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Owners confirm Blackpool Airport will close next week

The owners of Blackpool Airport, Balfour Beatty, have confirmed it will close next week after they were unable to find a buyer.

In a statement they said:

We regret to announce that no agreement has been reached to secure the future of operations at Blackpool Airport. The airport operation has been making a loss for a number of years and unfortunately there is no option for the company other than to close.

This is a very sad day for the airport which has a proud aviation history and a loyal, appreciative customer following. We would like to thank all our dedicated staff who have delivered exceptional service to passengers for many years.

The airport will remain open to the public until 15 October 2014 and we will endeavour to maintain operations as normal until this date, after which time commercial flights will cease.

It is recommended that passengers contact their airline to confirm travel arrangements.

– Blackpool Airport

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What now for Blackpool Airport?

The future of Blackpool Airport will be decided later. Owners Balfour Beatty announced it was likely to shut down soon if a buyer wasn't found by todays deadline. The company bought the airport in 2008. Management teams have been working with the council to draw up a plan for the future of the site.

The airport's owners have been actively seeking a buyer Credit: ITV Granada

Liverpool City Council agrees Anfield expansion plans

Liverpool City Council has approved plans to expand Anfield Stadium's capacity to around 54,000.

An artist's impression of the plans for Anfield Credit: LFC

The plans, which are still subject to conditions and legal agreement, would see 8,500 seats added to the Main Stand, and an extra 4,000 to the Anfield Road stand.

How the new Anfield would look inside Credit: LFC

Construction could begin on the main stand soon, and be completed by the 2016/17 season.

Liverpool FC’s Chief Executive Officer, Ian Ayre, said: “Today’s approval by the Planning Committee is another step on our journey which we embarked on nearly two years ago.

“We’ve received very positive support for our proposals during a public consultation exercise earlier this year and whilst we are delighted about the progress made today, there are still some steps that we need to navigate through in order to give us the certainty that we need to proceed with our expansion plans.”

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Labour indicate Heywood by-election date

The by-election sparked by the death of Labour MP Jim Dobbin will be held on October 9, the party indicated.

The by-election was triggered by the death of Jim Dobbin Credit: Labour Party/PA Images

A writ setting the date for the contest in Heywood and Middleton is to be moved by the party in the Commons today, a source said.

It is the same day as voters go to the polls in Clacton, Essex following Douglas Carswell's defection to Ukip from the Conservatives.

Mr Dobbin, who had represented the seat since 1997, died at the weekend while on a Parliamentary trip to Poland at the age of 73.

At the 2010 general election, Labour won the Greater Manchester seat with a majority of 5,971.

Manchester Airport Group passenger numbers up

Passenger levels rose at all four airports operated by the Manchester Airports Group (Mag) last month.

MAG saw passenger numbers rise across its airports Credit: PA Images

Stansted numbers increased 11.6% to 2.03 million in August 2014 compared with August last year, while the number of passengers handled at Manchester airport rose 8.2% to 2.56 million.

East Midlands airport enjoyed a rise of 4.3% to 620,000, while Bournemouth was up 2.8% to 97,000.

Together, the four airports handled 8.9% more passengers last month than in August 2013. In the 12 months ending August 2014 the total for the four airports was 45.58 million - a 6.3% increase on the figure for the 12 months ending August 2013.

Network Rail plans to expand Manchester stations

The plans would see tracks widened at Oxford Road station Credit: Network Rail

Plans to build two additional platforms at Piccadilly station in Manchester have been submitted by Network Rail. The company also wants to widen the existing viaduct through the city towards Oxford Road station.

The company says it's investing more than £1bn in the rail network in the north of England.

The company says the plans are part of the "Northern Hub project" and believe they will "deliver faster, more frequent services and stimulate economic growth as a result of improved connections between towns and cities."

It also says the plan to put two more platforms at Piccadilly will mean the number of trains travelling through Manchester will rise from 12 to 16-per-hour in both directions.

Two new platforms would be built at Manchester Piccadilly Credit: Network Rail

Ian Joslin, area director for Network Rail, said: “As part of investment totalling more than £1billion, the Northern Hub will help to meet the growing demands for rail travel and help to stimulate economic growth across the north of England.

“Along with our Ordsall Chord proposal to link Piccadilly and Victoria stations for the first time, which is currently being considered by secretary of state for transport, this is a vital part of our plans to develop the railway.

“This level of building and engineering through the centre of Manchester is a significant challenge and we are keen to speak to as many people as possible ahead of our final proposals being submitted.”

Councillor Andrew Fender, chair of the TfGM committee, said: “The projects the Northern Hub investment will deliver are essential for us to bring our Victorian rail infrastructure into the modern age and ensure it can accommodate more trains and passengers both now and long into the future.

“But it is a programme that is very much the sum of its parts and the additional links between Piccadilly and Oxford Road are a crucial part of the overall piece.

“The start of this consultation signals an important milestone and I encourage passengers, residents and businesses to take the opportunity to find out more about the scheme and the benefits it will bring.”

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