Row halts sand yachting

Ian Dibden says the Fylde Coast is missing out on sand yachting after a licence dispute.
Ian Dibden says the Fylde Coast is missing out on sand yachting after a licence dispute.
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A return for sandyachting may have missed the boat after a 10-year absence.

Fylde Council gave the thumbs up for the wind sport’s return a decade after a woman died, having been struck by a racing sand yacht on St Annes beach, an accident which sparked a Fylde-wide ban.

But the temporary licence is still yet to be signed, with just two weeks left until it runs out – and the parties behind the licence are currently blaming each other for the delay.

Eddie Sloane, of Trax Academy, which holds the licence, says Fylde Council has delayed “signing on the dotted line” pending insurance agreements to keep beach users safe.

But the council says it’s Trax which has delayed signing the licence.

Mr Sloane said: “We have the licence agreement signed at this end, that’s not the issue. It’s about third party liability for dog walkers and other beach users while we are carrying out wind sports.

“We have suggested a beach management plan, but the council hasn’t responded to it.

“We are waiting for them to give their agreement, it’s very frustrating for us.”

Ian Dibden is chairman-in-waiting of the new St Annes Windsports Club.

He said: “We were meant to have an open day in June when we were hoping to get the councillors involved and having a go on the little yachts, and we had all the clubs around the country lined up to help with marshalling and health and safety, but it didn’t happen because the licence hasn’t been signed off.

“It’s a shame. Sand yachting is happening in different places across the country, I don’t see why it can’t be happening in Fylde. We’re definitely missing out here.”

But Fylde Council says it is waiting to hear from Trax.

A spokesman said: “The company (Trax) has had the licence in its hands since January, we are waiting for them to sign it and return it to us.

“We are disappointed that it hasn’t been signed as we are keen to see sand yachting return to Fylde.

“Time is running short but once it is singed they can go ahead with the sport.”

Fylde Council says once the temporary licence expires Trax will have to make a new request to bring sand yachting to the Fylde Coast.

The spokesman added: “If they make a fresh request, we will deal with it as speedily as possible. We don’t think it was take as long as it has this time.”

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