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Pier chiefs facing a fight over flume bid

The log floom on the end of South Pier before it re-located to its current side adjacent to the pier.
The log floom on the end of South Pier before it re-located to its current side adjacent to the pier.

The owners of South Pier are applying for permission to keep a log flume ride in its current spot.

But the move is being opposed by planning officers – and rival attraction Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

Blackpool Pier Company was granted permission 18 months ago to re-locate the ride to its current position, on land north of South Pier, from its previous site on the end of the pier itself.

Planners agreed to the move after hearing from the owners that the switch was a temporary one, enabling another ride to replace it and improvements to be carried out at the western end of the pier.

But two years on, the ride is still there and has proved such a success the owners want it to be retained there.

The South Pier log flume is a big draw for holidaymakers in one of Blackpool’s biggest tourism areas.

It is the only one in Blackpool after the one on the Pleasure Beach was removed in 2006, although there are other water-based rides at the Pleasure Beach.

But planning officers say that while the move to its present location was acceptable on a short-term basis, the ride is wrong for the site on a more permanent footing and conflicts with aspects of the Local Plan.

And Blackpool Pleasure Beach has raised a number of concerns, including fears that the ride in its current location could undermine its own operation and possibly affect jobs. The report to the planning committee states: “When it was originally approved on a temporary basis it was felt that the proposed improvements to the western end of the existing pier justified supporting the temporary relocation of ride for a period of 18 months.

“In addition it was felt that a restriction on the hours of operation of the ride (10am to 10pm) would mitigate the concerns raised by a local resident and a local hotelier.

“However in the absence of the improvements to the western end of the pier it is felt that there is no justification for the retention of the ride in this location.

“Given there have not been any improvements to the western end of the pier this key material consideration no longer weighs in favour of the proposal.”

The application, which is recommended for refusal by officers, is due to go before Blackpool Council’s next planning meeting on Tuesday August 14.