Three decades of Blackpool history was razed to the ground in the past few days to make way for the Talbot Gateway development.

Entrepreneur Basil Newby, owner of the sites of the former Flamingo Club and the Flying Handbag pub, said 27 years of memories had been demolished in a week.

He added: "It was really upsetting to see it being pulled down as it was the first place I bought all those years ago and I actually had a little cry when it finally disappeared."

Mr Newby, who also owns the Funny Girls club, bought the Flamingo club in 1979, and then went on to purchase the Flying Handbag, one of the North West's most popular gay pubs, in the mid-1990s.

Blackpool Council bought the building, opposite the train station on Talbot Road, from the businessman two years ago in order to progress with the £300m development.

Mr Newby, head of In the Pink Leisure, has now relocated both venues to Queen Street near to Funny Girls.

He added: "We do have a new place but I would have preferred to have stayed, it was like losing a comfortable pair of slippers.

"I definitely would have stayed if I'd had the choice."

The massive redevelopment project, headed by Blackpool Council and ReBlackpool, in partnership with the North West Development Agency, is destined to be a high quality retail, civic, cultural and administrative gateway for the resort.

As well as shops, offices and residential apartments it intends to provide for tram, train, bus, coach and taxi integration.

Both the North Station and Talbot Square will undergo extensive remodelling.

A ReBlackpool spokesman said: "The Talbot Gateway is a major scheme for us and we are delighted to be continuing forward with its delivery.

"To date we have commenced work on the demolition of key sites including the former Flying Handbag and the Flamingo.

"This process for us is important as is securing and preparing all of the land in order that we can begin to implement the plans unveiled in April this year."

The proposed 12.8-hectare gateway site is expected to be completed by 2010 at an estimated cost of £285m.