Tucked away behind the roadworks opposite Wilko in town lies a little gem. It may look like it’s been fenced off for good but as of yesterday, access past the pharmacy on the corner has been restored from both sides to this locally owned and operated cafe.
We had a meeting with another local promoter from the town and as we’re both big fans of supporting local businesses we thought we would spend a little money in the town centre by visiting a local cafe. We arrived for our meeting t 11AM and were one of only 4 customers in the place.
One of the first comments we made was that they must be making a killing selling brews and bacon butties to the workmen being the closest cafe to their site – We were surprised to be told that the workers have their own facilities and since the works started they haven’t sold a single brew to the workmen who are digging the road up just feet away. The gentleman we spoke to in the cafe had no idea we were coming and to be honest hadn’t heard of the BPL Bible, He’ not our target audience so we let this slide – We did inform him that we spread the good word about Blackpool and after hearing that footfall outside the cafe and custom inside the cafe had fallen dramatically since the works began – We pledged to tell their story to our readers.
We noticed 4 members of staff working in preparation for the lunchtime “rush”. The cafe was well presented, all the tables were clean and the staff were extremely friendly. Not looking for a full meal, but enough to warrant us using the space for an hour or so, I ordered a bacon sandwich on brown bread with a cappuccino and the chap I was meeting with ordered an omelette with beans and a diet coke. The price was very reasonable for my order alone coming to just over £4 for the coffee and the butty.
The omelette was indeed a little more substantial than the bacon butty and came with a round of toast but the order including the diet coke didn’t cost much more than my order.
The food arrived HOT within minutes of ordering and the bacon was cooked from fresh as opposed to some cafe’s where it’s held after being cooked until it’s needed then “flashed” before serving. It’s alway apparent when bacon hasn’t been cooked fresh and most of the time when ordering a bacon butty I’m left disappointed with a greasy tough piece of bacon that wouldn’t be fit for the dog; so biting into this particular sandwich made a great impression on me.
We sat at the back of the restaurant (like a pair of trouble makers) but we didn’t want to disturb anyone elses experience in the cafe by talking about our business within earshot. We stayed for an hour and a half and ordered another round of drinks to the table. This time I ordered a flat white coffee (for comparison) and found that even though it was the cheaper option it was still a decent coffee served and with a jug with more than enough milk in it to brighten up the brew.
The Lunchtime rush arrived and made the place look busier but the fact of the matter is that this cafe had previously been trading at a higher level before the roadworks began. Despite the difficult operating conditions – the staff were extremely chipper about providing a good service and were more than happy to make small talk which added to the relaxing experience in the cafe.
There are many other cafe’s in the Town Centre in the same boat. It’s noticeable that some local businesses have been offered a designated sign written banner which we believe have been provided by the council during the works however we saw no such banner advertising this particular cafe. These and many other local retailers are genuinely struggling to keep afloat despite the council’s efforts to provide free parking on Central Car Park – all day and also subsidised £1 all day parking at West Street Car Park around the corner from the cafe. (We parked at Sainsbury’s who allow 90 mins for free or up to 3 hours free if you spend £5 in store)
We’ve now come to the conclusion like many others have that there’s no point moaning about the road/tram/train works. No amount of complaining will make the situation better. Please excuse the poor comparison but – people endured worse with a better attitude during the blitz (as my nana would have said).
We’re here to spread the good word about the town – We promote the positive aspects and it IS positive that this new European funded tramway extension will make it easier for people to commute to the resort. It’s about time that we all got behind this project to improve Blackpool’s Central Business District and DO OUR BIT to make things better. Blackpool has a proud heritage of Progress and pioneering new forms of transportation which s attested to by the sculpted stone that can be seen around the town hall. Why should we stop now?
It’s too easy to sit back and blame the council but we must bear in mind that over the past 5 years – Central Government has forced the council to lay off staff and restrict services through financial constraints and budget cuts – In the circumstances we think that the council are doing a great job with the little resources left available to them.
It’s frustrating we know BUT it will get better.
We invite anyone from the local community to engage with us at the BPL Bible in order to try and help ease this difficult situation which – let’s face it -is only a temporary issue. We can all focus on making the 2018 season a bigger and better show than we’ve put on in previous years but we’ll all need to pull in the same direction.
Please leave us a comment below to let us know what you think about this situation in the town centre – more importantly how we can improve it ourselves at the moment despite the difficulties.