New hope for landmark site

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THE owner of a landmark building in Fleetwood town centre is to press ahead with a scheme for student accommodation.

The Orient Building on Station Road has already been turned down for residential use, but property developer Andrew Hayhurst is ready to put in a fresh application which would bring the boarded-up building back to life and provide much-needed accommodation for Fleetwood Nautical Campus students.

He will be risking a planning application fee of 8,000 but hopes that, with the support of the campus, the planning committee will look afresh at the situation.

He said: "I have a partner now which takes the pressure off me a little and he feels it certainly should be accepted and is confident enough to put his money where his mouth is."

Mr Hayhurst has seen two applications for flats turned down and also lost an appeal to the planning inspectorate. They said the building was unsuitable because of noise from industrial premises on adjacent Siding Road.

Mr Hayhurst said: "The greatest noise was from the scrap yard where they have a car-crusher.

"But we measured the noise from the building and it was less than that of bus traffic going past.

"The nautical campus has to be one of Fleetwood's biggest assets and they have been screaming out for this sort of accommodation. They can't accommodate the people they have so I am hoping the council will look favourably on it.

"It would help regenerate the town centre.

"Everybody is going to be in walking distance of the centre which should be a positive thing."

He hoped to submit his new planning application in about a month's time.

Head of the campus, John Matthews said: "We are due to start marine engineering in September 2011 which will bring even more students in Fleetwood.

"Our accommodation on the campus is very full all the time and the situation is we desperately need accommodation.

"I would really

welcome this although they would have to be flexible because not all students want 12-month contracts."

Mr Hayhurst bought the building at auction for 178,000 in 2008 and has tried selling

Christmas trees and organising car boot sales to cut his losses.

Failed ideas for the prestigious site have included a community centre and a tram heritage centre.