Query over £140K cost of church site

Christ the King presbytery at Grange Park which has been bought by Blackpool Council
Christ the King presbytery at Grange Park which has been bought by Blackpool Council
0
Have your say

A derelict church building has been bought by Blackpool Council for £140,000 as part of redevelopment plans.

The former presbytery and car park of Christ the King Church on Gateside Drive, Grange Park, is the latest acquisition towards assembling land for future regeneration.

Coun Tony Williams has questioned whether people will be able to afford the increase

Coun Tony Williams has questioned whether people will be able to afford the increase

The site, which covers approximately half an acre, is adjacent to the Cherwell Centre and Chepstow Road shops which are also earmarked for redevelopment.

The retail units are set to be transferred to the City Learning Centre (CLC) in nearby Dinmore Avenue.

A council report says the area has been identified for residential development.

It adds: “At present the council has not yet identified exactly how this area will be developed, but the opportunity has presented itself to purchase the site which will allow a range of different potential residential developments.”

The purchase is being funded from the council’s capital receipts, with the cost due to be reclaimed on completion of the scheme.

Coun Tony Williams, leader of the Conservatives on Blackpool Council, said he would be quizzing finance chiefs about the purchase.

He said: “It seems to me to be a lot of money to pay for a derelict piece of land.

“But I have asked for a briefing in order to find out more about how it is being financed and the development plans.”

Christ the King Church has been relocated as part of the redevelopment of the nearby St Mary’s College.

The church and presbytery were built in 1949 as part of a major post-war church building scheme in Blackpool.

Council chief executive Neil Jack says in an email to Coun Williams: “The purchase of the Christ the King presbytery is part of the redevelopment of the lower part of Grange Park, which includes the church, social club and the shops.

“The purchase has been funded from our existing capital receipts reserve, with the intention of replacing the funds when the development has completed.”

The work to bulldoze buildings on Chepstow Road, which currently houses the estate’s Post Office, a pharmacy, bakery, and corner shop, is part of a £300,000 scheme, currently the subject of a planning application. It will also give a fresh lease of life to the CLC.