Calls have been made for an urgent redevelopment of a “forgotten” area of Blackpool littered with dilapidated and eyesore buildings.
Residents, tourists and hoteliers alike have said it is time for the New South Promenade area of the resort to have money invested in it, to bring it up to speed with areas such as Talbot Gateway and the Tower Headland. The calls come as hoteliers close to The Palm Beach Hotel, which was gutted by a huge fire in June, call for it to be demolished before it deteriorates further. The hotel neighbours one which has been boarded up and is just metres from a rest home left boarded up and other building falling into disrepair.
Alan Ackroyd, who owns the Kingsbury Hotel which is also on New South Promenade, said: “It needs completely levelling before someone is seriously harmed or killed by falling debris.
“I don’t like walking near it because it is so bad. One of my neighbours has already had a big piece of debris fall into her garden.
“We have had high winds recently and, as winter approaches, it is likely we will get more bad weather which is just going to make the building even worse.”
Resident Carol Shaw, 64, who lives on nearby Bentinck Avenue, said: “It’s terrible to see. It’s like they’ve forgotten about this part of town.
“They’ve made a really good go of it in the town centre, it looks lovely. I wish they’d do it here now.”
Chris McMahon, 54, from Layton, said: “There are buildings left to rack and ruin and it spoils the area.
“I’d like to see them repaired and back to how it was. It’s up to the businesses and hoteliers to sort out.”
The calls were made to both council bosses and – importantly – private developers who own buildings in the area.
Council bosses have said they are doing all they can to both encourage and enforce building owners to take responsibility for their properties, including issuing notices and providing workers to spruce up tired looking buildings.
Coun Gillian Campbell said: “We are in discussions with the owners and are working towards finding a long term solution for the future.”
Mrs Shaw said: “I’d like to see workers doing more to tidy up.
“The council need to be enforcing them changing the buildings that look such a mess.”
And Mr Ackroyd said: “Has the council any powers to force the owners to flatten the building?
“The cost of this would be more than covered when their plans to develop the site happen.”
Blackpool Council said it was monitoring the building to ensure it does not become a risk to the public.
And the authority has also said it would be willing to consider “multi-use” proposals, to allow residential and complementary developments, such as housing, a pub or shops, in the predominantly tourist area.
The authority’s planning boss, Coun David Owen, chairman of the planning committee, said they are always keen to see investment in the town, providing it is “right” investment for the “right” reasons.
He said: “Any constructive ideas we’re bound to look at. We’re obviously desperate to get investment of all kinds, as long as it’s in Blackpool’s interests.
“It’s a great pity at South Beach because these have been elegant properties over the years.”
Residents have said they fear the area, a gateway to the town for visitors to the Illuminations and Pleasure Beach, gives tourists a bad impression of the town, as well as the negative impact it has on their own properties.
Mrs Shaw added: “It reflects badly on the town to tourists.”
Tourist Pat O’Brien, visiting Blackpool from Knutsford with three generations of his family, said: “It’s quite disappointing as a first impression of the town.
“We expected smarter buildings.”
And fellow visitor Neil Pinghorn, visiting from Northumberland with his wife and son, added: “It’s all glitz and glam in Blackpool.
“It needs money spending down here too, to be updated. It is a shame to see.”
Susan Mason, 59, visiting for a day from Liverpool, said: “I don’t know what they can do here, it’s got the Pleasure Beach and the transport links but there’s no easy access to the beach.
“It’s such a shame it’s like this.”
Sindhu Vee, 34, spending time in the resort with family, from Coventry, said: “Most of the town looks lovely but this part of town is just two star, it needs a lot of improvement.”