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Blackpool launches crackdown on stag and hen parties


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Blackpool launches crackdown on stag and hen parties


By PAUL SIMS - More by this author » Last updated at 20:46pm on 6th September 2007 commentIconSm.gif Comments (1)

BingeG_228x154.jpgBlackpool has issued a code of conduct for revellers in a bid to curb unacceptable behaviour





As a thriving seaside town Blackpool was once Britain's favourite holiday destination.

But a rise in the number of stag and hen parties descending on the area has tarnished its image.

Now, in a bid to clean up its reputation, revellers are to be issued with a code of conduct to curb unacceptable behaviour.

Based on similar measures taken in Venice, where a 'decorum squad' helps keep the area trouble-free, it is hoped the move will eventually bring holidaymakers back.

Visitors to the resort will be asked to sign a good behaviour pledge when they book into their hotel in which they promise to respect the town, other visitors and residents.

Those found to have flouted the rules face being removed from the locality under new powers set to be given to the police and banned from returning for up to 48 hours.

"All we're asking for is normal, common decency," said the council's Tory leader, Peter Callow. "We understand people come here to have fun and let their hair down and we don't want to stop that.

"But we have seen them dropping their trousers and it's just not on. We have to send a message out which says come and enjoy yourself, but if you act indecently, we don't want you here.

"We have to present a new picture of the new Blackpool. Then we will start to attract new visitors in increasing numbers and the visitors who have deserted us will start to return."

He first proposed the radical idea of banning trouble-makers ahead of the local elections in May, promising residents to rid the town of its booze-fuelled image if the Tory party was voted back into power.

But he added: "We don't want to ruin the visitor economy. Some hotels survive on stag and hens. So we thought a voluntary code of conduct might fit the bill as a message to people coming to the resort."

Posters detailing the code of conduct will be displayed in hotels, pubs and clubs, featured on websites and sent out with bookings. The message could also be projected onto public buildings after dark.

The four point code reads: "Keep it clean - respect the beach, the streets and other people's property; keep it clean for everyone; we all like to have fun but think of others and keep your fun, good clean fun.

"Keep control - we want a town that feels free, safe and easy going, don't spoil it by drinking too much or using threatening behaviour. Keep smiling - Blackpool is a happy, place - share it with others! Keep coming back - we love our visitors - see you next time!"

Blackpool licensee David Daley, president of the National Association of Licensed House Managers, said: "We didn't want an anti-stag and hen message but we feel this is a halfway house. Exuberant behaviour has always gone on but it's getting worse.

"It's not so bad inside the pub where they are all over 18, but it's when they go out and some of the stuff that's going on, especially in the afternoons, is quite lewd."

The move to transform Blackpool's image comes after it was revealed that 200 hotels, guest houses and self-catering apartments in the area have gone up for sale, worth a total £55 million, following a poor summer season and the resort's failure to land the UK's first supercasino.

Estate agents described the move to sell as 'alarming' with a large number of hoteliers prepared to slash up to £20,000 off the asking price just to sell their properties.

Visit Blackpool director Jane Seddon said she hoped the new code of conduct, which will come into full force in time for the October half-term, would prove to be a turning point in the town's fortunes.

"It's something we can publicise not only in our half a million holiday guides, but through the million inquiries we get for information," she said. "If we can get the message out, I think people will come here and respect the town and still have fun."

Claire Smith, who runs Blackpool's award-winning Number One B&B, said: "I hope the code of conduct will help achieve a town without fear and intimidation where a feeling of respect is created."

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