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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Weather Stops Planes & Other Matters

Blackpool's weekend airshow highlight was summarily cancelled (or at least the Saturday part) due to exceptional bad weather bringing gales, rain and difficult flying conditions. Fortunately Sunday proved to be far less stressful for pilots, organisers and visitors. A sizeable crowd filled the central promenade and north pier frontage to gaze (and hear) the anticipated flypasts of extremely fast military aircraft, and the aeronautic tactics of more leisurely planes doing stunt flying.

As the images below show - attention of the crowds was firmly fixed seaward despite the familiar competing transport attractions behind them on the promenade.

The delights of a 1930s double deck tram are spurned by the hundreds of visitors lured to the promenade in very unseasonal weather to witness Blackpool's (free) airshow.

Standard 147 was marginally more successful in luring ridership - seen here arriving from a trip further north. It will be interesting to see how open balcony Standard 143 fares when it

begins summer season service in contrasting red and offwhite livery next year.


On a far more serious note today's news media carry coverage of the newly formed Parliamentary All Party Group led by Mike Hill MP for Hartlepool - aimed at helping seaside resorts around the country, having recognised the serious state many coastal towns find themselves in 2019. This adds even more weight to the House of Lords Select Committee findings on the same issue whose report was released earlier this summer.

The commonality of factors combining in bringing about persisting economic and social decline of seaside towns of all shapes and sizes requires urgent attention according the the Parliamentary Group. Ageing populations swelled by retirees add ever increasing burdens of social and health charges on local Councils already grappling with downturns in year round meaningful employment which especially impact on the young. Broken or non existent transport connectivity allowing fluid movement of people to work in localities and the absence of higher paying jobs with career paths are also recognised as being of especial concern. Train/rail access being a particular issue - (familiar to anyone living in Thornton or Fleetwood especially).

Even worse is the generational gap in representation on local councils usually top heavy with aged timeservers re-elected year in year round with little or no challenge and offering nothing in the way of experience in dealing with strategic issues; even worse a lack of comprehending fast moving changes impacting on employment and needs of young people generally. Term limits are clearly needed to avoid the lifetime sinecures that Council positions now seemingly offer ageing minds. The present administrative duplication and parochial style of the Fylde's three current authorities - each pursuing narrow area issues in a distinctly unnatural local government structure combine to bedevil the emergence of new forward thinking assertive strategic development - or initiatives.

Add to this the divisive barriers of party political agenda - fixating on their respective odds in the next election and implications of the Brexit policies of the national Government. It. is hardly surprising that outside of London and the organised mega Authorities enabled with elected Mayors and large financial wherewithal - the likes of Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde with their limited means, limited experience and staffing plus mixed political compositions are hard pressed to find common cause. One which would bring about a wholly new social and economic direction benefitting most of all those looking to find skilled work with growing firms accessible by integrated transport resources Fylde wide. Instead what we see is the march of the all too familiar house builders happily tearing up green space in order to develop ever more monolithic estates with decreasing plot size (sorry no front gardens) and absolutely no concern whatsoever for people's transportation needs other than the predictable private car. Seeing these grotesque bland communes arise, each assigned loathsome corporate branding, in and around the Fylde, serves only to gratify the insurance and mortgage sectors firstly and foremostly - without a semblance of community infrastructure; let alone any public transport access whatsoever. This is a shameful era we live through. And of course the Fylde is far far from being alone in this ravaging of land by private sector developers and their financing cohorts - we have a nationwide malady.

So there we have it ; all our futures locked up by the grasping calls for return on investment (by usually) offshore hidden interests aided and abetted by supine public bodies nominally representing a democratic writ; but in fact proving the point that in the land of the blind the one eye man (or female) is king and money talks. Whilst all roads lead to Rome / London at least for the time being. The times they are a'changing..

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