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Business leader condemns resort

18 October 07 17:46 GMT

A business leader has sparked outrage for describing the popular Lancashire resort of Blackpool as being "filthy" and a "dump".

Angie Robinson, chief executive of Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, advised Blackpool should be cleaned up with "Jeyes Fluid" and "a wire brush".

Her comments, on a website, follow the Conservative Party Conference there.

Blackpool's deputy mayor, Gary Coleman, said £500m of investment was taking place in the town.

Mrs Robinson visited Blackpool and Bournemouth for Labour and the Conservatives annual party conferences and said in her musings for Manchester Confidential, a website giving the low-down on the city, that the resorts were a stark contrast to each other.

In January, Blackpool lost out to Manchester in the bid to win the much-coveted supercasino - a point which Mrs Robinson believes has much to do with the state of the town.

"It will take much, much more than a supercasino to sort out Blackpool," she remarked on the website.

"Jeyes Fluid, a wire brush and a few gallons of paint might be a start.

"Truly filthy"

"The streets were truly filthy, the alleyways full of rubbish being besieged by seagulls and most of the buildings were tatty and the paint flaking...

"... I felt like trying to disguise my North West regional accent, I was so ashamed of the place."

In the past the seaside resort was sometimes chosen as the location for the political parties annual conferences but now Manchester is favoured by all three parties as the future location of choice.

"It's no wonder the political conferences have deserted the place - and have decided the modern centre of Manchester is by far the better option," added Mrs Robinson.

She confessed the resort had never been her favourite destination but "was ok when the kids were little for a quick trip to the lights".

However, her stinging criticism of the resort has upset the town's leaders who have jumped to its defence.

Gary Coleman, deputy mayor, said: "I'm sad to hear these comments.

"There are still thousands of people from Manchester who visit the resort every week, so obviously people in the city do not share the opinion.

'Blackpool's renaissance'

"There is £500m of investment taking place in the town and the likes of the Talbot and Central Gateway schemes will make it more appealing.

"Since I became deputy mayor five months ago, I have met some truly inspiring people and I would much rather live here than in Manchester."

Hugh Evans, director of policy for the North West Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said: "Every town and city has its detractors and, of course, Blackpool is no exception.

"While these comments will strike a chord with many people, they ignore the fact Blackpool's renaissance is under way with massive investment.

"We need to deal with the reality of Blackpool and to work together to develop a vision for the town's future."

Mrs Robinson declined to comment about her remarks.

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