Demolition plan for Polo Tower

The Polo Tower in 1999 during a poppy appeal launch.
The Polo Tower in 1999 during a poppy appeal launch.
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It was once Blackpool’s second Tower.

Now the Polo Tower has been earmarked for demolition amid safety fears.

Residents in its current home of Morecambe have complained the 168ft landmark at the old Frontierland fairground site was swaying and creaking noises could be heard at the base.

An investigation by structural engineers found there was no imminent danger, but owners Morrisons have told Lancaster City Council they believe the tower should still be pulled down.

No date has been set for the proposed demolition as further survey work is scheduled and the council will first have to give planning permission.

The Polo Tower has been a controversial fixture on Morecambe seafront since 1994.

It was originally known as the Space Tower and was built at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in 1974.

The tower was moved in 1993 to make way for the Big One rollercoaster and was installed at Frontierland, also owned by the Thompson family of Blackpool.

The tower, sponsored by Polo mints, opened in 1995 and boasted a revolving circular platform which went up and down the structure, offering spectacular views across the bay at the top.

Although initially the tower proved popular it soon fell into disuse and a state of disrepair.

Frontierland closed in 2000 after visitor numbers continued to fall but the 
tower remained.

Morrisons had a contract with a telecommunications company to use the giant Polo tube as a mast until the agreement expired in 2013.

Since the park closed, the site has had a chequered history.

In 2001 planning permission was given to build a Freeport-style retail outlet village on the derelict site but the plans were scrapped due to little interest from retailers.

A further proposal to build a hotel, leisure club and luxury apartments on the site collapsed in 2009 when the developers went bust.

In 2007, Coun Ron Sands called for Morecambe residents to boycott Polo mints until the shabby tower was pulled down because it was “neither a credit to Morecambe’s spectacular seafront promenade nor the nation’s favourite mint”.

Then in 2013 developers Opus North revealed a £17m blueprint for a shopping park, hotel and family pub on the Frontierland site, to include demolition of the Polo Tower and its replacement with a piece of public art.

After overwhelming public support for the plans, Opus North was recently told by Lancaster City Council to go back to the drawing board and provide more information on “highways and traffic, retail impacts and elevational detail”.

Revised plans are expected shortly before the council can make a decision.