Nursery bid thrown out

The former Paul Gaunt Furniture store in Squires Gate Lane

The former Paul Gaunt Furniture store in Squires Gate Lane

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A bid to convert a former furniture store into a nursery has been refused amid fears the sound of children playing would disturb residents.

Paul Gaunt had applied to Blackpool Council for permission to make changes to his property in Squires Gate Lane, South Shore, which closed in May.

He told Blackpool’s planning committee that he and his wife wanted to re-open the premises as a nursery catering for up to 70 children, and creating 21 jobs.

But councillors threw out the application despite there being no objections submitted by neighbours.

Gary Johnston, head of planning at Blackpool Council, said there were concerns over the number of children who would attend the nursery, and the impact on residential amenity in terms of the noise generated by children playing outside.

There were also fears about highway safety due to the traffic generated by parents dropping off and collecting their children.

Mr Gaunt said competition from online retailers had forced him to close his business, and becoming a father himself for the first time had opened his eyes to the need for nursery provision.

He told the meeting: “There are a lot of houses being built in close proximity to the proposed nursery, as well as hopefully new jobs being created at the airport which is due to become an enterprise zone.

“So there is a need for childcare.

“All the neighbours fully support the application and no objections have been received by the council.”

Squires Gate councillor Christian Cox also spoke in support of the application.

He said: “We have Roseacre School in the area and there have never been any concerns about noise.

“We also have two other nurseries on Lytham Road and Highfield Road, and I have not had any complaints about those.

“Increased childcare provision would be a benefit to the area with all the houses being built, for example at Pontins, and it is also beneficial not to have empty premises.”

But Coun Adrian Hutton said: “This is going to generate a lot of traffic at peak times on the roads round there and it will cause some problems.”