More of Blackpool town centre looks set to get protected status.
Heritage chiefs are poised to extend the town centre conservation area which currently does not include listed buildings such as The Tower, Winter Gardens and Grand Theatre.
The proposed changes, which are due to go before the council’s executive when it meets on Monday, would also see part of Central Promenade included for the first time.
If approved, the boundaries will be extended from the current area between Clifton Street, Abingdon Street, Church Street and Cedar Square, to stretch from the Promenade in the west, Springfield Road to the north, Topping Street to the east and Adelaide Street to the south.
The proposals will go out to consultation before a final decision is made.
Blackpool Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn said: “This item means the conservation area in the town centre would extend to encompass listed buildings such as the Tower and the Winter Gardens, Central Library and Grundy Art Gallery.
“This would give us greater control over any buildings or demolitions in the area. Planning permission isn’t currently needed to knock down a building outside of a conservation area, so it’s really important for the future heritage of the town that do all we can to put the necessary protections in place.
“It will also give the council more control over buildings planned to be built nearby in the future, making sure that their appearance is in keeping with the surroundings.
“The full plan to extend will go out to consultation.
“I am mindful of fears though that this decision may cause unnecessary delay and an additional level of bureaucracy.
“Through the consultation process we will seek to ensure this additional level of protection will not simply be an additional hurdle for developers to clear.”
Blackpool currently has two conservation areas, with the other one around Stanley Park.
The Town Centre Conservation Area was designated in 1984, centred on Talbot Square.
It was extended in 2005 to its present size.
Civic guardians welcome proposal
Joan Humble, chairman of the Blackpool Civic Trust, today welcomed the move.
She said: “We have excellent examples of listed buildings in the town centre, but we also need to look at the area as a whole and the other properties within it.
“We need to make sure planning applications are thoroughly examined because we want the whole of that area to fulfill its potential, both for residents and visitors.
“The existing boundaries of the conservation area do not, for example, take into account the seafront and I think it’s important they do.”
A report to the executive says extending the conservation area further will protect a wider variety of buildings including pubs, banks and other commercial premises.
It adds: “This will enable the settings of these buildings to be managed more effectively and will help raise the quality of design for new buildings and alterations to existing buildings.”
In the past, premises in the conservation area have been able to access grants including from the lottery-funded Townscape Heritage Initiative. This was used for new shopfronts in Cedar Square.