Department store Frasers in planning row with council over 'exceptionally poor' signs at Houndshill Centre

The national retailer is challenging the council's decision
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Retailer Frasers is entangled in a planning row with Blackpool Council just months after taking over the former Debenhams store in the council-owned Houndshill Centre.

The dispute is over advertisements on external windows at the back of the store on the corner of Albert Road and Coronation Street which is overlooked by the Grade II*  listed Winter Gardens.

 Rear of the Frasers store (credit Jigsaw Planning) Rear of the Frasers store (credit Jigsaw Planning)
Rear of the Frasers store (credit Jigsaw Planning)
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Town hall planners allowed some adverts to be installed, but refused permission for three vinyl displays on glazing within the rear turret of the building despite it no longer being used as an entrance to the shopping centre.

Frasers, which opened the store including  Frasers, Flannels, Sports Direct, USC, Evans Cycles and Game last November, has now appealed the decision.

In refusing the application, council planners said the vinyls were "excessive and exceptionally poor quality and would result in that corner appearing cluttered and as a ‘back of house’ redundant entrance which is not acceptable on such a prominent corner, which was purposefully designed as an imposing entrance feature."

A decision notice adds: "The glazing of the corner entrance turret should remain transparent in order to limit harm to the streetscene posed by the other full height window vinyls, which are necessary to conceal the rear of new internal walls."

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But Jigsaw Planning, which has submitted the appeal on behalf of Frasers, says "the part of the store relative to the refused signs is very much the back of the store, where there is no public access and no product. "

In a document submitted as part of the appeal, it adds: "The corner former lobby is a dead space and therefore any view in through these former doors would only be of a stairwell.

"The refused signs do not dominate the elevation of the building and are an expected element of a modern retail environment. The signs themselves do not have an unduly harmful impact on the visual amenity, character and setting of the building in the street scene."

The site was built as an extension to the Houndshill Centre in 2008 and was occupied by Debenhams until it closed in May 2021, before Frasers moved in last November.

The appeal will now be considered by an independent planning inspector.

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