Resort is ‘stuck in the mud’

The Kimberley Hotel

The Kimberley Hotel

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Multi-million pound proposals to demolish rundown hotels and replace them with seafront apartments have been thrown out by councillors - prompting warnings a key area of Blackpool may now lose out on investment.

Blackpool Council’s planning committee refused to approve a £7m scheme to replace the Kimberley, Waldorf and Henderson Hotels on Wimbourne Place, South Promenade, with 99 apartments.

They ruled the proposed 84 parking spaces were not enough and the five-to-seven storey high building would impact too much on the homes of existing residents in the area.

People living in Clifton Drive had objected to the application because they warned it was too high and would overshadow their houses.

But town hall planners had recommended the development for approval saying the height difference between the proposals and already approved plans for a new Hilton Hotel on an adjacent site “would not be significantly different.”

Following the decision, architect Michael Joyce who had designed the scheme, said: “It would have been the start of regeneration of South Promenade but once again Blackpool is stuck in the mud.

“People who want to regenerate Blackpool now have a problem.

“At the meeting one councillor said there ought to be parking spaces for every bed space, but this proposal is for one, two and three bedroomed properties so each property would need three or four parking spaces.

“But the number of parking spaces we were proposing was acceptable by the planning office. If the council is going to take this view, it is going to make the redevelopment of hotels on either side of the Solaris difficult because you cannot meet the standard.

“The decision is very disappointing. Twelve months of work which was supported by the planning department has gone up in smoke.”

In its assessment of the application, the council’s planning department said although there would be less than one car parking space per flat “given the location opposite the tram services and bus services on the Promenade it is considered acceptable, particularly as the current situation with the existing premises offers little in the way of off street car parking.”

However the committee ruled against the application by five votes to two.

Gary Johnston, head of planning at Blackpool Council, said the committee felt the scheme was “over intensive” and the number of parking spaces “couldn’t be sufficient”.

The applicants now have the right to submit an appeal against the decision.