Homes passed despite ‘gridlock’ road claim

An artists impression showing the layout of a housing development proposed for the National Savings site on Mythop Road, Blackpool.
An artists impression showing the layout of a housing development proposed for the National Savings site on Mythop Road, Blackpool.

Residents have predicted a new housing development will bring gridlock to a key Blackpool route because it will mean four sets of traffic lights in a half mile stretch of road.

The scheme to build 118 homes plus offices on the National Savings and Investments (NS&I) site on Mythop Road, which was approved by Blackpool Council’s planning committee on Tuesday, will also see the demolition of the famous eight-storey tower.

The National Savings building in Marton which is set to be demolished

The National Savings building in Marton which is set to be demolished

It was one of five developments which went before councillors and which are set to bring in millions of pounds of investment to the town.

Four of the applications were approved, with one deferred for more information.

People living in nearby roads including Wheatlands Crescent and Paddock Drive, claimed the NS&I development would bring traffic congestion, lead to loss of wildlife habitat and increase the risk of flooding.

A new traffic light junction will be created on Preston New Road to access the housing estate, meaning there are four sets of lights between there and Clifton Road, the others being at Mythop Road and the Harbour mental health centre.

Plans  for the redevelopment of Anchorsholme Park

Plans for the redevelopment of Anchorsholme Park

Chris Cartmell, speaking on behalf of residents, told the meeting: “Putting an access off Preston New Road will cause chaos. It will be gridlock leading to standing traffic and disruption to residents.

“The proposal will create a sequence of four sets of traffic lights in half a mile.

“Preston New Road is the main route in and out of Blackpool from the M55.”

But transport chiefs said measures would be put in place to ensure the traffic light sequences were co-ordinated to keep vehicles moving.

Latif Patel, group engineer for traffic management at the council, said: “Highways have requested there is a link between the existing junctions and the new junction.

“This will co-ordinate the lights at Clifton Road, the Harbour, Mythop Road and the new junction and will cater for the peaks and troughs of traffic movement.”

Planning consultant Mike Hopkins, representing NS&I and house builder Rowland Homes, said he believed there would be “minimal” queuing on Preston New Road at peak times, and the new junction had been accepted by highways officers because it would meet safety requirements.

He added the development would bring “aspirational” three and four-bedroomed homes to Blackpool.

Mr Hopkins added; “The development of the site represents a major opportunity for the borough to transform these existing 1970s offices which are very unattractive to employers.”

The Tower, which has been empty for some time, is said to be in poor condition.

However the Moorland building, where 400 people still work, will remain.

Detailed plans for the housing were approved, along with an outline application for new offices and light industrial units.

Residents also objected to an application by United Utilities for a pumping station at Anchorsholme Park.

They were concerned changes to the park – including the loss of the putting and pitch and putt courses and a bowling green, and the re-siting of the bowling club pavilion, were a retrograde step.

It was also feared the creation of mounds, from earth dug out to put in a new underground water storage tank, would attract groups of noisy youths and vandals.

But United Utilities said it had fully consulted with residents since 2014 and as a result had reduced the size of the mounds and the height of the bowling club.

A spokesman for the company told the meeting that if approved, the scheme “will improve local beaches and provide improved recreational facilities for residents.”

Council planning officer Mark Shaw said: “The park will be level with and open out onto the Promenade to integrate the park and the Promenade much better than now.

“It will make the new cafe and facilities much more readily accessible.”

A new outfall pipe will also be built, which at 3.75km in length will reach further out to sea than the existing pipe.

An application to demolish the Kimberley, Waldorf and Henderson hotels and replace them with 99 apartments in a block between five to seven storeys in height, which had been recommended for approval, was deferred after councillors asked for more information so they could better assess any potential impact on nearby residents.

Work to build a new police station in Blackpool could begin later this year after councillors approved plans for the £21m scheme.

The new base will be built on the site of the former Progress House on Clifton Road, Marton, to replace the outdated facilities in Bonny Street.

Angela Harrison, director at the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire, said: “This is another step forward towards building a brand new police station fit for the 21st century.

“The new West HQ will create jobs locally as we have ensured local suppliers have the chance to get involved in the project throughout.

“Young people will also be given opportunity to work on the new build with an apprenticeships scheme with Blackpool and the Fylde College.

“It really is good news for Blackpool and the force as the modern energy-efficient building will save significant amounts every year in running costs compared to the out-of-date Bonny Street station it is replacing.”

Meanwhile proposals for a luxury hotel to be built on the Sands venue on Central Promenade have also been approved - but architects are going back to the drawing board in terms of the design.

A three storey extension to the roof and a single storey side extension will be built but detailed designs will come back before the committee at a future date.

Planning officer Mark Shaw told councillors: “The proposal had a three storey glass extension to the roof.

“But we weren’t happy with the design concept.”