Blackpool’s political and tourism leaders have hit back at an online slur by a member of a neighbouring authority in which the town was referred to as ‘cesspool’.
Coun Mike Barrowclough, who represents Rossall on Wyre Council, made the disparaging remark in response to The Gazette’s Tweets about the demolition of the National Savings tower.
The Labour councillor, who on his Twitter profile refers to himself at the party’s candidate for Wyre Rural Central in this year’s County Council elections, posted: “Just what’s needed. When are they blowing up the rest of cesspool?”
Coun Barrowclough today insisted his remarks were intended to be ‘tongue in cheek’ and had been ‘taken out of context’.
Despite this claim, Coun Barrowclough followed up his original tweet with a second comment when challenged on it by another Twitter user.
He replied to the comment by posting: “I take it from your reply that you’ve never visited Blackpool? If not I will show you the delights of Central Drive and co.”
Politicians in Blackpool, on both sides of the political divide, have slammed his comments as “juvenile” and “despicable”.
Blackpool Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn insists Blackpool has a bright future with millions of pounds being pumped into the resort.
Coun Blackburn said: “These comments are unfortunate.
“Blackpool Council has achieved a great deal in terms of the physical regeneration of the resort, over the past 10 years- with much work ongoing.
“Our £100 million business loans fund, which I announced last Thursday, will facilitate further development and expansion, creating jobs and driving private sector investment.”
His Conservative opposite number, Coun Tony Williams, said: “I think he is extremely childish and naive in his views and maybe he should look after his own ward before criticising a neighbour.
“Myself and Peter Gibson, the leader of Wyre Council get on very well and we have talked a lot about how we can work closer together to save money.
“These comments are disgraceful and at best juvenile.
“They could potentially be very damaging for the relationship between the two authorities.”
Mayor of Blackpool, Coun Kath Rowson said: “It’s very disappointing to hear this from a neighbouring town.
“Blackpool does not have as many problems as many other areas and is working very hard to address the ones it does have.
“This is a great town and I get very angry when I hear people slating it.”
Claire Smith, president of hoteliers group StayBlackpool said: “Where do you start with something like this?
“I have lived in Blackpool all my life.
“I love the place, it’s fabulous, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.
“There is so much to be excited about, so much going on. There is always something happening.
“We have fantastic shows at the Opera House and the Grand
“Where else outside a big city do you have entertainment like that?
“This man is obviously misled and I just hope he wasn’t being serious.
“We are all living on the Fylde coast and we are all working together to combat the negativity.
“That usually comes from outside, from people who haven’t visited, who don’t know what we have to offer. We should not be having to fight this from the inside.”