbishment of the ballroom, which is long overdue.

So let’s put it all into context. A pint of lager in a Market Street pub, £3.30, a large cappuccino in a stylish coffee bar, £3, admission to the balcony of a beautiful Grade 1 star listed building, with six hours worth of live entertainment, £2.95. Enough said.

Dave Hughes

Crescent Court

New South Promenade Blackpool

Wurlitzer worth it

Value

I have just spent several delightful hours in the magnificent Tower Ballroom, listening to the incomparable Phil Kelsall, the world’s finest theatre organist, playing the best sounding Wurlitzer in the world and all for the price of a posh coffee!

I understand the proceeds from the sale of balcony tickets will be put towards the renovation of the seating in that area so I cannot understand why anyone should object to paying this small charge.

Phil plays for several days a week throughout the summer season (check The Tower website for details) and we in Blackpool are fortunate indeed to have such a fantastic organist in the ballroom.

For regular visitors a Merlin Annual Pass is an incredible bargain as, for less that the price of the aforesaid coffee per week, one can enjoy the ballroom and other Merlin attractions in Blackpool and beyond.

Patricia Cocks

Silverwood Avenue

Blackpool

People need secure jobs

Employment

If people choose to set up their own business, then best of luck to them in the current climate.

My husband is self-employed and has been for many years, although like so many others in the construction industry he is finding times are hard.

I too have been self-employed, but only because it was the only work I could find.

And that’s the point.

Take a look at the local Jobcentre vacancies.

On any given night you will see ‘self-employed’ telesales and canvassers. You’ll see opportunities to ‘set up your own business from home...’, zero hours contracts and temporary, casual vacancies.

One local employer recently recruited staff on piece work, which in reality means working long hard hours for significantly less than the minimum wage.

Most people need a job, and most people will do whatever they can to keep a roof over their heads and feed their family.

Most people will submit countless applications, trawl endless job sites and queue up for fruitless interviews,and many will eventually take whichever low-paid, insecure, self-employed, casual job they can get, because that’s all there is.

It’s time for Wyre to aspire for better for the people of our borough. It’s time to aspire to secure employment with decent pay and prospects.

I really don’t care whether jobs are private, public or third sector or even genuine self-employed start-ups.

I do care that our council is doing all it can to contribute towards proper employment opportunities and helping to restore hope and optimism in our community.

Coun Penny Martin

Leader Wyre Labour Group