Curtain falls on museum plans

Punch and Judy man Martin Price at Blackpool Town Hall
Punch and Judy man Martin Price at Blackpool Town Hall
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Being pummelled by your 
opponent is not unusual in the council chamber.

Although usually the skirmishes are verbal.

So Punch and Judy man Martin Price should have felt right at home when he turned up to fight his corner in front of Blackpool Council’s 
planning committee.

Martin turned up in his full puppeteer’s costume to address councillors at the town hall.

But sadly despite his 
colourful regalia, his pleas fell on deaf ears and his bid to convert part of his hotel into a Punch and Judy museum was refused by the committee.

Martin told them: “I have been doing my shows since I was a small boy and I have what is probably the world’s largest Punch and Judy collection which I am going to put on show.

“It is not a sun lounge extension I am seeking, it is going to be something much more exciting.”

The bid was to use the basement of the Pelham Lodge Hotel on General Street as a Punch and Judy Museum, but also included building a front extension to the lobby which planners ruled would be out of keeping with the surrounding area.

It was that which led them to reject the proposal at Monday night’s meeting.

Mr Price performs Punch and Judy shows across Lancashire and was desperate for the plan to go ahead, saying the council had told him they are in favour of a Punch and Judy Museum, just not the extra building work.

But he told The Gazette he will return with another bid and has not given up hope of seeing the museum become reality.

After the meeting Martin said: “I am disappointed we couldn’t get the support of the committee, and I think their decision is very short-sighted.

“Perhaps Blackpool does not really want a Punch and Judy museum.

“I turned up at the meeting in my costume because I am a professor of Punch and Judy, and I wanted to show them what they would be missing.

“But I have not given up, and I hope to still pursue my ambition of opening the museum somehow.”