Joan is new keeper of resort’s jewels

Joan Humble outside the Grand Theatre which is part of Blackpool's rich heritage.
Joan Humble outside the Grand Theatre which is part of Blackpool's rich heritage.
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She is used to fighting Blackpool’s corner and now former MP Joan Humble is taking up arms again.

Mrs Humble, who held the Blackpool North and Cleveleys seat for Labour for 13 years, has been appointed new chairman of the Blackpool Civic Trust.

She has taken over from heritage stalwart Elaine Smith who will stay on as president.

It is Mrs Humble’s first public role since she stepped down from Parliament before the last General Election - and one she is relishing.

She said: “Elaine is a hard act to follow and it will be a steep learning curve for me.

“The job of the Civic Trust is about getting the right balance for Blackpool.

“We have to protect the wonderful buildings we have got and our heritage because that’s why so many visitors come to Blackpool, whether it’s the Winter Gardens, the Tower or the piers.

“But it is also about moving the town forward and making sure new buildings are in keeping with the past.

“So far we seem to be getting it right.

“When you look at the renovations to the Tower, that sits alongside the Comedy Carpet which is new but harks back to the time when we had all these nationally known comediens coming to town.”

While preserving our heritage is at the heart of what the Civic Trust does, being a watchdog for standards in new architecture is also key.

Mrs Humble said: “You only have to look at our awards for 2012 to see that.

“We gave an award to The Oracle which is the new youth centre on St Annes Road.

“It is an amazing piece of architecture which works really well for the young people who use it.

“Another award went to Bispham Library to recognise the changes made to that building so it can be used as a disability centre.

“So the Civic Trust fights for our heritage but it also looks for new developments which enhance the civic pride of the town.

“And we have a great team. There are hard-working members of the committee who have a wealth of experience and we’ll work together to do our best for Blackpool.”

Mrs Smith said she was delighted Mrs Humble had taken over as chairman.

Long-serving president Barry Shaw has also stepped down from his role to become vice-president.

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