Five multi-million pound schemes to boost resort

An artist's impression of how the new Sands Venue and hotel might look
An artist's impression of how the new Sands Venue and hotel might look
  • Councillors advised to pass plans for five major schemes
  • National Savings tower to be bulldozed for housing
  • Underground stormwater tank to improve bathing waters
  • New hotel plan for Promenade
  • Police HQ plan to modernise force
  • Dilapidated hotels to be razed to the ground
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A raft of development – which would bring millions of pounds of investment to Blackpool if it all goes ahead – is set to go before town hall planners.

Five bold schemes ranging from new homes to public services are on the cards for approval.

The National Savings building in Marton which is set to be demolished

The National Savings building in Marton which is set to be demolished

The proposals include a luxury hotel above the Sands venue on central Promenade, a new police headquarters in Marton, and a new pumping station beneath Anchorsholme Park.

Also earmarked for redevelopment is a stretch of hotels on South Promenade which looks set to be demolished to make way for apartments, while plans for 118 homes and offices at the National Savings site on Mythop Road are also recommended for approval.

The latter would see the demolition of the famous National Savings tower.

All the schemes have been recommended by council planners to be either given the green light straight away, or to be agreed in principle pending legal agreement and are due to be considered by Blackpool Council’s planning committee when it meets at the town hall on Tuesday.

An artist's impression of Blackpool's new police headquarters

An artist's impression of Blackpool's new police headquarters

If they do go ahead, they will see millions of pounds invested in the resort over the next few years.

Business leaders have welcomed the potential economic boost.

Hugh Evans, deputy chief executive of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said: “If these schemes are approved everybody involved should use them as a catalyst to boost local employment and training.

“All stakeholders should use this as a means to develop the local workforce by creating job opportunities and training right across the supply chain.

“Providing the means for local people and local firms to benefit from this fantastic opportunity would be a great boost to Blackpool’s economy.”

Rowland Homes is seeking to build 118 new homes on part of the National Savings site on Mythop Road in Marton.

If it gets the go ahead, the scheme will see the famous eight-storey tower building bulldozed.

The offices are well known for being home to ERNIE - the Electronic Random Number Indicating Equipment that selects Premium Bond winners.

The new housing estate which would be accessed from Preston New Road and part of the land would also be earmarked for employment use.

Although an iconic building, the tower is not listed, and it doesn’t serve any purpose any more.

However NS&I staff will continue working in the Moorland building on the site.

A number of residents have objected to the scheme, raising concerns about increased traffic congestion and the impact on wildlife.

But planners say in their report: “The benefits of the proposal in assisting with the council’s housing land supply, in providing family housing in an attractive setting, in bringing forward land for employment uses with a better access mean that the proposal is supported.”

Developers look set to finally win a seven-year battle to win planning permission to develop a stretch of South Promenade as housing.

Previous bids to replace the Kimberley, Waldorf and Henderson Hotels on Wimbourne Place with homes were refused because the site is within the holiday area.

But the council has eased its stance and planners are recommending the latest application goes ahead.

The £7m scheme would see 99 apartments built.

Architect Michael Joyce, who has designed the complex described it as “a modern, prestigious complex of upmarket flats.”

It would see the hotels demolished and replaced with a five-to-seven storey high building.

But some residents have submitted objections because they warn the proposed building will overshadow their homes.

Planners say residential use of this part of the Prom is now considered acceptable because there is other investment proposed into holiday accommodation nearby.

The new Western Division Police HQ building, on the site of the former Progress House council offices on Clifton Road, will provide a new base for local neighbourhood teams, immediate response officers and 42 custody cells.

The move was announced last year to replace the ageing Bonny Street police station, with £21m set aside in 2012 to fund the relocation.

Lancashire’s police and crime commissioner Clive Grunshaw said it will save the force £180,000 a year in running costs.

Lancashire Police is buying the Progress House site from Blackpool Council for £2.2m, while the council will buy the Bonny Street headquarters for £3.2m in what is seen as a major step forward for the long-awaited development of the Central Station site.

The Blackpool Town Centre neighbourhood team and a public inquiry desk will relocate to the council’s Municipal Buildings, on Corporation Street, with the new HQ set to open in 2018.

Businessman Peter Swann unveiled proposals for a multi-million pound transformation of the Sands venue last August.

He wants to build a five-star hotel boasting 96 bedrooms above the entertainment complex on Central Promenade

At the time he lodged the application, he dubbed the proposal “a real vote of confidence in the future of the town as a tourism destination.”

He added: “Our aim is to create a very special luxury hotel that will be a real boost to the town’s visitor economy and points the way ahead for the resort in terms of the standards it has to reach.”

New retail units and public space are also incorporated into the design which includes a single storey side extension and a three-storey extension to the roof.

There would also be a basement car park for 55 cars and the footbridge over Bank Hey Street would be demolished.

Planners say in their report: “The outline proposal would have economic benefits to the town in providing a new, large, good quality hotel in the heart of the town centre.”

But concerns have been raised about the size of the development in proximity to the Tower.

However this is an outline application, and more detailed design elements such as the massing of the building would be dealt with as part of a future application.

Detailed plans for a scheme which will transform a Blackpool park and help clean up the resort’s bathing water were lodged with the council in December.

The United Utilities development will see a new underground stormwater tank at Anchorsholme Park as well as new public amenities including a cafe and bowling club building, landscaping, footpaths, a multi-use games area and children’s playground.

A new access from Princes Way will also be built, along with new walls and fencing and works to beach to allow for connection of marine outfall pipe.

United Utilities is funding the scheme as part of a multi-million pound investment to minimise discharges into the sea.

It is due to be completed by 2020.