Blackpool South: Beyond the Glitter and Piers

Introduction

Blackpool South, a vibrant coastal region in Lancashire, England, stretches beyond the iconic image of its bustling beach resort. While the Blackpool Tower, Pleasure Beach, and Golden Mile hold undeniable charm, this diverse area offers a unique blend of history, culture, and local life. Whether you’re seeking amusement park thrills or a more authentic Lancashire experience, Blackpool South has something for everyone.

Blackpool South, nestled along the Lancashire coast, is more than just a picturesque seaside town. From its iconic tower to its political battlegrounds, this constituency has a story to tell. Let’s dive into the heart of Blackpool South and explore its history, attractions, and recent controversies.

A Tale of Two Coastlines

Blackpool South’s geography presents a fascinating duality. Its western boundary hugs the Irish Sea, boasting a sandy beach that stretches for miles, perfect for relaxing strolls, building sandcastles, or indulging in traditional fish and chips. This seaside haven attracts vacationers and locals alike, particularly during the summer months.

Further inland, rolling hills and quaint villages paint a different picture. Here, farms, nature reserves, and historic landmarks offer a glimpse into Lancashire’s rich heritage. From the serene beauty of Marton Mere nature reserve to the historic Lytham Hall, exploring the countryside unveils a more peaceful side of Blackpool South.

History Whispers through the Streets

Blackpool South is steeped in history, with remnants of the past peppered throughout the area. Explore the Victorian grandeur of Lytham St Annes, where elegant architecture and charming cafes transport you back in time. Delve into maritime history at the National Trust’s Fleetwood Museum, home to a fascinating collection of maritime artifacts and exhibits.

For a unique experience, visit the Grade II listed Cleveleys Library, boasting a stunning Art Deco interior and a rich collection of books. Blackpool South even offers a glimpse into ancient history, with archaeological discoveries like the Rossall Roman Site hinting at settlements dating back 2,000 years.

Beyond the Tourist Trail

While Blackpool South caters to visitors, it also thrives as a thriving community. Discover local markets brimming with fresh produce and handcrafted goods. Explore independent shops showcasing regional crafts and artwork. Savour local cuisine at family-run restaurants serving everything from traditional Lancashire hotpot to delicious seafood platters.

Engage with the friendly locals, known for their warm hospitality and welcoming spirit. Immerse yourself in community events like the St Annes on Sea International Kite Festival or the Lytham Festival, renowned for its diverse lineup of music, arts, and entertainment.

A Seaside Gem

Blackpool South encompasses the central and southern parts of Blackpool, a town famous for its vibrant promenade, three piers, and the legendary Blackpool Tower. Visitors flock here for the Pleasure Beach, where roller coasters defy gravity, and the illuminations light up the night sky. But beyond the glitz lies a community with its own challenges and triumphs.

The Political Landscape

Blackpool South is no stranger to political drama. Its constituency boundaries have shifted over the years, but one thing remains constant: the battle for votes. Traditionally a Conservative stronghold, it swung to Labour in 1997 when Gordon Marsden clinched victory. However, in 2019, the tide turned once again as Conservative Scott Benton secured the seat.

Scott Benton: A Controversial MP

Scott Benton’s tenure has been anything but smooth. His name hit the headlines during an undercover lobbying sting, where he allegedly offered to break rules for financial gain. The fallout? A 35-day suspension from the Commons and a subsequent appeal that upheld the punishment. Benton now sits as an independent, leaving Blackpool South at a crossroads.

By-Election Speculation

With a slim majority of just 3,690 votes, Blackpool South teeters on the edge. Will there be a by-election? The Independent Expert Panel’s decision leaves constituents wondering. As the Conservative chaos continues, locals watch closely, wondering if the political carousel will spin once more.

Tourism and Challenges

Tourism fuels Blackpool’s economy, but not all areas glitter like the lights on the promenade. Some neighbourhoods, once glamorous, now bear the scars of time. The decline in domestic holidaymaking has left its mark, but Blackpool soldiers on. The famous Blackpool Airport in Squires Gate stands as a testament to resilience.

FAQ’s

What is Blackpool South?

Blackpool South is a parliamentary constituency in Lancashire, England. It is represented in the House of Commons by Scott Benton, who was elected as a Conservative MP in 2019. However, he currently sits as an independent after having the Conservative Party whip suspended in April 20231.

Is Blackpool South part of the “Red Wall”?

Yes, Blackpool South is one of the so-called “Red Wall” seats. Historically, it backed the Labour party from the 1997 election until Scott Benton’s victory in 2019. These seats gained attention due to their traditional Labour support and subsequent shift to Conservative representation.

How deprived is Blackpool South?

Blackpool South is one of the most deprived constituencies in the UK. It ranks as the 17th most-deprived out of the 533 constituencies in England. In terms of parliamentary constituencies, it is also the most deprived constituency held by a Conservative MP. Nearly half of its neighbourhoods fall within the top 20% for income deprivation in the country. The area faces challenges related to employment, crime, and health disparities.

What is the “levelling up” agenda in Blackpool South?

The Conservatives promised to “level up” underfunded and neglected parts of the UK during the 2019 election. However, Blackpool South received no funding from the first round of levelling-up allocations. Despite being an iconic coastal town with attractions like the Blackpool Tower, poverty remains entrenched, and many younger residents still leave for bigger cities seeking opportunities. The top-down policy models often used for local economic development have not effectively addressed the area’s unique challenges.

What’s the current political situation in Blackpool South?

As of February 2024, Scott Benton, the MP for Blackpool South, lost his appeal against a 35-day suspension. Another by-election is now very likely. The constituency continues to grapple with socio-economic issues, and residents are keenly observing how political decisions impact their lives.

What’s the significance of Blackpool South’s location?

According to the 2019 English Indices of Deprivation, Blackpool ranks as the third most-deprived local authority in England. The iconic Blackpool Tower overlooks the promenade and the seafront, but beneath the tourist attractions lies a community facing complex challenges

Conclusion

Blackpool South wears its contradictions proudly, a blend of seaside charm, political intrigue, and everyday struggles. As the waves crash against the shore, the town’s fate hangs in the balance. Whether it’s a by-election or a renewed push for prosperity, Blackpool South remains a place where history unfolds, one vote at a time. 

With its vibrant coastline, fascinating history, and warm community, offers an experience beyond the typical tourist traps. So, pack your bags, explore its hidden gems, and discover the true spirit of this Lancashire gem.

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