Fury at 'embarrassment' as hunt continues for new spot for Star Flyer ride at centre of remarkable row in Blackpool
Town hall chiefs were blasted by a senior Conservative councillor after a half-built ride in St John’s Square was ordered back down again for being too big.
The council insists it isn’t to blame for the blunder, which led to the delay of the Winter Gardens Wonderland festivities, which was meant to get underway today as part of the resort’s bigger Christmas goings-on.
But Coun Tony Williams, leader of Blackpool’s Tory party, hit out at the Labour-run authority, saying: “Doesn’t anyone forward plan these events anymore? Once again the failure of promised events and other promotions in Blackpool have caused the town huge embarassment.
“We are supposed to be Europe’s most successful tourist destination yet we continue to shoot ourselves in the foot.
“No doubt the ‘post-mortem’ on this latest disaster will see both the promotions company and Blackpool Council blame each other – but somewhere down the line money will be involved and there will be no doubt claims for lost revenue.”
A council spokeswoman said yesterday ‘no technical specification’ was received before the 260ft Star Flyer ride – more than half the height of the Tower – arrived, with officials deciding it was too big to safely open in the town centre plaza, which is open to traffic.
The authority later said it ‘did not play any role in ordering, planning, or procuring the proposed’ ride.
It added: “The plan that was originally proposed ... was for small-scale children’s rides but the organisers made a late change in their plans.
“When this particular ride arrived in the square, the installation started without the necessary council approvals.
“It became clear that the overall footprint of the ride, coupled with vehicle mitigation measures [understood to be bollards to stop traffic crashing intothe ride] made it too big to fit in the square.”
Blackpool Promotions, a private firm, planned to make the ride a key part of the Wonderland programme.
The council said it is still looking for a new location for it.
A spokesman for Blackpool Promotions said yesterday morning, when workmen arrived in St John’s Square with a craine to dismantle the Star Flyer: “Once the ride had been partially construct it became clear through dialogue with the council and emergency services it would not be able to operate in the space we were originally proposing.”
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