Blackpool councillors set to make decision on £860k Grange Park community hub

Blackpool City Learning Centre.
Blackpool City Learning Centre.
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Councillors are being asked to approve borrowing nearly £860,000 to fund new community facilities on a Blackpool housing estate.

The money would go towards the redevelopment of the City Learning Centre on Bathurst Avenue, Grange Park.

The old Dinmore pub would have been a good place for shops, but nothing seems to be happening there at the moment

Plans are in the pipeline to relocate the shops from Chepstow Road to the learning centre in order to make better use of the building.

Once vacant, the shops would then be demolished to create a large space of land for future redevelopment.

Four shops are affected. The One Stop Shop and Grange Pharmacy are said to have agreed in principle to relocate to the City Learning Centre, while negotiations are ongoing for the Post Office and Grange Bakery to move to suitable accommodation.

A report to the Blackpool Council executive, which will consider the recommendation when it meets today, also sets out plans also for a community farm.

It says: “The relocation of the existing retail shops will facilitate greater footfall and use of the existing City Learning Centre, benefiting the existing library and cafe and the creation of a ‘community hub’ for Grange Park.”

The funding would be borrowed over 25 years with the loan paid back from rental income, while there would also be reduced costs associated with the centre.

Grange Park resident and community worker Terry Bennett said it was essential to maintain shops on the estate.

He said: “The old Dinmore pub would have been a good place for shops, but nothing seems to be happening there at the moment.

“This scheme does mean they are going to take meeting rooms out of the City Learning Centre, but we do need shops on the estate.

“I think the community farm could work, although I believe some of the land there belongs to the school.”

Wider development on the estate has included the demolition of the former Grange building on Dinmore Avenue, which was previously the former home of Grange Park School before that was replaced by the £2.3m Boundary Primary School in September 2003.

Christ the King Church, the social club and presbytery have also been knocked down, with the church relocated as part of redevelopment at nearby St Mary’s College.

The demolition of Chepstow Road shops and the Cherwell Centre would create a 10-acre development site.

Although there are no firm plans in place, in the past it has been suggested the land could be earmarked for new homes in the future.