‘£4m loss to town’ as dancers head north

Pictures Martin Bostock'Britain's Got Talent winner George Sampson at the World Dance Championships, Winter Gardens, Blackpool.
Pictures Martin Bostock'Britain's Got Talent winner George Sampson at the World Dance Championships, Winter Gardens, Blackpool.
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BLACKPOOL could lose out to the tune of £4m after the resort lost the World Street Dancing Championships to Glasgow.

The United Dance Organisation (UDO), which runs the event, confirmed it will move away from the Winter Gardens for the first time in its eight-year history this year.

The owner of a South Shore-based dance crew which has bred past world champions described the decision to move the event to Scotland as “a massive blow” for the resort.

Samantha Bell runs FY West Coast, on St Annes Road, which competed in the very first championships in 2006.

She said: “It’s very upsetting and it’ll definitely make people from Blackpool feel differently about it. Street dance is becoming really popular and a lot of dance crews have started up in Blackpool.

“If it was here they could go and watch or actually take part.

“It’s very disappointing and it’s massive blow for the town.”

Simon Dibley, chief executive officer of UDO, said the blame for the resort losing the event lay with Blackpool Council for cutting its funding to the organisation.

He said: “It’s a shame and we didn’t want to move.

“Our help in the early days came from the authority and unfortunately they turned down our funding.

“It’s bizarre to me because they helped grow it into an enormous event which was worth £4m a year to the local area.

“I totally understand all councils are levied with cuts but I’d have done my maths and realised events like this make income and save jobs.”

Opposition councillor Paul Galley said he also believed losing the event, which brings 6,000 people to the resort each year, would cost local businesses millions of pounds – based on the amount Glasgow is predicted to gain from holding the competition.

FY West Coast is among the dance troupes competing in the North West Street Dance Championships at the Winter Gardens tomorrow.

A spokesman for Marketing Blackpool, which runs events for the resort’s council, said: “The UDO dance event was supported for three years as part of the North West Development Agency’s financial support for events in Blackpool during this time.

“We made further funding available in the fourth year but it was made clear this would not continue as the event had become commercially viable and profitable.

“We are here to ensure Blackpool benefits from all events and it is our responsibility to encourage and support new and continued investment in the resort, and loyalty.”

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