Preserving town’s historic street scene

The Raikes Hall pub
The Raikes Hall pub
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Planning controls have been tightened in order to preserve the character of one of Blackpool’s most historic neighbourhoods.

The change means residents living in the Raikes Hall Conservation Area must get permission for minor changes to their property such as removing boundary walls and chimneys.

In unrestricted areas some alterations are classed as ‘permitted development rights’ and can go ahead without a planning application having to be made.

It is hoped the new policy, which has already been introduced in the Stanley Park Conservation Area, will help prevent inappropriate development.

A report to councillors says: “Despite conservation area designation, there is still a range of minor works which remain permitted development, for example removal of boundary walls and chimneys.

“Where these rights have been exercised in the past, there has been an incremental negative impact on the character and integrity of the area.”

The council’s executive has agreed to introduce an article four direction order restricting the scope of development rights.

However it will not come into effect until at least a year.

Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn said: “The area around Raikes Hall is of particular interest to the history of the town.

“There are a variety of different houses which has led to a certain character to the area.

“There are a number of ways in which local authorities can seek to manage areas of particular interest in conservation terms.

“This is a recognition that that part of town is special and enhances elected members’ ability to have a say on development there.”

The introduction of the order does not prevent change but enables it to be managed within the planning system.

The Raikes Hall Conservation Area is bounded by Leamington Road, Bryan Road, Raikes 
Parade, Beech Avenue, Forest Gate and the east end of Reads Avenue.

It is considered distinctive due to its inter-war housing, but also boasts two of the oldest buildings of Blackpool’s central area – the late 18th century Raikes Hall which is now the Raikes Pub, and the Number Three pub.

Up until 1901, extensive gardens covered the area including fountains and terraces.

The council report adds: “It is one of the best surviving areas of suburban housing in Blackpool and compares well with comparable areas of similar date elsewhere in the country.”

Raikes Hall Gardens were built in 1760 and extended in the nineteenth century to include a lake, skating rink, aviary, theatre and switchback ride.

By the turn of the century, Raikes Hall had lost its popularity in favour of the Golden Mile and the gardens with the land were sold in 1901 and developed for the housing that is there now.