Update 14 – January 2021

Posted on: Thu Jan 7 by Tom Barlow

THE OLD YEAR OUT

In a year so dominated by the dreaded Covid epidemic, and with so many families who have had the misfortune to be touched by its lingering effects be that the loss of loved ones, or the health impact of Long Covid, it puts many of life’s other setbacks into sharp perspective, including our own skirmish to try and stave off the unnecessary development of on East Park Drive.

Yet it remains for us a fight still worth the undertaking, to retain this green space in whatever guise, so long as it remains as green space and has free access for the residents of the Fylde, and not a theme park for the occasional tourist.

We managed to make it an uncomfortable year for Blackpool Labour Councillors and the senior management team, and the evidence for this comes in the way that they have responded, or not, to the reasoned arguments and factual evidence, which they continue to choose to ignore.

  • Councillors chose to reject a petition signed by more than 2,000 Blackpool and Fylde residents with a simple request to just consider an alternative site for this development.
  • Councillors have chosen not to engage with their constituents.
  • The complete lack of any consultation with service users and residents.
  • The Councils collusion with HIP prior to procurement process.
  • Their ineffectual due diligence procedures.

An investigation by the Local Government Ombudsman commenced in 2020, in relation to the above, and is currently ongoing.

Yet despite our setbacks it has not been all roses for the Council or Holmes Investment Properties either Despite having been given an operating licence to run the golf course, under the guise of HIP’s new limited company (Stanley Park Golf Course Ltd) Covid restrictions and the weather have conspired to make this possibly the worst year in the history of the course, and like many other business’s outgoings will be outstripping income, with the losses incurred the course must now be a unwanted liability to HIP.

Added to this at the end of the year HIP’s closing share value was 0.006 Euro, in other words their shares have no value!

Then the news that David Lloyd and Adrenaline world are no longer to be associated with the flagship PEAK development on the 300-acre Birchall Estate near Sheffield. Presumably, they were unable to raise the required funding for this project, which has now been handed to another investor, according to the recent report in the Sheffield Star 4th November 2020.

As HIPs main partner in the Blackpool development none of this can bode well going into 2021.

THE NEW YEAR IN

As we write this the news of the vaccination programme is underway, helping to kick start the new year on a positive note, but we are far from out of the woods yet.

COVID will continue to impact on our lives for many months yet, and it cannot help but affect how we respond to the challenges that our campaign will face in the year to come!

We remain vigilant regarding what next steps Blackpool Council and HIP will take following the Councils decision to approve the appropriation of the land and as such its change of use from green open space to land with development potential.

We are monitoring the Planning Website to see where HIP is in relation to any application they may seek to make.

The advice we have been given regarding the planning process is that we cannot object until such time as there is something to object about, however that does not mean that we should stop trying to encourage new members to join the campaign and continue to canvass those who may be able to influence the outcome in our favour.

Do not let the Councillors off the hook, we need to keep this issue hot and smelly right under their noses!

Let us apply Water Torture, we would encourage you to keep up the drip, drip, drip of emails letters and complaints, make a note to do this once or twice a month, with bite size issues, not just to Councillors but also to Neil Jack the CEO, and Directors like Alan Cavill, John Blackledge, and Steve Thompson, letters would be best, and according to Blackpool’s own procedure you should receive a reply within 10days.

If you do not, then you can log here to make a comment or a complaint.

https://selfservice.blackpool.gov.uk/ss/renderform.aspx?noheader=1&t=652&k=EFAD61F4E6A5BF807C482D1D9B8B06A5BC6D1D10

2.4 Comment

“A verbal or written remark expressing an opinion, reaction or concern.”

2.5 Comments are when people, who are not necessarily service users want to make the Council aware of something so action can be taken. It could be an opinion, a request for service or a concern.

2.6 We believe that listening to our customers’ comments helps us improve the way we do things.

We welcome any suggestions about how we might do things differently or better and are committed to taking things seriously.

2.1 Complaint

“An expression of dissatisfaction by one or more members of the public about the Council’s action or lack of action or about the standard of service, whether the action was taken, or the service provided by the Council itself or a person or body acting on behalf of the Council.”

2.2 The Corporate Customer Feedback Policy deals with all complaints where there is not a separate specific or legal procedure to deal with the matter, these are referred to as ‘corporate complaints.’

2.3 For a complaint to be considered within the Corporate Customer Feedback Policy, the complaint must be about a service that the Council delivers.

Clearly, they are incapable of understanding the bigger picture, but perhaps they may grasp it if the flaws of this development are spelt out to them one at a time.

Why not start by sending out a letter in January, making comment on the news about the collapse of Adrenaline Worlds Sheffield Investment?

Ask for a written reply so that we can collate the responses we get.

Just remind them that we have not given up the fight and we are not going away.

Welcome to LOCKDOWN 2021, which is predicated to extend until the end of March, and as such once again restricts our ability to take responsible collective community action.

Look at it like a period of hibernation, we can store up our energy to return in the Spring with a range of community led campaigns, when the days are longer and the weather warmer.

In the meantime, watch out for a funding appeal which we hope will provide sufficient monies to commence a leaflet campaign to Blackpool Residents.

With over 65,000 households in Blackpool, this can only be done with a targeted approach, starting with those Wards surrounding Stanley Park. With individually designed message that resonates with the residents of that Ward, for example either the traffic issues or the devaluation of dwellings due to the proximity of a noisy theme park!   At the same time pointing out the role of their Ward Councillor in this fiasco!

As always Keep Safe and Stay Well