A TONGUE-in-cheek remark has touched a nerve with tourism officers in Blackpool.
The statement, made at a recent meeting of Accrington Centre Regeneration Assem-bly, suggested that humble Accy could grab tourists away from the world-famous seaside resort.
No-one expected it to be taken seriously. But Blackpool councillor Henry Mitchell hit back somewhat disparagingly by describing Accrington as "very small''. And the issue was given substantial coverage in the Blackpool Gazette, which asked the searching question: "Brick or Beach?''
Accrington's blueprint for visitors aims to bring in tourists to shop in the new Market Square development, enjoy the new cinema and bowling alley and visit the Haworth Art Gallery.
Deputy leader Councillor Mrs Jean Battle said: "Our Blackpool colleagues may not know that Accrington is the town where small oaks flourish. We have a varied menu for visitors to enjoy, but we are not really aiming to compete with resorts like Blackpool. We want to work with them to offer the best of Lancashire.''
Several Hyndburn attractions are enjoyed by the six million day visitors who annually come to East Lancashire. They include the Tiffany Glass collection at the Haw-orth, which is the finest in Europe, and the Oswaldtwistle Mills shopping complex, which also offers a demonstration of textile history and even Accrington rock.
Michael Carney, president of Hyndburn Chamber of Trade, said: "Great Days Out In Accrington is an initiative which recognises that our visitors now want to stay longer and they want a package involving shopping, leisure, arts and crafts and good-value cuisine in a traditional setting with a sense of history and sense of humour.
"So come on Blackpool, where's your Lancashire sense of humour. Like you, Accring-ton can offer visitors a warm welcome, but we won't charge them to park!''
Leading tour operators and bus companies are now being invited to work with town centre manager Bill Huntly and his tourism colleagues to develop themed day trips for visitors from Blackpool and beyond.