Developers say £45m Adrenalin World will 'open up' land for Blackpool residents

Developers behind a  £45m plan to redevelop Blackpool’s Stanley Park Golf Course have pledged to take all concerns on board as they forge ahead with the scheme.

Friday, 14th January 2022, 10:04 am
Updated Friday, 14th January 2022, 12:38 pm

Hundreds of people have so far responded to a consultation exercise to glean reaction to the proposals to build a family activity entertainment centre and holiday lodges on the eastern side of the land on East Park Drive.

The western side would be retained for golf, but converted to a nine-hole course with practice facilities.

Public consultation, which has taken place online and in-person at a two-day event this week at the Village Hotel at Heron’s Reach, ends on Friday January 21.

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Artist's impression of the Adrenalin World scheme

Developers Holmes Investment Properties (HIP) and UKAP (Blackpool Holdings Ltd) then expect to submit a planning application to the council by the end of spring.

But there is widespread opposition with more than 8,000 people signing a petition against the development.

Michael Simmonds, chief executive of HIP, said while many visitors to the consultation were opposed to the scheme, the priority was to convince them it would deliver benefits for residents.

He said: “The consultation is about collating the concerns and feedback people have given.

“The biggest concern we are hearing is about losing open space, but we maintain we are opening up this space which at the moment is only used by dog walkers and primarily golfers.

“One issue is the poor drainage on the land which makes it unusable in winter, and it was even unusable in August last year.

“Our stakeholders are supportive of the fact it will be opened up and more usable in the future.

“We are making it very clear how this benefits residents and it will be fed back to the design teams, that that needs to be at the forefront.

“We have to make sure we can demonstrate in a big way what the benefits for residents will be.”

Mr Simmonds said these benefits would include access to the nine-hole golf course which would be aimed at introducing children to the sport.

The family activity entertainment centre, previously branded Adrenalin World, would offer more than 20 indoor and outdoor activities including zip-wires, go-karting, themed mini-golf, wall climbing and virtual reality rooms, and be aimed at local families.

Drainage would be improved, and footpaths and cycleways would be laid out across the site to make it more accessible.

The number of holiday lodges proposed has been reduced to up to 150 from 250 originally mooted.

Blackpool Council unveiled HIP in August 2019 as its chosen developer for the land after revealing the 18-hole municipal golf course was no longer viable.

Last September the council and UKAP (Blackpool) Holdings Limited exchanged contracts on a six year lease of the land which, if the plans get the go-ahead, will pave the way for a 175 year lease.

Mr Simmonds said HIP had “invested into the operator” giving them “multiple revenue streams”.

He added it would be the first development of its type and on this scale because previously high land costs had held back such developments.

He said: “We have specifically targeted municipal golf courses being closed or at risk of closing. We can retain a golf offering but make it accessible to everyone.”

Visitors to the consultation raised concerns including loss of green space, the impact on wildlife and increased traffic levels.

Ian Walsh, of Burwood Drive, said: “I don’t think it is in the right place because this is a residential area of Blackpool and they are putting a leisure development there.

“I think the traffic around the park is already bad at all times of the day, including with ambulances trying to get to and from the hospital.

“I know what it’s like when the zoo is busy and traffic comes to a standstill.”

Lawrence James, of South Shore, said: “If these proposals included creating a dual-carriageway along East Park Drive, that would relieve the traffic issues to a great extent.

“But as it is, East Park Drive can’t cope with the amount of traffic at the moment, even in winter.”

Shirley Matthews, of Marton, said she was concerned about the loss of the course created by renowned designer Alister Mackenzie who also designed Augusta which hosts the US Masters.

She said: “I’m here because I’m concerned about the loss of an important piece of Blackpool’s heritage, but I also want to ask what the impact on wildlife will be if we lose this open space.”

Resident John Garnham added: “To me this seems to be driven by the council wanting to offload its responsibility for looking after the land.

“What is to stop the lodges in the future being changed over into more permanent homes?”

Coun Tony Williams, leader of the Conservatives on Blackpool Council, is urging people to take part in the consultation which is still available online.

He said he was disappointed artist’s impressions did not show the layout of the holiday lodges, and urged anyone with an opinion to “make sure their voices are heard.”

He said: “This land belongs to the people of Blackpool and was gifted as leisure and recreational space not as a cash cow for the council and the politicians in control.”

To take part in the consultation go to https://www.ukapblackpoolconsultation.co.uk/contact* ​Thanks for reading. If you value what we do and are able to support us, a digital subscription is just £1 for your first month. Try us today by clicking here