Cllr Tony Williams is the Leader of the Conservative Group on Blackpool Borough Council.
Blackpool is unique in the realm of local politics. Over the last several years the sociographic profile of the town has changed dramatically, especially in the central and southern districts.
Deprivation and social problems have increased crime levels, especially in Anti-Social Behaviour. Some areas of the town have a high level of beggars and rough sleepers, although the current Labour council continue to state that these are not homeless individuals but professional scroungers.
To a degree they’re right, but nevertheless, the presence of doorway overnighters and aggressive begging, together with legal high zombies on the streets, has stopped a great deal of people from visiting the town centre. This in turn has contributed to the closure of many retail outlets in the resort, impacting further on low foot fall.
In addition to failing retail, the Labour council are spending £27 million of grant funding to extend the tram lines by a mere 500 yards, and there are several other works all over the town centre causing traffic chaos which is further adding to the problem. Businesses have suffered serious financial hardship due to confusing traffic access.
What Conservatives will do, and without giving away campaign secrets, is to assure residents that we will address the social issues that negatively affect them the most with both local and national messages. We will offer real solutions that address the most important problems facing all of the town and the UK. Local front line services will be a main priority, and a new system of customer care will be introduced ensuring that residents get a much faster and satisfactory response.
We will promise to introduce a new retail experience in Blackpool that overrides online shopping and will be economical to instigate whilst providing additional revenue for the town.
One of the pledges we have made is to build a mixed-use bus terminal. We have a very proactive transport service. However, it’s confusing, with no central interchange, this we believe is an essential component to bring visitors to the town. In turn, it will give real support to town centre businesses instead of the proven existing failed promises they are used to. We also want to provide facilities for more indoor large music and sports events, something which is desperately needed in our offer mix.
The main thrust of our campaigning will be direct contact with residents and businesses. We want to engage fully with voters in all parts of the town.
We will show them how we can improve their lives, provide much better support, and that a Conservative Council will deliver a greener, cleaner, healthier town with reduced crime and anti-social behaviour using methods and practices that have been successful elsewhere.
Most importantly we want to show people that we’re listening – and we mean it.
We will not insult voter’s intelligence with clichéd statements; just hard facts, guaranteed promises and common-sense solutions to the many problems that have grown since Labour started to manage the town.