I am delighted the Winter Gardens complex is beginning to capitalise on our decision and investment to purchase this valuable asset to the town.
The recent announcement that full blown musicals and other headline shows will be added to the existing bill at the Opera House is proof as we predicted that the theatre can return to its former glory.
Bob Dylan only plays theatres when he tours, preferring the relative intimacy of a smaller venue than that of a large auditorium.
Perhaps his success in regard to ticket sales after choosing the Opera House might now encourage other music icons to follow suit and it is something I would strongly recommend the operators follow up on.
During the 60s and 70s residents of Blackpool always looked forward to the end of the season when the town belonged to them once more.
After the summer season shows had finished both the Opera House and the ABC reverted back to being cinemas.
I remember the Opera House always showed two major feature films each night and even served cups of tea and coffee in the theatre itself during the intermission.
When we were in administration and arranged the purchase of the Opera House we urged the new operators to consider turning the clock back and re-introduce a family cinema offer during parts of the season especially in the dark winter months.
I hope they have listened to our advice and will still consider this suggestion.
There are now no town centre cinemas and I am sure residents would enjoy an alternative to the multiplex experience and also the surroundings of a traditional theatre.
I also trust the council would consider a late night, low price parking scheme in West Street car park to support this idea.
Coun Tony Williams
Leader of the Conservative Group
Fracking on the Fylde
In response to Chris Wiseman (Letters ,June 29) regarding shale gas extraction, I would like to point out that the Energy Secretary lives right over a shale deposit.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change has identified areas in southern England as having the best shale gas potential; therefore Mr (Michael) Fallon would be potentially affected if the fracking process was approved by him.
Furthermore a study by the BGS (British Geological Society) has found major finds down south.
Do you really think the Tory government will want to upset their supporters by approving an unsafe practice?
It is true that we should be looking to move to greener sources of energy such as hydroelectric or solar but at the present time we are still reliant on fossil fuels so we need to tap into this new source of gas.
Reason for abstaining
An article about approval being granted for phase two of Jones Homes’ development on Chain Lane, Staining, reported four councillors abstained from voting on this application (Gazette, June 27).
I was one of those councillors and welcome this opportunity to explain my own reasons for doing so.
I have no doubt if Fylde Council’s development management committee had been able to vote purely according to residents’ wishes, the application would have been unanimously refused.
However, this committee is a quasi-judicial committee.
We are there to apply the law as laid down by central government, not simply to express the wishes of the community we have been elected to represent.
There were two potential valid planning reasons that could have been used to refuse this application – flooding, and the loss of land designated as countryside.
With regard to flooding, I asked why there was such a difference between local opinion and that of the relevant statutory bodies. Specifically, I asked whose opinion we were obliged to accept. The answer was we had to take the advice of the statutory bodies.
As for the loss of countryside, central government has made it clear this is not currently a valid reason for us to refuse applications, as we have not given permission for the number of dwellings they say we need in the next five years.
Given these facts, there were no defendable grounds on which to refuse the application.
My abstention therefore reflects the fact Fylde Council is, in effect, no longer the Local Planning Authority.
Central government has removed our ability to make decisions on behalf of Fylde residents.
Planning, particularly for large applications, is now directed by central government.
I will be proposing at the next full council meeting that Fylde’s development management committee be renamed as “Large Planning Application Rubber-stamping Committee”.
Perhaps Fylde can send a message to central government that we want to see some of that Localism they promised and then we can get back to doing what’s right for Fylde.
Coun Charlie Duffy