An going row over the location of a seafront ride in Blackpool is set to be coming to an end after the Planning Inspectorate upheld a decision for it to be refused planning permission.
The Blackpool Pier Company had been seeking permission to keep its log flume ride on land to the north of South Pier since submitting the planning application last year.
Blackpool Council’s planning committee refused to grant permission for the log flume to remain on the Prom alongside South Pier when it met in September 2018.
Temporary approval for the attraction to be sited there for 18 months while repair work was done at its former location on the pier had expired.
However after Blackpool Council refused the application, Peter Sedgwick, owner of the resort’s three piers and the log flume lodged an appeal against the decision with Government’s executive agency at the end of the six month time period allowed for a challenge to be made
Councillors turned the bid down on the grounds the ride “would detract from the character and appearance of the Prom” including the setting next to the pier. The location also contravened policies which strictly control where funfairs can be placed.
Blackpool Pleasure Beach also objected to the planning application, saying the ride in its current location could undermine its own operation and possibly affect jobs.
The log flume is the only one in Blackpool after the one at the Pleasure Beach was removed in 2006, although there are other water-based rides at the Pleasure Beach.
However David Storrie, an inspector for the Planning Inspectorate, dismissed the appeal on the grounds of the log flume being in an area that does not allow funfair rides.
He said: “Having regard to the above, adopted planning policy is not supportive of the proposed development as it does not fall within a location that would allow funfair rides.
“Furthermore, the design of the development falls below that expected in an area where there has been significant investment in upgrading the promenade.
“The siting, scale and design would also harm the setting of the non-designated heritage asset adjacent to the site.
Mr Sedgwick said he was disappointed with the Planning Inspectorate’s decision.
He said: “I think it’s a shame that the pier is losing the log flume.
“It was a good attraction and it was helping improve the visitor numbers to South Pier and Promenade as well.”
In response to Blackpool Pleasure Beach objecting to the application, Mr Sedgwick said: “I think a lot more people would like sole rights to things in Blackpool if they could.
“The council does appear to favour Blackpool Pleasue Beach. I don’t know what the log flume was going to make but it’s just one of those things.
“The log flume is being removed immediately however the piers need every penny they can get to keep them from falling into the sea.”
A spokesman for Blackpool Council said: “The Planning Inspectorate informed us that they have dismissed the appeal by the Blackpool Pier Company regarding the log flume ride adjacent to South Pier.
“We refused permanent planning permission for the log flume on the grounds that it would detract from the character and appearance South Pier, which is a locally listed building, and the Promenade due to its height, bulk and appearance.
“The Blackpool Pier Company has been notified of the Planning Inspectorate’s decision and the log flume will now need to be removed.”
What the inspector said
The design of the log flume at South Pier was criticised by inspector David Storrie in his report.
In his verdict, he noted that when the attraction was granted temporary permission, to allow for the pier to be upgraded, planners specifically noted their objection to the move being made permanent.
He said the size and design of the ride mean it “does not fit well with the quality of the upgraded Promenade that provides an attractive public area along the seafront”.
He added: “I consider that the ride would harm the setting of the pier, appearing as a free-standing structure of poor design with no clear link to the pier.
“It is of a functional design that relates poorly to the character and form of the nearby pier and wider promenade area.
“I consider this to be a negative effect.”
He also rejected suggestions that landscaping could help improve the look of the ride.
He also noted that the planned pier upgrades had not taken place, adding: “No case has been advanced to justify the retention of the development contrary to adopted planning policy.
“The design of the development falls below that expected in an area where there has been significant investment in upgrading the promenade.”