Leader told regeneration must continue

The new leader of Blackpool Council, Simon Blackburn with Cllr Gillian Campbell
The new leader of Blackpool Council, Simon Blackburn with Cllr Gillian Campbell
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BLACKPOOL’S regeneration must continue for the good of tourism, businesses – and residents.

That’s the message after Labour took control of the town away from the Tories.

New council leader Coun Simon Blackburn has pledged to put the people first, and Blackpool North MP Paul Maynard said he hopes that means continuing with the vital regeneration work started by the last administration.

Conservative Mr Maynard said: “Naturally I’m disappointed the Conservatives don’t control Blackpool any more, and I think that’s for a complex range of reasons.

“I hope for the sake of the town Labour do a good job.

“Regeneration is a concern and something we raised continually, you need to understand regeneration projects in Blackpool are fundamental to the town’s future survival and you can’t just pull the plug because you feel like it.

“Great progress has been made. I’m sure while many people like me are frustrated by the road closures by the end of the year when everything is completed and we’ve a fantastic seafront people will see the benefits.”

The campaign that saw Labour storm to victory at the polls was based on five key promises – to cut the cost of democracy, to improve roads, tackle antisocial behaviour, improve transport, and to keep in touch with constituents.

Following his victory, Coun Blackburn pledged: “If you listen to people on their doorsteps, you hear their concerns are the bread and butter issues – dog dirt, litter, the cost of senior council officers, and asking why so many roads are closed.”

But visitBlackpool’s Claire Smith also hopes the investment in tourism won’t be lost under the new regime.

She said: “I don’t feel the new Labour council’s focus is on tourism like it had been, but there’s a lot of projects that are already in place and can’t be touched, which I’m pleased about.

“I hope that going forward Coun Blackburn and his colleagues will take a balanced approach and appreciate with support the little businesses in the town can help the situation we’re in. But we do need support and we will be looking to them for that.”

And Howard Lewis, chair of Blackpool Business Leadership Group, added: “We want to work with the Labour group as we have done with the Conservative council in the past to ensure we move the town forward in the right way.

“It’s vitally important the council and private sector have a strong relationship. We’ve all got the same goal in mind; to make the town a success.”