Blackpool's Vintro Lounge 'here to stay' say bosses despite row over demolition plans

A town centre restaurant which opened less than a month ago has already found itself at the centre of a remarkable row over its future.

Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 4:55 am

Bosses at Vintro Lounge on the corner of Abingdon Street and Church Street were forced to comment publicly ahead of a meeting tonight, where resort councillors will decide if it can be demolished.

A planning bid by Daniel Berko, who wants to flatten the building and replace it with a block of flats, is up for debate at 6pm – with planning officials at the town hall urging the green light to be given.

But a spokesman for Vintro, which took over the former Pizza Express restaurant, insisted yesterday that, even if Berko’s bid is approved, work cannot go ahead.

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Vintro Lounge opened last month using the former Pizza Express restaurant

“We have taken a 15-year lease on the building so it certainly cannot be demolished with us in occupation,” he said. “Our landlord submitted their application prior to us entering negotiations.”

He said news of the bid “caused some upset” amongst workers at the eatery, who appeared to be unaware when contacted by The Gazette last week, which was “tempered” by bosses following talks with the landlord.

The spokesman added: “Even if the plans are approved by the planners, they could not be implemented.”

Berko’s original designs – for a seven-storey building – were knocked back for being inappropriate.

But a revised application, for a three to five storey block with 19 flats and shops, a restaurant, and betting shop on the ground floor, could be approved tonight.

The decision will be controversial, however, with the town’s Civic Trust vehemently against the build.

“We submitted comments regarding a previous application for this location and our objections are all still relevant as the proposed site sits within the conservation area and if developed will impose too greatly on the St Johns Square conservation area by the height and density of building,” it said.

“Planning permission should be once again refused as it is totally out with the permitted developments in this location.”

A report put before planners said the redevelopment should be granted permission – as long as £7,720 is paid towards a new GP practice in Adelaide Street.

Papers said: “The scheme would deliver good quality homes in an attraction building in an accessible location.”