Crazy Scots Bar closure 'not our fault' says Blackpool Council
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Landlord Hamish Howitt was outspoken in his criticism of the Council after he shut the doors of his Crazy Scots Bar in Rigby Road on Saturday (November 11).
After pulling his last pint, the 71-year-old Glaswegian issued a parting shot at the local authority. He claimed its redevelopment of the town centre and the Foxhall area had led to difficult trading conditions.
“We’ve got the local authority who are spending hundreds of millions on the town centre, totally disproportionately, and they’ve ruined our area completely,” he said.
"Then they knocked down all the hotels and guest houses (in Foxhall) which gave me 50% of my trade. I’ve survived and worked my guts out but I can’t do it anymore.”
Blackpool Council said it was disappointed to learn of Crazy Scots Bar’s closure, but dismissed Mr Howitt’s claims that it was due to revelopment of the resort.
Council hits back
A Blackpool Council spokesperson said: “It is always disappointing to learn that a business is closing but we do not accept that it is the result of our efforts to regenerate the town – building new homes, creating new jobs and investing in multi-million schemes to boost the local economy.
“Blackpool remains the UK’s most popular seaside destination with around 19 million visitors a year.
"We have the biggest range of branded family attractions outside London and an annual Illuminations display that spans four months, attracting around six million visitors at a time of year when many resorts are winding down.
“On Friday, we will be launching our Christmas By The Sea event, only a short distance from this venue. Events like this are designed to increase footfall at a typically quiet time of year in order to boost the local economy.”
Mr Howitt was previously embroiled in a battle with Blackpool Council over the smoking ban when it was introduced in 2007.
He was the first person to be prosecuted for flouting the ban after he refused to enforce it at his Rigby Road bar for 18 months.
He racked up a number of court appearances and lost thousands of pounds through costly court hearings as a result of his doomed battle.
The Council later revoked his licence, but in 2009, three months after Mr Howitt won a £30,000 High Court battle, council chiefs handed a permanent licence back to the venue.
“They made an example of me and I will never know how they got away with it,” he recalled in an interview with the Gazette in 2017.
He said his bar was meant to fund his pension, but added: “I’m now on a state pension. I owe more than the pub is worth. That’s all to do with big brother.”