Traffic congestion fears over Blackpool town centre office plan
Outline plans to build a seven-storey office block in Blackpool town centre look set to secure town hall approval – despite fears of traffic congestion and loss of parking.
The council-backed scheme to kickstart the third phase of the Talbot Gateway would see buildings on King Street demolished to make way for development.
A full application to demolish part of The Hop Inn and convert the pub to a dental surgery, which is part of the same submission, is also recommended for approval.
The office scheme, set to cost £50m according to tendering documents, would create 24,000 square metres of space in the heart of the town centre – enough to accommodate up to 1,735 workers.
It is believed it would be used by the Civil Service although that has not been formally confirmed.
A report by planning officers warns the development would “place additional pressure on the local network exacerbating existing queuing and delays.”
It would also mean the loss of 128 car parking spaces prompting concerns “that shoppers are not dissuaded from visiting the town centre.”
But measures including improving the operation of existing traffic light junctions would help traffic flow, while a new multi-storey car park could be built in the area.
Documents add: “Whilst it is inevitable that a development of this scale
would increase traffic levels, the conditions recommended would aim to manage this as effectively as possible.”
Concerns are also raised about the height of the office block overshadowing other buildings and impacting views of the Tower.
But these are said not to be strong enough to outweigh the regeneration benefits.
The planning report says: “Developing this area of the town centre as an attractive, well connected and vibrant hub for business has the potential to serve as a catalyst, encouraging other organisations and operators into the town centre.”
Knock on benefits would include “patronage of shops, cafes and leisure facilities, and use of public car parks.
“The development could also bring people into Blackpool who may not ordinarily visit, and this could lead to further positive impacts on tourism and the visitor economy.”
The application is due to go before the council’s planning committee on Tuesday March 16.
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