Blackpool bus station
White elephant fears
It is disappointing the former Talbot Road Bus Station has become a ‘white elephant’. Why?
New investors will harbour a reluctance to take a financial risk with a retail or leisure unit that needs tens of thousands of pounds required for the initial ‘kit out’ costs.
I personally looked at this site earlier this year for opening The Galleon Coffee Shop, but the sums just did not add up.
The rents and rates are excessive, the type of overheads you would ordinarily find in a prosperous city centre.
The independent consultants instructed to advise on the ‘text book’ valuations have clearly got it wrong.
The on-going losses from this building cost Blackpool Council Tax payers a serious amount of money.
With more than 800 car park spaces, this site has the capacity to operate on a LOW PRICING but HIGH TURNOVER basis.
My proposed business plan outlines an opportunity to fill this site on a year round basis Monday to Friday daytimes with workers and shoppers.
With an aim of attracting greater number of shoppers, visitors and leisure and retail workers offering the same £2 parking charges all day any day.
This initial pricing invective would re-establish the multi storey car park, increase town centre footfall, which in return would give the vacant retail units a chance of gaining some commercial interest from investors.
It is my view the Talbot multi storey is one of the finest car parks in the region, it is clean, dry, secure with CCTV and disability access.
I fear if action is not taken sooner rather than later this £7m investment will remain a long term loss maker, for Blackpool Council and the site will offer little more than the chance of being used for a car boot sale now and again.
New life needed for English regions
Scotland voted to stay in the union thanks to the solemn vow by the major party leaders of swiftly-delivered new powers.
A failure to deliver on this promise could lead to a catastrophic loss of trust north of the border and years of political and economic instability.
After all, why should the Nationalists stay silent for a generation if “perfidious Albion” decides to go back on its word?
But David Cameron’s insistence on tying Scots “devo max” to a solution for England’s constitutional issues looks set to lead us down this rocky path.
The question of “English votes for English issues” – the so-called West Lothian issue – has been around since the 1970s. It’s not been answered because it’s much more complex than it seems.
England’s 53 million population dwarfs Scotland’s five million and Wales’ three million. A decision on a so-called “English” matter could have a seismic knock-on effect for the smaller nations of the union.
Obtaining a lasting agreement will take time, and negotiations cannot, sensibly, be conducted during the febrile atmosphere of a general election campaign.
A new constitutional settlement for England must reach far beyond the walls of Parliament.
Our great towns and cities took their present form thanks to the Herculanean efforts of the municipal giants who organised water supplies and sewerage, electricity and gas, roads, schools, housing and job opportunities.
But modern politicians’ suspicion and contempt of local government has turned Britain into the most centralised state in the Western world.
This, in turn, has led to the anger which precipitated the Scottish referendum, and the cynicism and disengagement of the English electorate.
Councils have been starved of resources for decades, while being lumbered with substantial additional responsibilities, and having every aspect of their activities micro-managed by an all-seeing Whitehall.
This has sucked the lifeblood out of local democracy. It’s little wonder that council elections only attract 30 per cent to 40 per cent of the electorate.
Large cities, such as Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds, are already putting together demands for extra powers, and David Cameron looks set to heed them. But that will leave the rest of us with a huge and enduring “democratic deficit.” A North West Assembly might well suit Blackpool and the Fylde better.
This would serve a population of seven million people, and be capable of taking on powers similar to the Welsh Assembly for health, education, economic development, transport, the environment and agriculture.
David Cameron must think again and decouple the Scottish and English questions.
Only then can we get the permanent solution that will breathe new life into England’s diverse communities.
I would like to thank Peter and his staff of Harrold Rigbys Fish Restaurant on Waterloo Rd for hosting a charity evening for us. The food as always was superb and was only matched by the courtesy and friendliness of Peter and his team.
A quiz arranged and sponsored by Peter, a raffle and other fun events raised a grand total of £220.50. The proceeds raised will all go directly to help local animals in need.
We have moved from our old site on Division Lane to a new purpose built, state-of-the-art centre in Stalmine.
The large kennel and isolation block will enable us to care for around 40 dogs and we have a nursery area for a mum and pups. The cattery is up and running and the cats have settled very happily into their individual two storey pods.
We also have our own operating theatre which will reduce further stress caused by transporting animals who may already be suffering trauma.
Although across Shard Bridge the site is easily accessed by the Number 2C bus from Blackpool Town Centre providing a door to door service. When we have our grand opening day we will publicise the event in the hope that many of our supporters will come and visit us. Thanks once again to Peter for helping us to fund this project.
Ann M Turner
Honorary Secretary RSPCA