Concerns at council tourism cut

Claire Smith of No 1 St Luke's Rd
Claire Smith of No 1 St Luke's Rd
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HOTELIERS today hit out in the wake of a town hall shake-up which leaves the resort without a dedicated tourism director.

Under the proposed new Blackpool Council management structure, revealed in The Gazette yesterday, responsibility for tourism and regeneration will transfer to the chief executive’s department and be managed by new assistant chief executive Alan Cavill.

The move is part of tough new measures to scrap five senior management posts and shave £1.8m off the town hall wage bill over the next four years.

But hotelier groups fear it could damage the town’s tourist trade.

StayBlackpool president Claire Smith said: “For a town known for being bold we need people at the top with a clear vision who are willing to fight for what they believe is right.

“Regeneration money has been brought in in recent years and to do that you need people with the expertise and the clout to make successful bids for funding.”

Gary Pretty, chairman of Blackpool Combined Association, an umbrella group for holiday traders, added: “We’re a tourism town and every business in town is directly affected by tourism. So we need someone dedicated to push for business.

“I know cuts have to be made but they are being made in the wrong place.”

But deputy council leader Coun Fred Jackson said tourism remained a priority.

He said: “Within the shake -up being proposed there will be at the very top a senior officer who will have responsibility for the whole area of tourism.

“We are making sure it is looked after. It is a very important part of what Blackpool does.”