Right of Reply: Claire Smith

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The Independent Culture
A Blackpool landlady responds to John Walsh's critical feature about the seaside resort

I AM a Blackpool landlady. I do not have a huge bust or an equally formidable attitude problem, nor do I have halitosis. I am very proud to live in Blackpool, a town that attracts more than 16.8 million visitors a year (more than Greece). Are you telling me that all these people have got it wrong and the media are right? I do not think so.

You do not see the happy, smiling faces of the children and adults when they come back to our hotel after an exhausting day of fun and enjoyment. Yes, they are waving about the silly hats and cheap novelties they've purchased - and why? Because, for a short time, they can forget their troubles and just be silly and have fun. Perhaps Mr Walsh has got so tied up in the restraints of life that he has forgotten how to be silly and what good it can do you.

Mr Walsh's comments are incorrect and out of date. Pontins caters for a certain niche in the market. It may not be his or my cup of tea, but who are we to criticise? Blackpool caters for every pocket, age and taste.

Further on in his attack he refers to the Springbok Hotel (presumably the name has been changed to avoid court action). This particular hotel is owned and run by a very pleasant southerner who would be absolutely appalled at having it labelled a "genuine self-declared knocking-shop". This gentleman is a legitimate London businessman who, again, has found his niche in the market, and when he advertises "just for adults - couples only" what he means, like many other proprietors who have the same sign, is that he does not cater for families (because the late-night bar would disturb children trying to sleep) or groups of a single sex (who are likely to get silly and cause damage or disturb other guests). None of this has anything whatsoever to do with a "knocking shop" and if Mr Walsh had done any research at all into the holiday guest industry he would know what these signs really mean, instead of making silly presumptions.

In fact he refers to sex quite repeatedly, which I do find very unhealthy for a supposedly respectable journalist.