PLANS to convert the former TVR factory into an ice rink have been put on hold.
Blackpool Council’s planning committee voted to defer an application to install an Olympic-sized skating arena in disused buildings at the site on Bristol Avenue, Bispham.
Councillors were divided over the issue which would deliver a much-wanted leisure facility, but mean the loss of key industrial land.
The meeting, which was attended by about 50 members of the public, was also warned the scheme may lead to the closure of the existing Sub Zero ice rink in Cleveleys.
Ian Hunter, representing the Jubilee Leisure Park in Cleveleys, where Sub Zero is based, said: “Another ice rink would have an adverse affect on Sub Zero and is likely to close it. It would affect all the leisure park, including the Vue cinema and Pizza Hut, and in the end I could see it closing that and having an impact on jobs.”
But Alex Ferguson, treasurer of the Fylde Coast Figure Skating Club which has about 90 members, said having a larger rink would help skaters reach a higher level of expertise.
She told Monday’s meeting: “The proposed rink would be full sized and therefore benefit all the skaters on the Fylde coast and further afield.”
Planning officers said the scheme was contrary to Blackpool’s planning policies which stated industrial land should be protected for large-scale employment use.
However, Coun Tony Lee said Blackpool would be missing out on “a golden opportunity” if the proposal was turned down.
He said: “We have a building that has been empty for six years. How much longer will it stay empty? Let’s get something going there and give the youth of Blackpool the facilities they need.”
But Coun Allan Matthews said: “Having visited the site, I understand the need for local commercial premises to move onto that site. It is an extensive unit.”
Committee chairman Coun David Owen suggested the committee agree to defer the application so it could consider conditions being attached to the scheme if it was to be approved.
He said: “We cannot approve it as it stands without weighing up the implications.”
The application, which had been recommended for refusal, will be brought back before the committee at a later date.
The two gyms and small industrial units at the front of the site would not be affected by the plans.