A mammoth five-year project to improve the quality of water found at beaches on the Fylde coast is to start in the coming weeks.
United Utilities announced plans to replace the area’s pumping station and extend the outfall pipe further out to sea in November in a bid to reduce the amount of storm water being found in bathing water.
The work is expected to begin in April and will close off half of Anchorsholme Park to residents.
Phase one will see a storage tank built, but phase two of the work will not get underway until 2016 or 2017 when the 4.5km outflow pipe to transport the water to Fleetwood will be put in place 30 metres underground.
The final plans for phase two are yet to be revealed.
But Coun Paul Galley, Anchorsholme ward councillor for Blackpool Council, believes that while the work will be an inconvenience for some, it will improve Blackpool in the long term.
He said: “It’s a massive overhaul of the park and there’s a massive amount of money going into it.
“In my role as a councillor I want to make sure everything that is taken out of the park is put back.
“Once the work is finished we will be left with the same size park but we have to make sure it’s better.
“Residents are concerned, partially about the park and about traffic flow, and there’s uncertainty because we don’t know the final plans.
“Equally, they are pleased the water will be treated because none of us want untreated water going on to the beaches.”
The project will be funded by Ofwat, and is separate to the £86m grant from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Environment Agency for the Rossall and Anchorsholme sea defence scheme.
Steve Wong, from United Utilities, said: “This is all about us trying to reduce the volume of storm water running into the sea.
“When there are floods, the rain water backs up and goes into the sea as untreated storm water, affecting the bathing waters.
“If we take the water further out, the depth and distance of it entering the sea from the shore dilutes the impact.”
He added: “We recognise that our work in this location is going to have an impact on the community who enjoy using the park.
“It’s for this reason we’re working closely with Blackpool Council and Friends of Anchorsholme Park group to make sure any impact is kept to a minimum.”
Resort water quality listed as mandatory
According to the Marine Conservation Society’s Good Beach Guide, Blackpool’s water quality is currently listed as mandatory, which means it hits the minimum water quality.
In 2011 and 2012 the Good Beach Guide revealed Blackpool’s beaches did not meet the minimum water quality standard and failed the tests.
The United Utilities work is supported by the Environment Agency and will involve replacing Anchorsholme’s pumping station and installing an outflow pipe 30 metres underground.