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Should Blackpool be a World Heritage Site?

PUBLISHED: 10:30 05 January 2011 | UPDATED: 19:13 07 September 2017

Blackpool Central Pier by Anthony Rostron

Blackpool Central Pier by Anthony Rostron

Blackpool is still the public's favourite seaside resort, but does it deserve World Heritage Status? Words by Paul Mackenzie

Blackpool’s iconic tower, piers and beach have been recognisable symbols of the British holiday for generations. The resort is synonymous with fresh air and fun; fish and chip and donkey rides on the sand - all good, wholesome family entertainment.



But there is another Blackpool; a town soiled by boorish drunks, cheap thrills and tacky sideshows. Visit at a weekend and the atmosphere can veer from mildly unsettling to deeply threatening.



And now council leaders want to see Blackpool ranked alongside Egypt’s pyramids, the Taj Mahal and Moscow’s Red Square.



They have applied for Blackpool to be given World Heritage Status, which would help them bid for conservation funds as well as making redevelopment more difficult and boosting tourism.



Few would argue that Blackpool - once the jewel of the UK’s tourism industry - has lost some of its lustre, but in spite of the all too obvious problems there’s no doubting the town still has a special place in the nation’s heart



Although annual visitor numbers have fallen they still exceed 10 million - that’s 25 per cent more than go to Brighton, the resort which came second to Blackpool in a poll to find the UK’s favourite seaside resort.



And in recent years efforts have been made to make Blackpool even more popular, with a new sea wall, artworks along the promenade and a multi-million pound new town centre shopping complex.



Blackpool is one of 38 sites competing to be on the government’s shortlist of 10 to be put forward to the United Nations cultural organisation Unesco next year. Among the other proposed sites are York, the Forth Bridge, Jodrell Bank observatory in Cheshire and the entire Lake District.



As Tourism and Heritage Minister John Penrose said: ‘The list certainly doesn’t lack variety but what all 38 sites have in common is a wow factor and a cultural resonance.’

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