Planning blow for blind centre plans

Kevin Winkley of N-Vision and (below) the charity's proposals.

Kevin Winkley of N-Vision and (below) the charity's proposals.

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PROPOSALS for a £2m centre for blind people face uncertainty after planners earmarked the scheme for refusal.

N-Vision, which was formerly known as Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Society for the Blind, is seeking planning permission for a new Low Vision Centre at its site on Bosworth Place, South Shore.

N-Vision's proposal

N-Vision's proposal

But councillors are being urged to turn down the proposed scheme amid fears it is out of scale with the rest of the area.

N-Vision wants to install solar panels on the roof of the proposed two-storey building in order to generate its own electricity.

However, a report to Blackpool Council’s planning committee says while there is “no argument with the principle of the proposal, the issue is the massing and design of the development.”

It adds: “With regard to the character of the area, the building would dwarf the closest building, which is the south wing to the home.”

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The report recommends the application be refused when it goes before councillors on June 11.

N-Vision chief executive Kevin Winkley said the charity would appeal if the plans were thrown out.

He said: “We held an open event and invited all the neighbours and we have had no objections to the scheme.

“Our roof level has been designed to have a big area to generate sustainable electricity and will be virtually covered with solar panels.

“It will help us as a charity because we have to raise our own funds, and sustainable energy is an obvious route for anyone in the charity sector looking at new developments, as well as being something the government is pushing for.

“It is an ambitious project, but we do have 2,500 clients in the area and that number is going up.

“We have 2.4 times the national average of blind people living on the Fylde coast and that is spurring us on to develop our services.”

N-Vision has already raised £60,000 towards its target, but hopes to attract grants to fund the bulk of the development costs.

In February this year, Blackpool FC legend Jimmy Armfield unveiled a 3D model of the proposed centre produced by students from Blackpool and The Fylde College.

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