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Last Updated: Friday, 29 August, 2003, 11:12 GMT 12:12 UK
Switching from seedy to saucy
by Smyth Harper
BBC News Online, Manchester

Ken Dodd prepares for the Ken Dodd Show in Blackpool, circa 1966
Ken Dodd prepares for a Blackpool show in 1966
It prides itself on being a family resort - but the massive influx of partying young people has caused problems for Blackpool.

It has become one of the most popular destinations in the UK for stag and hen parties, and the associated binge drinking has meant - for some - the resort has become more a place of debauched seediness than saucy fun.

One of the ways hoteliers, bar owners and the police have tried to improve the town's image is through a new Nightsafe scheme.

The scheme, spearheaded by Superintendent Andy Rhodes, who is currently in Faliraki, is a voluntary code for bars and clubs which aims to reduce the impact of binge drinking by cutting back on drinks promotions.

The police say discounted drinks are seen as being contributory to high levels of violent crime.

Scheme agreement

Under the scheme bars agree to the following:

  • No "drink all you can drink for a fixed entry fee" promotions.
  • No discounting on Friday or Saturday evenings after 8 pm.
  • A ban on games involving speed drinking.
  • No 1-a-pint promotions in circumstances likely to lead to binge drinking.

Before Mr Rhodes headed off to Faliraki, he said of the scheme: "In an environment where discounted drinks promotions are the norm, everybody suffers.

"Levels of violence increase, public service resources are strained and private sector profits fall across the board."

It isn't 100% perfect yet and there's a long way to go, but a massive difference has been made already
Mike Nordwind, managing director, The Syndicate
Mike Nordwind is the managing director of The Syndicate club in Blackpool - thought to be the biggest club in the country which can hold 5,000 revellers.

He told BBC News Online: "Andy Rhodes has really got to grips with the scene in Blackpool.

"It isn't 100% perfect yet and there's a long way to go, but a massive difference has been made already.

"But people are beginning to learn you can't just come to Blackpool to do what you want.

'Raunchy, not filthy'

"It is a jigsaw. We have all the pieces and now we have to put it all together."

Mr Nordwind wants Blackpool to be "raunchy, but not filthy - and it's a fine dividing line".

Tourism officials are also keen to woo families to the town - its famous illuminations are being switched on by pop band Blue on Friday.

Mr Rhodes said: "Faliraki and Blackpool are different - they have a much shorter season and all the bars are basically competing on one street.

"But, like Blackpool, most of those bars are individual operations.

"It is about having a co-ordinated strategy between licensees, the council and the police."


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