Go-kart track to stay

David Turton of Karting 2000, South Promenade, Blackpool.
David Turton of Karting 2000, South Promenade, Blackpool.
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The owners of a popular seafront attraction look set to secure at least another two years on the site.

Karting 2000 is negotiating with Blackpool Council for a longer lease on the headland it currently occupies between The Sandcastle and South Pier.

But in the meantime, the council’s planning committee is being recommended to grant an additional two year temporary planning permission for the venture.

Town hall chiefs want the go-kart track to invest in its frontage before a more permanent arrangement is made.

Karting 2000 owner David Turton said: “Our discussions with the council are still ongoing and until we have a definite long lease in the bag we are going for temporary planning permission.

“We are hopeful of getting a longer lease eventually so we can invest a bit more.

“We will then redevelop the front in a different way.

“The track is busy and this area is for family orientated 
attractions, so we fit in well with that.”

Karting 2000 relocated to the headland in 2010 after its previous site at Starr Gate was forced to close to make way for the new tram depot.

It applied last year to 
extend the permission, but due to the length of negotiations, the scheme is only now going before planners.

Councillors on Blackpool Council’s planning committee, which meets on Monday, are being recommended to extend the permission by another two years until July 2015.

A report to the committee says the existing structures “are not of the standard that would be acceptable on the Promenade on a permanent basis.”

It adds: “It is fully acknowledged that the current appearance of the site is unacceptable for retention on a permanent basis in this prominent position on Blackpool’s seafront.

“However, as the applicants are in discussions with the council with a view to ultimately delivering an appropriate scheme on the site, an extension of the current permission is considered to be acceptable to enable the go-kart operation to continue to trade in the interim period.”

OWNERS of a Promenade attraction are hoping planners do not bring the flag down on their seafront operation.

Karting 2000 was only granted planning permission for two years for its site on South Promenade after it was forced to move from Starr Gate to make way for the resort’s new tram depot.

Now the go kart track, which has gone from strength to strength since relocating, is seeking to extend its permission to use the headland between The Sandcastle and South Pier.

Owner David Turton said: “We are open all season and we do winter weekends.

“We are still doing a lot stag and hen grand prix and our children’s parties are also very busy. We are definitely busier here than we were at Starr Gate. This part of South Shore is very family-orientated and we feel we fit in very well. The council has had no complaints about us regarding noise, and we get on well with our neighbours.

“We look after the site and regularly repaint barriers and the bridge to keep it looking fresh and we would like to stay here as long as we can.”

The attraction, which offers a mini Formula 1 experience, had operated at Starr Gate for 23 years before it closed in September 2009 when work began on building the new depot.

It now employs seven full-time staff during the main season from March to November, and two people during the winter.

An application has been submitted to the council seeking permission for the removal of conditions which limit the planning approval to two years.

At the time of the original planning application the council agreed to grant the two-year approval because it did not want to compromise longer-term ambitions for the Promenade.

But it was felt the use “would reinforce the concentration of major tourist attractions in this area.”