Club 3000 bingo plan for Blackpool approved after council ruling is overturned
A £7m bingo hall is set to open in Blackpool next summer after the scheme was given the go ahead on appeal.
Blackpool Council's planning committee had thrown out the proposals by Club 3000 to redevelop part of the Festival Leisure Park on Rigby Road.
Councillors had warned the loss of more than 100 parking spaces and the demolition of the Swift Hound Pub to make way for the new investment would have a detrimental impact on the neighbourhood particularly in relation to traffic.
But planning inspector Mike Worden dismissed the concerns and said "the proposal would not be harmful to the character and appearance of the area".
Club 3000 now hopes to open its new venue on the site, which already includes restaurants and a gym as well as the Odeon cinema, by summer 2020.
Brian Fraser, founder of Club 3000, said: “We are delighted to be given the opportunity to develop our latest venue in Blackpool, a place which I am passionate about since coming here every year as a child.
"We can’t wait to get started in building a first class venue for existing and new
Club 3000, which already operates seven clubs in the North West, says the scheme will also create 55 new jobs.
The company said it would aim "to promote Blackpool as a tourist destination for its existing and new customers."
A spokesperson added: "Bingo is a unique leisure activity which is involved with local communities and we look forward being a part of that. "
The council’s planning committee turned down the development in July last year amid fears it would trigger traffic problems in the area and customers would park on the surrounding residential streets including the £50m Foxhall Village.
The applicantion included the demolition of the Swift Hound pub which operator Greene King had warned was underperforming.
The scheme will mean the loss of more than 100 parking spaces on the existing site as the scale of the development means the bingo club will cover a site six times as big as the present pub.
The number of car parking spaces at the site will be cut from 604 to 453 - although 45 new cycle spots, 18 new motorbike spaces, and an extra 21 disabled parking spaces are planned.
In his report planning inspector Mr Worden acknowledged the concerns raised by councillors that an "approximate 1,300 seated venue would attract more people than the appellant had calculated."
But he said the introduction of new parking controls at the site and restrictions including double yellow lines and residents-only parking schemes in surrounding streets would prevent the area becoming jammed with traffic.
He said: "Furthermore, a new car parking management arrangement has recently been put in place on the site which uses ANPR technology to control car parking usage and stay.
"This system would free up spaces for users of the park itself and ensure that spaces were not taken up by people visiting the nearby football ground and resort attractions for example. "
He also said he did not believe the scheme would lead to any additional noise or disturbance for residents including those living on the council-spearheaded £50m Foxhall Village housing development.
The site is currently homes to the Odeon Cinema, Bannatyne's Gym, a McDonald's fast food outlet and Frankie and Benny's Italian restaurant.
Deeside-based Care Parking introduced parking restrictions last November meaning drivers can only stay for up to three hours or else face being charged £100, reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days.
People can register with the businesses on site to stay for longer if they need to.
Care Parking said the rules were introduced after “substantial misuse” of the site by “non-patrons”, including match-goers at nearby Bloomfield Road.