Developers win flats appeal for synagogue

Blackpool United Hebrew Synagogue, which developers hope to convert into five flats.

Blackpool United Hebrew Synagogue, which developers hope to convert into five flats.

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Developers have won a second appeal to convert a former synagogue into flats.

Thompson Property Investments had challenged a decision by Blackpool Council to refuse planning permission and listed building consent for the redevelopment of the building on Leamington Road in the town.

Last year the council won a high court bid to block the scheme, after a planning inspector had ruled in favour of the developer.

It forced a second hearing of the appeal in front of a different planning inspector.

But that appeal has also been allowed.

The inspector concluded while the proposal would cause some harm to the special architectural and historical interest of the Grade II listed building, that would be outweighed by the public benefits of the scheme.

The synagogue was deconsecrated in 2012 but the council said it was of historic interest, boasting an important stained glass window.

The former place of worship, built between 1916 and 1926 and featuring distinctive Accrington brick, was bought by Thompson Property Investments in 2012

Conversion plans include making external alterations including replacement windows and construction of a part two-storey, part single-storey rear extension, a second floor rear extension including an enclosed roof garden following part-demolition of an existing single-storey corridor extension.

Part of the ground floor and first floor and the second floor would be used as five self-contained permanent flats.

Making his decision, planning inspector Jonathan Hockley said he considered “the public benefits of bringing the rear of the building back to life, the security benefits of the scheme, and in renovating and repairing the original synagogue would outweigh such harm.”