A brand-new beach has appeared on Blackpool promenade providing residents and visitors alike with the opportunity to sharpen up on their beach sports skills - or simply to chill out in style - regardless of whether the tide is in or out.
The 180 metre long sandy beach has been built on St Chads headland by ReBlackpool and features a soccer pitch, three volleyball courts and three beach basketball courts.
The latest addition to Blackpool’s famous seafront – built using 5,000 tonnes of local sand –and will remain open 24 hours a day, for more than 6 weeks after being opened by Europe Minister, Glenys Kinnock on Thursday 9 July
Chief Executive of ReBlackpool, Doug Garrett said: “This new beach will offer a unique opportunity to residents and visitors to enjoy the thrills and spills of beach volleyball, football and basketball regardless of whether the tide is in or out.
“We lose the beach twice every day because of the tides – but this new beach on the prom will put an end to that and allow people to play sports or relax in the sand as and when they want to.
“It is also a great way to utilise the new headlands on the seafront which have been part funded by the European Union.” He said.
The beach has been created by ReBlackpool using sand skimmed from Blackpool’s famous natural beach as part of a feasibility study into the possibility of building something similar, but more permanent, in the future.
The total cost of the project – including the purchase of two specialised machines to clean the sand in the temporary beach on a daily basis - is around £45,000. The machines will be kept on after the beach has been dismantled for future use.
Alongside the opportunity for fun, games and relaxation, the temporary beach will also allow ReBlackpool’s project managers to study the effects of the wind and traffic movements on the sand, the best way in which to contain it and how the public interact with and use the beach.
It is also set to be used by Blackpool Council throughout the summer, which is working with local schools by running skills weeks for youngsters.
The beach is set to close on Monday 17 August when it will be dismantled to make way for the beach volleyball CEV European Championship Tour and the English Masters tournament which is being held on the promenade from 10 – 13 September.
This is the second year this tournament has been held in Blackpool and provides visitors and locals alike with the chance to watch first class volleyball and Olympic athletes compete in a world-class setting. The championship facilities will feature a main court with a 2,000 capacity grand stand and five outside courts.
The development of the new headland spaces along Blackpool seafront has been funded by the North West Regional Development Agency (NWDA), Department for the Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).