RADICAL new plans could see a community take charge of derelict and eyesore sites and transform them into buildings they want to see.
The Government has announced a £17m funding pot to help communities get building projects off the ground, and St Annes Town Council could be the first to get involved.
Coun Edward Nash is calling on the authority to use the new legislation to put planning back in the hands of the community, and is targeting abandoned plots of land across the town.
Coun Nash, who sits on both the town and Fylde councils, told The Gazette: “We are not rushing localism because it is quite new to all of us, but the town council is looking at drawing up a community plan for St Annes.
“We have a horrible site called The Gables on Orchard Road which has all the foundations in, the sewers in and then the company which own it has gone bust.
“There is also a great big site overlooking The Island on South Promenade where there has been nothing for six or seven years and it’s horrible.
“The Government is putting up £17m as a fund to help communities act and if nobody else is going to do anything it could be the community uses this legislation to do something.”
Under the new Community Right to Build scheme, locals will be able to approve new developments without the need to go through the normal planning process.
As long as the proposals meet certain criteria – and more than 50 per cent of voters back them in a referendum – the projects will get the go-ahead. Areas looking to start building projects - which can be anything from community halls to children’s playgrounds or affordable homes – can then bid for a share of the £17m.
It is early days for any plans from St Annes Town Council, but Fylde councillor Sue Fazackerley, who represents the central ward of St Annes, said she would welcome anything which would help clean up the eyesore sites on Orchard Road and South Promenade.
Coun Fazackerley said: “These two sites are a total disgrace and I feel sorry for those poor people who live on Orchard Road.
“And the site near The Island is such a prime site and it’s an eyesore right on the seafront. Anything which could be done to sensitively develop these sites I’d be all in favour of.”