Homes plan off the table

Layton Institute bowling green which is under threat of development and (below) Cath Hurley.

Layton Institute bowling green which is under threat of development and (below) Cath Hurley.

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PLANS to build houses on the Layton Institute bowling green have been withdrawn after planning chiefs recommended they be thrown out.

Town hall bosses were set to turn down the scheme for a second time amid fears the development could put the future of the venue at risk.

Cath Hurley

Cath Hurley

The financially-stricken institute closed its doors earlier this month after nearly 100 years trading, but it is hoped a buyer can be found and the site will eventually re-open.

And town hall chiefs had warned allowing homes to be built on the green could put off potential investors.

Blackpool Council’s planning committee was recommended to refuse the application for five two-storey houses to be built on the land, with access from Granby Avenue, but the scheme was withdrawn before it could be heard.

A report to the committee, which met last night at Blackpool Town Hall, said: “Developing the green in isolation of the currently redundant main building is considered premature and the green should remain undeveloped until the future of the institute is clearer, and to ensure the institute has the best possible chance of being brought back into its optimum viable use.

“To prejudice future uses of Layton Institute would be significantly detrimental to the building as a heritage asset, to the Layton district centre and the local community.”

Ahead of the meeting, Cath Hurley, of the Layton Traders Association, said she hoped the institute would re-open as a family pub.

She said: “My personal view is I don’t want them to put houses on the bowling green.

“The feedback I have been getting from people is they would like to see the institute re-open as a family pub because we haven’t got anything like that in Layton.

“If that were to happen the bowling green would make a nice beer garden for families to use.”

The institute agreed to sell the bowling green in a failed bid to raise funds to keep the club going.

An earlier scheme for seven houses on the site was refused by the council in April because it would have resulted in the loss of community facilities.

Residents of Granby Avenue also objected because they did not want to see open space built on.

The revised application was for fewer houses which would have been built further away from the rear of the venue while access to the site was wider.

A submission by the applicant said the number of active bowlers had fallen but the planning report added “bowling demand in Blackpool has increased steadily over recent years”.