A MASSIVE civil service site could be bulldozed to make way for homes, shops and a supermarket once hundreds of workers are transferred, The Gazette can today reveal.
Telereal Trillium, which owns the Norcross site – currently home to around 1,200 Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) staff – has unveiled plans to redevelop the land between Norcross Lane and White Carr Lane.
Emerging proposals include up to 170 new homes, sheltered housing, a new shopping centre including a supermarket, additional offices and a pub or family restaurant although a planning application is yet to be submitted.
A spokesman for Telereal Trillium told The Gazette: “As the DWP, the current majority occupier of the site on Norcross Lane, will be relocating elsewhere this summer, we need to think about the future of the site.
“We have been working with Wyre Council to produce a mix of uses which will regenerate Norcross, so it can continue to make a positive contribution to the local area.
“The proposed scheme will see Norcross continue to be an important employment site, with the retention of around 840 jobs in current offices.
“There will be an additional 2.8 hectares of future employment land as well providing much-needed new homes, sheltered housing accommodation, retail space and a family pub.
“A public exhibition will give residents an opportunity to review the proposals and provide comment prior to the submission of the planning application.”
Residents have been invited to a public meeting on Saturday January 26 at Norcross Social Club, Norcross Lane, between 10am and 3pm.
The DWP announced last June it was transferring 1,200 jobs from Norcross to Peel Park in South Shore, in a move which will happen by August 31 this year.
Since then, it has been decided to retain 200 jobs at Tomlinson House at Norcross, which is occupied by Veterans Agency staff.
Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard said: “I have met with Trillium and discussed their plans.
“They own the site and want to ensure they derive some economic benefit from it, and if it isn’t going to be occupied by civil service employees, they will want to seek alternative use.
“Any scheme is at a very early stage.
“I would wish to see anything which would help employment but it would also require infrastructure to be considered.”
Wyre Council leader Coun Peter Gibson said it was vital the site remained a focal point in north Blackpool.
He added: “I welcome the extra jobs that will now be remaining at Norcross and I want to see this prominent site continue to be in use and of value to the local community.
“It is very early stages, however we have spoken to the developers about the site’s future and are happy to be consulted over their proposals.”
Victoria ward councillor Alan Vincent said the site should remain an employment hub.
He added: “At the moment this is an area designated for offices and employment use so they would need to make a good argument to say it was suitable for anything else.”
Civil service unions said they feared the move would put the lid on any hope of attracting new civil service jobs to the site in the future.
Martin Jones (left), chairman of the Fylde branch of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union, said: “Norcross has the capacity for 3,300 jobs.
“Once they bulldoze the site, the potential for that level of employment on the site again has been lost.”
Businesses are also being consulted about the proposals.
Kevin Craughwell, manager of the Golden Eagle Pub on Warren Drive, said: “If there is another pub, it would be competition for us, but they would have to be very careful about opening new retail outlets.
“Shops are already closing in our town centres because more and more people are buying stuff on the internet.”