Blackpool bingo plan fails to win council over

An artists impression of the proposed bingo hall
An artists impression of the proposed bingo hall
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A £6.8m project to build a bingo hall on a Blackpool leisure park has been thrown out amid fears it would trigger traffic problems.

Blackpool Council's planning committee unanimously refused the application to demolish the Swift Hound Pub at Festival Retail Park on Rigby Road and replace it with a Club 3000 Bingo complex and a drive-through restaurant.

Councillors ruled such a large scale development would have a detrimental impact on the surrounding residential area.

It was feared overflow parking would lead to people parking on residential streets, and local roads would struggle to cope with the increase in traffic.

Speaking after the meeting, committee chairman Coun Lynn Williams said: "Concerns were raised about the impact of the loss of more than 100 parking spaces and members felt this would lead to people parking on nearby residential streets if there was an overflow at very busy times.

"Also considered was the affect on the roads around the area of the additional traffic which would be generated.

"Other issues were the scale of the development, which would be six times the footprint of the existing pub, and the loss of the pub which is a community asset.

"We don't want to discourage substantial investment but it has to be the right development in the right place."

Homes are currently being built nearby as part of the Foxhall Village on Rigby Road, and Coun Williams said councillors felt the bingo scheme could be detrimental to residents on nearby streets including the new development.

The application had been recommended for approval after previously being recommended for refusal and then deferred from the last planning committee meeting in June.

Town hall planners had initially said they would prefer a town centre location for the scheme, but they later accepted the applicant had satisfied the sequential test proving there were no other suitable sites.

The scheme would have created a total of 55 full-time jobs, while the number of car parking spaces at the site would be cut from 604 to 453 – though 45 new cycle spots, 18 new motorbike spaces, and an extra 21 disabled parking spaces were planned.

Greene King, which runs the Swift Hound under its Flaming Grills banner, has warned the pub is underperforming and may close.

Other sites considered for the bingo hall, but deemed unsuitable were the former postal delivery office in Abingdon Street in the town centre, the old BHS store in Church Street, and offices in Bickerstaffe Square.

The leisure park is already home to an Odeon cinema, a Bannatyne’s gym, a McDonald’s with drive-through, and Frankie & Benny’s Italian-American diner.