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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 September 2006, 16:09 GMT 17:09 UK
Aquarium tanks safe, council told
Blackpool Tower courtesy of Freefoto.com
The tanks in the tower were said to be "suspect"
Councillors have renewed the licence of an aquarium which was the subject of an urgent call for safety checks by zoo licensing inspectors.

Inspectors said the 32,000-gallon fish tank and others at Blackpool Tower were "suspect" due to rusty reinforcement rods in concrete supports.

They said checks were needed to prevent a "catastophic failure".

But the Public Protection Committee accepted the tower's owners' pledge that all necessary work would be done.

Report rejected

The council's committee, which met on Thursday, heard a report from an independent firm of structural engineers presented by the tower owners Leisure Parcs which rejected the inspectors' report.

A Blackpool Council statement said: "Leisure Parcs, which owns the premises, accepted all the recommendations in the report and firm assurances were given that the necessary remedial work would be undertaken ahead of the re-inspection in spring 2007.

It added: "Further assurances were given to the committee - from the findings of an independent firm of structural engineers - that there isn't the remotest possibility of a 'catastrophic failure' in the tanks as quoted in the inspection report.

"Structural engineers had already carried out a robust survey of the site in November 2005 and were happy with their findings."

The licensing inspectors had said no engineers' reports were available for the tanks.

But they said even a "casual observer" could see rusted reinforcement rods were undermining the tank's concrete supports.

Drained tanks

This effect had already caused adjacent tanks to be drained, said the inspection report.

"The local authority and management should take urgent steps to ascertain whether or not there is a significant risk of catastrophic failure in the remaining tanks that are full of water," the report added.

A three man team - which raised 14 areas of concern - carried out an interim inspection in April.

But it agreed to reissue the operating licence, pending a more detailed examination of the attraction.

The aquarium attracts thousands of visitors a year.

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