Flats plan for ‘pub’ street

Forsyth House in Queen Street
Forsyth House in Queen Street
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An office complex in the heart of Blackpool’s pub-land could be made into homes.

Plans have been submitted to the council seeking to convert four floors of Forsyth House, above the Litten Tree, in Queen Street, into 31 one-bedroomed flats.

But concerns have been raised about introducing 
residential accommodation into a street where bars have late licences, some until 4am.

Chairman of Blackpool Pubwatch Craig Southall said: “To put 31 flats right in the heart of Blackpool’s night life area is potentially going to cause problems to arise.

“It’s not a residential area and mixing the two does not seem sensible at all.”

The area’s ward councillor Ivan Taylor, said: “Obviously this kind of development in that part of Queen Street does raise issues.

“The area is mainly for 
entertainment and has many pubs and clubs.

“My initial reaction is I am not happy to see this kind of residential use in that area but I need to have a look at the 
application more closely.”

The proposals have been submitted under new planning rules introduced by the Government 12 months ago which mean the council can only refuse the application on transport grounds, contamination risk or flooding risk.

Ministers decided to temporarily ease the regulations surrounding office conversions in order to encourage residential development, with the new rules in place until May 2016.

But Blackpool Council’s own development policies are aimed at controlling the spread of one-bedroom flats because there is deemed to be an over-supply of that kind of housing already.

Forsyth House was recently taken over by Regus, which is one of the UK’s biggest 
providers of office space.

A statement accompanying the planning application says: “The applicant wishes to potentially convert all four floors which are currently offices to 31 self contained flats for the private market.

“It is not envisaged that there will be major transport and highways impact to the 
area as there will be potentially less people on site following the conversion.

“As the proposal is internal conversion of an existing building, matters of contamination are not applicable.”

Current occupants of Forsyth House include recruitment agencies Remploy and PHX Training, as well as the offices of Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard who did not want to comment.