Co-op set for refusal in Blackpool

A mixed-use development potentially featuring a Co-operative store and apartments on the site of the Anchorsholme Methodist Church has been recommended for refusal by Blackpool’s planning committee after a series of objections from local councillors.

Melrose Developments has put forward the plans for the 20,000 sq ft site, currently home to the church which is permanently closed and earmarked for demolition.

The developer is proposing to build a 5,400 sq ft convenience store, with the Co-op lined up as operator along with three two-bed flats on the upper floors, as well as 26 car parking spaces; while the Co-op has been touted as a potential occupier for the retail unit, a deal was yet to be formally agreed. The area is near local centres on Eastpines Drive and Anchorsholme Lane is primarily residential.

The proposals have come under fire ahead of Blackpool’s planning committee, with Cllrs Tony Williams and Paul Galley both objecting to the scheme.

Williams argued the site was “completely unsuitable for any type of retail operation” and said that “creating entrances and exits from this new proposed development would put enormous pressure on the high level of existing traffic” using the nearby road network. He also raised safety concerns about the adjacent roundabout which he claimed had “a history of deaths”.

Similarly, Galley said that building a retail store on the site would “undermine existing local centres at East Pines Drive, Norbreck and Anchorsholme Lane, all of which are protected in our Local Plan”.

He also echoed Williams’ claims over the safety of the roundabout, arguing: “The number of accidents at the junction is very high with at one stage an accident a week being reported locally. It was so bad this year that a meeting was arranged at the mini-roundabout with the director of highways to discuss safety options”.

Responding to the claims, the developer’s consultants said the site falls outside any designated local centre, and that there were no vacancies in any local centre to build an additional retail store. A number of amendments have also been made to the highways proposals for the scheme, with an exit put in on the Luton Road frontage of the site.

While planners said the highways amendments meant the scheme could not be refused on these grounds, planning officers have nevertheless recommended the project for refusal when Blackpool’s planning committee meets tomorrow.

The refusal hinges on the planners’ claims the retail development’s negative impact on other nearby local centres. Planners added: “Any benefits [of the development] are also outweighed by the visual impact of the proposed store on the streetscene and the character of the area.”

  • Since first publishing this article, the planning application for this project has been withdrawn and will no longer be going to Blackpool’s planning committee for consideration on 13 November

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