THE return of Blackburn’s ‘beach’ has been delayed after a dispute over which company would provide the attractions.

Borough regeneration boss Maureen Bateson believed everything was signed and sealed to bring ‘Blackburn Beach’ back to King William Street from yesterday.

But on Tuesday the operator rang to say he could not provide the sandy attraction and associated fairground rides because of the dispute at the Showmen’s Guild.

This prompted frantic efforts to save the ‘beach’, one of last summer’s hit events in the town that was so popular it was extended for an extra week.

Now, the free attraction will open in the town centre tomorrow and run until August 21 with fun rides, water boats, a giant inflatable slide, deckchairs, buckets and spades.

Coun Bateson said: “We had a problem with the ‘Blackburn Beach’, because of an internal dispute in the Showmen’s Guild. We had booked last year’s operator and expected it to open yesterday.

“He gave backword on Tuesday and I feared it would not return this year. Council officials worked hard to ensure that the ‘beach’ returns tomorrow as good, if not better, than last year.

“Families will be able to enjoy all the fun of a day at the seaside without the travel.”

The Lancashire Telegraph understands that another fairground operator objected to the contract going to a rival under the Showmen’s Guild ‘system of fair play’. This sparked an appeals procedure that is yet to finish.

The Showmen’s Guild is the official trade body of the funfair industry.

Lancashire, Cheshire and North Wales chairman Billy Hill said: “I spoke to the council who were afraid the event would not happen. It is now going ahead.”