‘We need new attractions to give us a lift’

Blackpool Councillor 'Coun Tony Lee
Blackpool Councillor 'Coun Tony Lee
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More attractions could revive the fortunes of a “depressed” area of Blackpool, a councillor has claimed.

Coun Tony Lee, who represents the South Shore ward of Waterloo, made the comments after business chiefs met with Town Hall bosses to discuss the suburb’s regeneration.

Coun Lee told The Gazette: “We’re lacking new attractions.

“We have the Pleasure Beach but we need other attractions.

“It is a depressed area and we’re looking to try and get some assistance to get some things for the shops and help shopkeepers, such as improved frontages and hanging baskets.

“We don’t want these businesses shutting down because if every one of them gets to the stage where they can employ just one more person each there’ll be no job problems in the town. As a town we’ve got to try harder to sort this out.”

The meeting, held at the Queen Victoria Hotel, on Station Road, saw five officers from the council, including chief executive Neil Jack, meet up with representatives of tourism businesses from the Waterloo ward.

Initial discussions were held about ways to help to tackle problem properties in the area, working with community volunteers on sprucing up the area and supporting local events.

Fred Jackson, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for urban regeneration, said: “The meeting follows up on a similar meeting last year and allowed people to ask questions and make suggestions about how the council can help businesses succeed.

“I understand a very productive discussion took place.

“It’s vital that we hold these types of listening events to help different sections of the community and I’m pleased we’ve been able to help.”

Mark Yates, former chairman of the South Shore business forum, believes action needs to be taken in the area sooner rather than later.

He said: “Anything that encourages people to come here has to be a good thing, but there’s lots of social problems that we need to address as well.

“It’s not business meetings we need, it’s free parking in accessible areas.

“We need a better image, and we need local people to come here and shop so we need the things that they need to be here too.”