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‘Don’t tie our hands over our homes’

Tracey McNamara outside her home in Layton and (below) Coun David Owen.

Tracey McNamara outside her home in Layton and (below) Coun David Owen.

Hands off our homes! Angry residents in Blackpool are fighting plans to give their homes heritage status – amid claims it could end up costing them money.

A block of five terraced Edwardian houses on Talbot Road, Layton, were due to be added to Blackpool Council’s local list, for culturally significant buildings, before the decision was challenged.

Homeowner Tracey McNamara was outraged to discover the move could affect any future plans to alter the house she has lived in for 17 years.

But despite her objections, Blackpool Council’s planning committee voted to add her home to the ‘local list’ last month.

The children’s centre worker said: “The letter we were sent made it sound like we had won the lottery but we didn’t realise the implications.

“Now if we want to change anything about the house, we probably won’t get planning permission.

“They have not asked for our consent to do this – it has just been railroaded through.”

The list aims to protect more than 300 locally significant buildings that do not qualify for national heritage status such as The Metropole Hotel, Cedar Tavern, and 
Robert’s Oyster Bar.

Inclusion on the list will be a consideration for planners if homeowners apply to develop their property in the future – although Blackpool Council says it will not affect work that would not normally require planning permission.

Homeowner, Jean O’Keefe, 69, said: “I own this house yet I can’t do what I want with it. It’s wrong.

“Not only that, when I come to sell the house it’s going to affect the sale.”

Ms McNamara, 49, has now appealed against the decision to list the home she lives in with her two teenage children, which was built in 1901.

She said: “On the list they presented to us, we were the only residential properties on it. I understand the value of things being preserved but when it comes to people’s homes it’s a different ball game.

“I have sought legal advice on this and will take it further if necessary.”

However, Wayne Flanagan, 48, who rents a flat in one of the terraced properties, said: “I have only been living here for six weeks but I was born round here and I do think it’s a good idea to list the houses.

“They are part of the fabric and history of the place.”

Coun David Owen, chairman of the planning committee, said: “This list includes buildings which hold some historical significance to the town.

“It is different to nationally listed buildings and does not affect their right to carry out small developments.

“If anybody chooses to review their property being on the list then we are happy to listen to their views.

“We have spoken to Ms McNamara as is the process with the local list. The inclusion of the property will be reviewed by an independent party before we make a final decision.”

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