Volunteers improve eyesore shop

Charlie Docherty, John Morgan and Gerard Walsh outside the newly cleaned up shop premises on Coronation Street
Charlie Docherty, John Morgan and Gerard Walsh outside the newly cleaned up shop premises on Coronation Street
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A trio of community-minded businessmen tackled an unsightly run-down building that was spoiling their street with paintbrushes and hammers.

Gerard Walsh, 48, owner of the St Nicholas Holiday Flats on Coronation Street, said that the dilapidated shop at the end of his street was driving customers away from his hotel, and that the reputation of Blackpool was suffering because of it.

Charlie Docherty and Gerard Walsh  outside the derelict shop premises on Coronation Street

Charlie Docherty and Gerard Walsh outside the derelict shop premises on Coronation Street

The former Skirts 4 Flirts lingerie shop building fell into disrepair after its closure two years ago.

Mr Walsh said: “This shop had been in that sorry state for a very long time. It was having a huge negative effect on business. People were coming to the hotel and they were saying ‘hasn’t Blackpool gone downhill’.

“Coronation Street is one of the main streets in Blackpool, so everybody sees it.

“We contacted the council to try and get them to fix them property up after speaking with various people who were concerned that nothing was being done. They said that they had written to the landlord.”

Not satisfied by the council’s course of action, Mr Walsh teamed up with fellow Central Blackpool Business Forum members Charlie Docherty and John Morgan to take the problem into their own hands.

He said: “We try to tackle local issues and problems that are affecting local businesses. When guests see these properties that look derelict and run-down they don’t want to come back.

“We wrote to the landlord and explained that the property was letting the whole area down and asked if we could step in to clean it up.”

Armed with DIY tools and a healthy dose of enthusiasm, the team spruced up the run-down shop over four days by replacing the rotting wooden window frames and livening it up with a lick of paint.

Father-of-two Mr Walsh said: “Now it’s all up for lease which is great, and we believe somebody has just taken up the offer.

“One of our mottos at Central Blackpool Business Forum is ‘Blackpool doesn’t have to look like this’. It just goes to show how local people can make a difference after feeling let down by the council.

“I’m Blackpool born and bred and I want to see this town prosper. People need to come here and see a cheerful place and not somewhere that’s run-down.”