REVEALED: The number of properties owned by Russian nationals in Blackpool

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There are 32 properties in Blackpool owned by people based in Russia, figures show.

They are among 1,127 properties across England and Wales registered to individuals with a correspondence address in the country.

The Centre for Public Data obtained the figures on overseas ownership from the Land Registry using Freedom of Information laws.

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They show the City of Westminster has the most property owned by Russia-based individuals, at 87.

32 properties in Blackpool are owned by Russian nationals32 properties in Blackpool are owned by Russian nationals
32 properties in Blackpool are owned by Russian nationals

This is followed by Liverpool, with 72, and Tandridge in Surrey, with 57.

Blackpool is eighth in the national rankings.

The number of properties across England and Wales owned by individuals in Russia has rocketed in recent years, increasing 13-fold between January 2010 and August 2021.

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There is no suggestion that any of these people have links to the Putin regime.

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But the war in Ukraine has brought renewed focus on Russian-owned property and other assets in Britain.

The UK government today announced it was freezing the assets of seven oligarchs, including Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich.

It has forced a halt to Abramovich’s attempts to sell the club. He had said proceeds from the sale would be donated to victims of the war.

Marek Polkowski from South Shore has two daughter currently living in KyivMarek Polkowski from South Shore has two daughter currently living in Kyiv
Marek Polkowski from South Shore has two daughter currently living in Kyiv

A further group of Russia-based oligarchs close to Putin have also been placed under sanction.

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Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: “Today’s sanctions show once again that oligarchs and kleptocrats have no place in our economy or society. With their close links to Putin they are complicit in his aggression.

“The blood of the Ukrainian people is on their hands. They should hang their heads in shame.

“Our support for Ukraine will not waver. We will not stop in this mission to ramp up the pressure on the Putin regime and choke off funds to his brutal war machine.”

Roman AbramovichRoman Abramovich
Roman Abramovich

Opposition leader Keir Starmer had been among those pushing for further sanctions, saying: “For too long our country has been a safe-haven for the money that Putin and his fellow bandits stole from the Russian people.”

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In 2021, it was revealed that a quarter of property sales in the UK were to Russian buyers.

The resort has pledged it’s support to the people of Ukraine in their battle against Russian invaders.

At the beginning of the conflict Blackpool’s most famous landmark – The Tower- was illuminated in the colours of the Ukraine flag as it joined monuments all over the world in showing their support.

Local people with relatives in the war-torn country have also told The Gazette of their fears for the safety of their loved ones.

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This week, Marek Polkowski, 47, a security worker who has lived in Blackpool for nine years, told how his two eldest daughters are living in a five-storey apartment block which has already been damaged by shelling by the invading Russian army.

He said: “I’m just a normal person, I can do nothing to help them and all I can do is watch and I try and keep in touch by Facebook and tell them to stay safe.

"It is worrying for me, really difficult, with everything that is going on, the situation changes every day.

"Already the building where they live has been damaged by Russian shells and they are really scared – they hear explosions all the time."

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And Blackpool-based Ukrainian artist Anna Ravliuc- Bloomfield’s war-inspired collection of fine-art has been shown in New York and Vienna, and will appear at Tea Amantes in April.

Anna, who moved to Blackpool in 2019, said she felt the war with her every fibre.

She said: “My friends were living in Georgia when Russia invaded [in 2008]. They told me the horrors they were going through. I then remembered the Russian war in Transnistria, the chaos in Moldova.”

Anna’s father had been a prisoner of GULAG (Soviet labour camps that held political prisoners between the 1920s to 1950s) and memories of his stories came flooding back.

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She added: “History repeats itself. Many people saw the events leading to this crisis, but the brain refused to accept it. It was like a bad dream, a parallel reality. Now it's a real nightmare.”

Meanwhile, the organiser of the Fylde Aid for Ukraine Appeal has issued his thanks for the “tremendous” generosity which has seen thousands of essential items and more than £6,500 donated to help the refugees displaced by war in their country.

Fylde Aid For Ukraine organiser Matthew Paczkowski said: “We have been absolutely overwhelmed with the level of support we’ve received.

“The level of support with donations from the people of the Fylde has been tremendous. We’ve had literally thousands of essential items donated from toiletries, baby products, batteries and power banks to sleeping bags, airbeds, bedding and towels. The list is huge and we are eternally grateful to every single person who has helped and donated."

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New laws designed to tackle “dirty money” hidden in the UK have cleared the House of Commons, amid calls for ministers to go further on seizing oligarchs’ assets.

The Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill received an unopposed third reading after it was rushed through the Commons on Monday.

Reforms contained in the Bill have faced months of delays and only moved up the Government’s list of priorities following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

They will undergo further scrutiny in the House of Lords, with business minister Paul Scully committing the Government to making further amendments to deal with concerns over potential loopholes in the Bill.

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These include on dealing with what Conservative former leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith labelled a “back door” to those hoping to avoid reporting requirements under the new register of overseas entities.

The legislation is set to establish a new register of overseas entities requiring foreign owners of property in the UK to declare their true identity.