Airport may lose homes block bid

View of the Pontins site
View of the Pontins site
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A DESPERATE plea to turn down housing estate plans amid fears it could halt Blackpool Airport’s expansion plans looks to have failed.

The airport want more time to prove the damaging impact the homes could have on tourism after stepping in at the 11th hour last month to stop Fylde Council approving the application.

But Northern Trust’s bid for 73 homes on the former Pontins site is due before planners again next week – and councillors are being recommended to disregard the airport’s objections.

A report prepared by planning officers says they believe the plan to transform the Clifton Drive North site was “unlikely to pose a threat” to the airport’s future expansion.

However, the airport – who have the support of Blackpool Council – remain adamant some of the proposed 73 homes will be affected by an increase in noise levels.

Blackpool International bosses predict that by 2030 the airport will have grown more than 800 per cent, something which has been criticised as “optimistic” by Northern Trust.

An airport spokesman said: “Ultimately our passenger forecasts up to 2030 indicate some housing in this area within the planning application will be affected by an increase in noise levels.

“The method of forecasting passenger growth is in line with a previously published White Paper and is done to protect potential home owners as well as to safeguard the growth and future viability of the airport and in turn the economic benefit to the Blackpool and Fylde coast region and local community.”

Since the application was deferred at June’s planning meeting, airport chiefs have met with council officers and bosses claim they now need more time to carry out “modelling work” on the noise contours which will allow councillors to make an “informed decision”.

But if members follow the recommendation to allow the new homes – the second phase of plans to redevelop the former holiday camp – will be given the go-ahead on Wednesday.

A spokesman for Northern Trust said: “All of the issues raised by the airport were addressed to the satisfaction of officers and members during the consideration of our first planning application on the former Pontins site, and we note officers remain satisfied the proposals for phase two are acceptable.”

The company already has permission for a 275-home phase one on land further away from the airport.

But because part of the proposed site falls in the greenbelt, the Secretary of State would have the final say on any approval from Fylde Council.

At the initial meeting into the plans, Coun Ben Aitken moved a notion to defer the application and said: “I think it’s far better for us to try to resolve these objections first of all rather than end up with the objections being transferred to the Secretary of State.”