In Blackpool, artist's impressions are one thing. What we finally get, can sometimes be quite different writes Andy Mitchell from Radio Wave
News that there are plans to build a block of flats in St John’s Square have certainly fired up the emotions over the last week.
In case you’re late to this particular party, plans have been lodged with the council for a six-storey block of apartments which would replace the building currently occupied by a pizza restaurant on the opposite corner to the Winter Gardens main entrance.
This is where the controversy mainly begins.
The proposed building is yards from the Grade II Listed landmark, and there are fears that, at six storeys, it might overshadow the Winter Gardens and Opera House. That’s a fair enough consideration, and those close to the story (or storeys!), the Civic and the Winter Gardens Trusts are making their case to the council.
A move to get people living in the town centre, is, in itself, a plausible move. It means the place is alive and useful 24 hours a day, and doesn’t become an isolated shuttered ghost town in the quiet hours.
Whilst residents are on the move and around, there’s less of a chance of crime in the night.
Town centre apartments tend to attract younger, city type workers who don’t drive, and are within striking distance of everything they need..work, amenities and shops.
I’m guessing the idea would be to get more of these professionals working into the town centre, getting them spending money in the shops, and making the place look like it means business.
Manchester city centre is a fine example of how new apartments have become home to a new generation of city dweller.
We’ve already heard over the last week of the former job centre on Queen Street about to be converted to house the council’s Children’s Services. That’s 300 workers. Maybe some of them would actually like to live at the other end of the street?
Whether this involves housing them in a building of the type submitted to Planning, remains to be seen, though I suspect the points of view of those who’ve expressed one (officially and not via social media of course) will be taken into consideration.
As we know only too well in Blackpool, artist’s impressions are one thing. What we finally get, can sometimes be quite different.