Letters - September 25, 2017
motorway closure woe just keeps on happening
Anyone who has endured the misery of sitting in a traffic jam on one Lancashire’s motorways in the past few weeks will surely have taken the opportunity to reflect on just how dependent we have become on the motor car. In the past three weeks alone I have spent more than two hours sat in standing traffic on the M6 on three separate occasions.
Another time I was fortunate enough to have been alerted to a closure but then had to face near gridlock on the roads which, on this occasion, must have been a good 20 miles from the accident as the crow flies. ‘Oh, to be that crow’ I thought as I contemplated another crawl along an A road to hell.
Even when enjoying the luxury of a journey along a clear section of motorway this week I took no pleasure in passing a jam stretching between several junctions of the southbound carriageway, especially as I could see there was very little going on at the scene of the accident to get the traffic rolling again.
While accident investigators must be able to do their job there did not seem a great deal of haste, from the short time I could see what was going on, to get even just one lane of what was by then a cleared carriageway open.
Accidents have happened for as long as there have been roads but it seems the emergency services are still not great at minimising the impact on those parked up behind as they try to resist the lure of the hard shoulder when the call of nature starts calling louder as it inevitably does in such circumstances.
If only public transport really was a viable alternative to the majority of journeys we have to take.
Letter disrespectful to our residents
Coun David Owen’s letter stating that there will never be a return of large commercial flights to Blackpool Airport demonstrates a complete lack of vision, ambition and disrespect for the people of Blackpool and his constituents in the south of the town.
Nobody expects to see Ryanair, Jet2 or any other major operator knocking on Blackpool’s door next week begging to be let in but the growth of the industry is already putting pressure on the two main regional airports and the future is yet to happen.
Blaming experiences and mistakes of the past are not good enough reasons to give up on our ambitions completely. They should actually be the building blocks of learning to get it right going forward.
How else does he think that small regional airports such as Leeds Bradford, Teeside, Exeter and even Humberside have grown from portable cabins into some of the busiest travel hubs in the UK. Blackpool could have done the same if it had been managed properly with the intention and ambition to reach further.
The population and housing growth in Lancashire has certainly contributed to the long queues and delays at our two large regional airports and Blackpool airport is uniquely positioned to benefit from this growing market.
I believe the way forward is to expand on the heliport and private jet side of the airport’s business whilst seeking out the potential for charter flights and UK regional connecting opportunities. At the same time continue to invest in the fabric of the airport to be in a position to start courting the bigger operators again.
When we did have the foot fall and international jets arriving at our airport this council did nothing to market or capture any additional business including stay and fly weekends etc.
They also sat on their hands when the troubles with Balfour Beatty and the airlines started and they were completely inactive when Balfour sold off all the scanners, trolleys and all other associated equipment necessary for passenger flights and even they allowed and encouraged the terminal building to be demolished to make way for an energy college that is already in trouble and unlikely to operate fully until 2019 if at all.
I believe in the future of our airport and fear for it being down sized or lost completely.
I am realistic that getting it back to being a fully functioning passenger terminal may be a hard task but we have to try and not be so dismissive of what can be.
Coun Owen and his colleagues should take heed of Michelangelo’s words: “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low and hitting our mark”.
Blackpool’s motto should still be ‘Progress’ not Apathy.
Coun Tony Williams
Leader of the Conservative Group Blackpool Council
Help find friends and relatives
I am 90 in January and my purpose in writing to the newspaper is in the hope that someone will read it and contact me.
I am trying to trace my long lost relatives and friends from the time that I lived and worked in Blackpool and Lancashire.
I was born in London to a Maltese father and an English mother. When they were killed by a bomb in the last war, I was evacuated up to Blackpool to some people named Mercer where I worked for them doing the local markets in Blackburn, Chorley, Accrington, Preston selling cheese.
I am trying to trace my wife’s (deceased) family and those children from the Mercers. I married a daughter of the Mercers.
I found some relatives of my father in Malta from a newspaper article about my search. Now I’m in Lancashire trying to trace others both from my wife and the Mercers, Sam Mercer, Bert Mercer, Tom Mercer and John and Alice (nee Ashcroft) who had two kids. My wife and our two children went to Australia to live in Brisbane in 1953 but it is my desire to find relatives and friends as I am now old.
Please email [email protected]
Basil J Povis