Retailer says 100 potential Fylde jobs are at risk

Go Outdoors Blackpool
Go Outdoors Blackpool
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Blackpool could miss out on up to 100 jobs if plans for a new outdoors shop are turned down this week, it has been claimed.

Fylde Council planning officers have recommended a bid to build a Go Outdoors store at Whitehills Business Park be turned down.

They say it does not match the council’s development plan for the area which would prefer office or industrial employment rather than retail developments.

But the company behind the £6m bid on the site ,left un-used since the mid-1990s, says there are already retail units nearby and that it would create 100 much-needed jobs.

Doug Hann, from Indigo Planning which prepared the application, said: “This site and the wider Whitehills Business Park requires major investment – the site has been empty for over 15 years now and is in desperate need of regeneration.

“We have marketed the site for over four years but can find no employment interests. The Council has identified no interest either.

“The retail proposal offers a real opportunity to secure development, creating 112 jobs and delivering construction jobs and investment. With other nearby vacant plots consented for employment use, there remain plenty of opportunities for traditional employment uses elsewhere.

“We are extremely disappointed that planners have put this at risk because of a policy which has failed to see the site developed in over two decades.

“We would urge members to consider the real benefits of this investment when making a final decision. .”

Kevin Smith is managing director of Bathroom Solutions which is based next to the proposed development site on Whitehills Business Park.

He said: “We’re fully supportive of the plans to redevelop this land – these new stores would bring more people into Whitehills and that would benefit all the local businesses here.”

The scheme also includes highway improvements to roundabouts and the A583/Whitehills Road junction.

A Fylde Council spokesman said: “A decision has not been made yet and councillors are still to get together to consider the different factors.

“There are many factors to be considered in this application – one of them is the need to keep land for traditional employment use as we are short of suitable land.

“Councillors will look at the application in its entirety when they meet later this week.”