Helicopter rides may return to the Prom

BLACKPOOL could be set for a deluge from the skies – thanks to a new helipad.

Plans have been lodged which could see the resort with its first landing and take-off pad since storms sent the last launch pad out to sea in 1997.

Blackpool Council has received proposals from Heli-Charter Ltd to use land at North Shore boating pool, off Queen's Promenade, as a base for helicopter flights and the plans are set to go before planning bosses in the New Year.

It is thought the base will be used for pleasure flights along the coast – reinvigorating a lost crowd-puller in the town.

Similar flights were grounded for good on Christmas Eve 1997 when torrential storms battered the Fylde coast.

Gale force nine winds descended on Blackpool, leaving thousands of homes without electricity on Christmas Day, trees blown into the road and slates torn from roofs.

As the emergency services stood on red alert, all they could do was watch as the fishing jetty at the end of North Pier disappeared beneath the waves along with the helipad.

Numerous plans have been put forward to bring the pad back but none has materialised. Leisure Parcs, which demolished the storm-wrecked jetty in 2000, shelved plans to revitalise it later that year to concentrate on the complete overhaul of all three piers.

And this year tourism bosses were left red-faced when a national campaign to bring visitors to Blackpool advised holidaymakers to walk the length of North Pier and "take to the skies on a helicopter pleasure trip".

The unfortunate slip-up was later put down to a mix-up between new promotional copy and pre-97 guides.