Car enthusiasts flock to South Shore for massive Blackpool Illuminations convoy
Hundreds of car enthusiasts flocked to South Shore as drivers revved their engines and showed off their prized wheels ahead of a spectacular ride along Blackpool Illuminations.
Customised cars packed into the Squire’s Gate retail park car park at around 7pm on Sunday night to take part in a convoy through the famous lights, which was organised by North West car club Extreme BHP.
The event sparked controversy, however, as many local residents said they had not been informed - and were alarmed by the sound of ‘screeching tyres, engines revving and cars backfiring’.
Blackpool council and police said they too had no idea about the gathering, which filled every parking bay in the retail area.
A spokesman for the council said the authority had reported the event to the police, as permission is needed for all large events taking place on public land, including the Promenade.
They said: “We were not advised in advance about this event taking place at the car park which is private land. However, we were subsequently made aware of activity on the Promenade and reported the event to the police.”
Blackpool South MP Scott Benton said he had spoken to the chief superintendent about the event after being contacted by a number of consituents, and was awaiting a response.
He said: “I’m aware of the concerns of residents following the loud noise and disruption from a gathering of around 80 cars on the Squires Gate Industrial Park (Sunday) night.
“This was an organised gathering and these have happened before but the disruption to residents was far greater than usual. I have contacted the police to discuss how such noise and disruption to residents can be minimised in future.”
But Extreme BHP, which boasts more than 22,000 fans and organises car shows, track events, static meets, drag races and drifting events, all over the North West, defended the gathering.
A spokesman said: “We organised a drive through of the Illuminations, which we organise every year. We have had nothing but positive feedback from all who attended the convoy, our events are public so everyone knows about them... We’ve been running events for 13 years and have done 12 consecutive Illumination convoys. There mustn’t have been any complaints to the police at the time as they didn’t pop down.”
People took to social media to voice their concerns or support for the event.
Emma Dallas-Smith said: “It would’ve been nice to know in advance, as a local resident. My child has learning disabilities she was terrified with all the screeching of tyres, engines revving and cars backfiring. I could’ve prepared her for that had I of known in advance. Not to mention the dog also bring terrified, I could’ve given her, her medication which needs to be taken in advance of noisy events, had I of known this was taking place.”
Paul Nettleton said: “At the end of the day, the venue is too close to residential areas. Creating so much noise especially on a Sunday night when a lot of people have to get up for work the next day is completely thoughtless.”
He added: “A zero tolerance needs to be employed. These drivers just don’t care about the feelings of local residents.”
BHP Extreme member Rick Cross, said: “We all met on the car park to run a convoy through the lights, and then some went back afterwards I believe. Some of our staff team spent around 30 minutes picking up litter once the cars had left for the convoy, the majority of the litter not caused by us. The convoy started leaving at 7.45pm. And the last of it left the car park at 8.30pm. We try our best to make sure everybody behaves themselves, which from what we saw, they did.”
Wayne Wareing said: “It was organised and the cars were all in one place. Would you rather have popping, banging for a few hours or illegal ones with them racing round the streets to stupid o’clock? It’s on once every so often and doesn’t really go on that late. I think let them have their meets. Let them have their fun and keep it off the streets.
“It’s a bunch of people that have spent a lot of money on there cars and want other people to appreciate them. Believe me they wouldn’t want there cars damaging anymore than you not wanting to see it.”