Concerns raised as plans to build homes on former Blackpool school site will mean loss of playing fields

Plans to build 176 homes on the site of a former Blackpool school look set to go ahead despite the loss of school playing fields and open space.

Wednesday, 25th September 2019, 1:13 pm
A plan of the proposed development

The scheme to redevelop Bispham High School, which shut in 2014, is being recommended for approval when it goes before the council's planning committee next Tuesday.

National body Sport England along with a number of residents of Regency Gardens have objected due to the loss of playing fields and open space at the 22.5 acre site.

But the council says a new pitch will be built at Stanley Park to make up for the loss of the playing fields, while other open space had already been earmarked for development.

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A plan of the proposed development

Documents submitted to the council by Sport England warn "the playing fields lost at this site through development are not considered surplus and need to be replaced".

It adds residents of the new homes "will generate demand for sporting provision" and existing facilities may not "be able to accommodate this increased demand without exacerbating existing and/or predicted future deficiencies."

Council chiefs say a hockey pitch at Stanley Park will be replaced

with a full sized 3G football pitch by next spring in order to replace the lost playing fields.

The council's latest Playing Pitch Strategy identifies the school playing fields as being surplus to requirements because of this.

Planners acknowledge there has been "considerable opposition" from residents of Regency Gardens which will be used to access some of the new housing.

A report to the committee adds: "This is understandable on the basis that residents have enjoyed undeveloped open land to the north which links up to the Rock Gardens and the playing field accessed from Inver Road for nearly

20 years.

"The undeveloped land to the north of the estate has also meant that traffic levels have been lower than otherwise would be the case had the adjoining land to the north been subject to development.

"However, unfortunately for residents of the Regency Gardens estate

the adjoining land was always intended to be developed at some future date."

The council has set aside £1m to prepare the land for investment after it received £3.1m of government funding last year to unlock potential development sites in its ownership.

The scheme also includes dismantling and relocating the cadet hut on Bispham Road to a site fronting Kylemore Avenue.