Demolition 'only option' for former Blackpool Woolworths

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A last ditch attempt to win permission to demolish a former Woolworths building in Blackpool and replace it with a car park has been thrown out.

A planning inspector has rejected an appeal by businessman Howard Plant who wants to redevelop the site on the corner of Bond Street and Waterloo Road in South Shore, more recently occupied by Hartes.

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Owner wants to demolish former Blackpool Woolworths building and turn the site i...

However while the car park has been blocked, the former retail store, which is locally listed, is still likely to be bulldozed.

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The former Hartes storeThe former Hartes store
The former Hartes store

Mr Plant had appealed after the council refused his application for a 40-space car park on the land.

In a report setting out her decision, planning inspector Alison Partington said the poor state of the building meant demolition was “the only viable option.”

She agreed a car park “would no doubt be beneficial for both customers and visitors, particularly in peak season” but ruled “the large gap that would be created in the urban form, would have an adverse visual impact on the area.”

The inspector said a car park was not “the only viable use of the site” which could “potentially be developed in other ways that would be more consistent with the character of the area.”

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Mr Plant, who has operated a number of car parks in Blackpool, said he was disappointed with the decision because it would cost him around £40,000 to demolish the building without a development plan in place.

He said: “If you speak to anyone running a business in that area, they all wanted it as a car park.

“I am 100 per cent sure if I opened a car park on that corner it would be full six months of the year. I know that from the desperation of the shops there.

“And just because it’s a car park, it doesn’t mean it is detrimental to the look of an area. I had also planned to put all the infrastructure in place for electric charging points.

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“So I am distraught about this decision, and the council now wants me to make other suggestions as to what they want me to put there.”

The building opened in 1928 as Blackpool’s second Woolworth’s before closing in 1994 with Harte’s then occupying it for 25 years until it closed down in January 2019.

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