Bid to build apartments opposite Blackpool Winter Gardens is refused

A bid to build a five storey apartment block adjacent to the Winter Gardens has been thrown out after the design was branded out of keeping with its historic neighbour.

Thursday, 5th August 2021, 11:12 am
Artist's impression of the proposed flats

The application to redevelop the site in St John’s Square, which was recommended for approval, would have seen existing buildings demolished – including the site of the newly opened Vintro Lounge restaurant.

But the council’s planning committee refused the application, which had been deferred from its previous meeting.

Committee chairman Coun David Owen described the design as “jarring in scale and unsympathetic to the buildings in its vicinity.”

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He added: “It’s one of those buildings that every architect has in their drawer and could be yanked out to suit any particular site anywhere in the country.”

The application by Daniel Berko had been revised to reduce the number of flats from 19 to 18 including 13 two-bedroom flats in order to comply with the council’s housing mix policy.

Commercial units were proposed for the ground floor of the site on the corner of Church Street and Abingdon Street, with shops, a restaurant and a betting shop retained.

Coun Andrew Stansfield said the development was close to prominent buildings including St John’s Church, Abingdon Street Market and the former Post Office as well as the Winter Gardens.

He said: “We are going to have a big sandstone block in the corner which is not going to bring anything to the area.

“I don’t think the design fits – it certainly doesn’t enhance the area.”

Blackpool Civic Trust had also objected, saying the development would “impose too greatly on the St John’s Square conservation area by the height and density of building.”

But in recommending approval, town hall planning officers said the impact of the development on neighbouring buildings including the Winter Gardens “is considered to be positive and conserves and enhances the significance of these heritage assets.”

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