Who turned the Lights out?


A cafe owner has voiced concerns over an apparent lack of trade during Illuminations season.

Martin Hunns, vice-chairman of the Cleveleys Traders Association, claims there has been a “dramatic downturn” in visitors spending in the town since the Switch-On.

But other traders have blamed the poor weather after a good summer for the recent blip, while some say they have noticed no change compared to previous years

Mr Hunns, owner of The Carousel Diner, on Kings Road, said: “Blackpool, Cleveleys and all of the Fylde coast has had the best summer we’ve had for years and as soon as the Illuminations started it’s like somebody’s turned the lights off.

“The weather changed at the same time, but on the weekend before we took a thousand pounds in takings, and really it should have carried on from that.

“We are down on what we had at this point last year.

“There do seem to be a lot of people walking about at the weekends but nobody’s spending.” Mr Hunns says much of his trade during Illuminations season comes from coach parties using the cafe before heading along the route.

However, he has received just one booking from a coach party this year compared to nine last year.

But other traders in the town say they believe the recent lull is more due to adverse weather conditions rather than a lack of Illuminations visitors.

Stuart Cheshire, owner of the Crumbly Cheese food shop, on Victoria Road West, said: “It’s just the weather more than anything else.

“I haven’t seen a particular downfall since the Illuminations have come on.

“Cleveleys looks quite busy to me and it’s just ticking over now after the summer.”

Tracy Heyward, manager at the Briardene Hotel, on Kelso Avenue, said: “It’s a tricky one really because at night-time there’s nothing here.

“If people are going through the lights I can’t see them wanting to come up here if there’s nothing to see.

“They can walk through the town but there’s nothing open for them at night-time apart from the seafront.

“We do get people staying at the hotel for the Illuminations sometimes, but we just regard that as a bonus really.”

Ken Pickering, landlord at the Travellers Rest pub, on Beach Road, says his business is not reliant on Illuminations trade.

He said: “We don’t really get any trade from people coming from Blackpool anyway.

“We don’t rely on trade from Blackpool because Cleveleys is a totally different resort. Sometimes we pick up a few visitors during the summer but we’re not really a tourist pub, we’re more of a local community pub.”