St Annes sand dunes development: residents' dismay as bid for late-night music and alcohol licence is submitted

Work is underway at the St Annes North Beach Windsports Centre as the building is transformed into a bustling cafe and hub for existing wind sports clubs.

By Wes Holmes
Wednesday, 3rd August 2022, 12:30 pm

But people living on North Promenade have raised concerns as a new application for the development to play live music and serve alcohol beyond normal pub hours – from 9am until midnight – has recently been submitted to Fylde Council.

They fear the changes to the £300,000 development, which was announced by the council in January, will cause irreparable damage to the tranquility of the sand dunes, which are home to various breeding birds including stonechat, skylark, linnet and reed bunting.

Sonia Yorke, 60, who lives near the sand dunes, said: “Fylde Council has spent a lot of money on these dunes, protecting and preserving them, and we’re all very concerned.

North Beach Wind Sports Centre next to North Beach car park

"I go out every day on the sand dunes, morning and evening, and so I’ve got the know the dunes extremely well, along with my neighbours. The rhythm of the sea, the tides, the storms, the wildlife on the dunes we watch day in and out.

"Nobody is concerned that there is going to be a cafe and wind sports centre. We think that is brilliant and everybody is well behind that. What the concern is for all of us is that they now want to apply for a drinks licence until midnight and live music.

“You suddenly think – why? Why go from a nice beach-side cafe to a late-night drinking establishment with loud music?

“It will affect the dunes, as well as the people living here, with the noise and the drinking and possible antisocial behaviour.

North Beach Wind Sports Centre next to North Beach car park

“There are rare sand lizards, there are nesting birds, there’s quite an eco-system on these dunes, and it would be quite sad to see all these people trailing up and down the dunes. A little bit of consideration needs to be given to the environment and the peoeple that live here.

“We talk about saving the planet and being considerate to nature. It seems to me they are putting profit above nature here.”

A Fylde Council spokesman said residents could object to the proposals until August 4, when the application is to be considered by the planning committee.

Peter Savic, 60, of Clifton Drive North, said: “It’s quite a big investment, costing somebody £300k. Why spend that much money there? If you want to run a bar, why do it here?

North Beach Wind Sports Centre next to North Beach car park

“My main concern would be noise from the premises, because they’ve applied for an entertainment licence. Then you’ve got noise from people leaving late at night, noise from vehicles in the car park, taxis coming to pick people up.

“Antisocial behaviour is also a worry. You can imagine drink does not mix with younger people on the beach and in the car park.

“Everybody who I have spoken to so far – there must have been about six or seven – all have the view that this is the wrong place for this sort of development. This is something that should be in the town centre, not on the beach.”

The newly renovated windsports centre will be used as a home for the Kite Surfing Club and Land Yacht Club, with a designated common room, hot showers, toilet facilities and a workshop and garage area for storage and equipment repairs.

An annexe for the Fylde coast rangers and dunes staff will be linked into the rest of the building with a deck area, where public events will be held.

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Despite building work going ahead on the site, near the North Beach car park, the full extent of the development proposals have yet to be approved by Fylde Council.

In a consultation letter to the council date July 28, Natural England, the government's adviser for the natural environment, warned it may object to the build due to its ‘potential significant effects’ on the Ribble Estuary and protected areas, and requested further information in the form of a habitats regulation assessment.

A spokesman said: “Natural England has reviewed the submitted Construction Environmental Management Plan: Biodiversity (CEMP) and note it includes an assessment of potential impacts on internationally designated sites, along with measures proposed to minimise these impacts. We advise that on the basis of the information supplied that the application will impact the designated features of the above designated sites, and therefore Natural England advise that a HRA is required.”

However, a Fylde Council spokesman said it remains ‘unclear at present’ when that assessment will be submitted.

Fylde Council said:

"The facility has existing permission as a wind sports centre with ancillary café. A planning application has been submitted proposing alterations to the building and to how the premises are operated. This application was considered by the planning committee on June 22 2022

“A licensing application has also been submitted. This is a live application that is subject to consultation until August 4 after which officers will consider all feedback and prepare a report to go before the licensing panel.

“The council has received initial feedback from Natural England on the planning application, however, it is unclear at present when further information will be submitted to discharge the requirements. Discussions are taking place with Natural England to ensure the information provided to them is sufficient to allow them to assess any impacts.”

Works have continued on the refurbishment after contractors were required to erect fencing to prevent any encroachment (personnel, materials, waste, plant and machinery) into the dune area.”