FAREWELL TO OUR OTHER TOWER: New homes signal end of skyline landmark

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More than 100 new homes could be built on a civil service site in a development which would also see the demolition of a Blackpool landmark.

Proposals are now before Blackpool Council to build 118 homes on part of the National Savings site on Mythop Road in Marton.

A plan of how the National Savings site could look

A plan of how the National Savings site could look

If it gets the go ahead, the scheme will see the famous eight-storey tower building bulldozed.

The offices are well known for being home to ERNIE - the Electronic Random Number Indicating Equipment that selects Premium Bond winners.

Lancashire-based Rowland Homes is hoping to build the new housing estate which would be accessed from Preston New Road.

Part of the land would also be earmarked for employment use.

The tower is an iconic building, but it is not listed, and it doesn’t serve any purpose any more.

Marton councillor Jim Elmes

Around 450 civil servants still work for National Savings and Investments (NS&I) on the site, but have been transferred to the Moorland building which will continue to operate, and which also now houses ERNIE.

A planning brief accompanying the application says: “The proposed layout has been designed to respond to its location on a gateway to Blackpool, with a range of properties and heights creating visual interest.”

It adds: “The proposals will deliver high quality three and four-bedroomed family dwellings for which there is demand, and would provide high quality aspirational housing which will assist in addressing the projected out migration of the population.”

There are already plans on the table to build 1,400 homes on Whyndyke Farm which is directly adjacent to the National Savings site, on the other side of Mythop Road.

Marton councillor Jim Elmes, whose ward includes the area, said he had concerns about the traffic implications of the development.

He said: “There is only going to be one entrance and I am concerned about that. I think there should also be an access from Mythop Road.

“I particularly think it will be difficult for traffic turning right out of the site because it will have to cross a dual carriageway.

“Some of my constituents have also raised worries about the impact on Wheatlands Crescent where there is some open space and trees but I am told that piece of land won’t be touched.

“Otherwise, the designs are high quality, there are measures in place to deal with any potential flooding and generally the development itself looks good.

“The tower is an iconic building, but it is not listed, and it doesn’t serve any purpose any more.

“I’m also pleased some employment land is part of the scheme which will hopefully bring new jobs to the area.”

A spokesman for NS&I said: “NS&I has sold part of its site in Blackpool, in line with Government policy.

“The planning application for the redevelopment of this land will have no impact on NS&I staff working in the nearby Moorland building.”

The plans propose traffic lights at the junction with Preston New Road.

The NS&I site at Mythop Road opened in around 1978, but the tower buildings are now vacant and are said to be in a poor state of repair.

Gary Johnston, head of planning at Blackpool Council, said: “This is a hybrid application which is part detailed and part in outline.

“The housing element is all on undeveloped land and the employment land is in relation to buildings which would be demolished.”

While the whole site is currently designated for employment use, the council’s
 core strategy says in some circumstances enabling development such as the housing proposed would be permissible.

The scheme is expected to go before the council’s planning committee later this year for consideration.