Doubts cast over Stanley Park Golf Club sale
The proposed sale of 39 acres of the golf course off East Park Drive in Blackpool to deliver 250 holiday lodges and an adventure centre was approved last week but a councillor has requested that the decision be reviewed.
Blackpool Council’s executive last week voted to dispose of the land to United Kingdom Adventure Parks, a subsidiary of real estate investor Holmes Investment Properties, which wants to bring forward the £45m project.
UKAP’s plans would see the construction of an Adrenalin World centre, a brand headed up by tennis player-turned-leisure mogul, David Lloyd.
The plan would result in the golf course, which opened in 1926, shrinking to nine holes from 18.
Around 8,000 residents who opposed the scheme signed a petition calling on the council to pull the plug on the plans.
That petition was disregarded by Blackpool Council in a meeting last year but, following last week’s approval, Cllr Tony Williams has asked that the matter be referred to full council for consideration.
He said there had been “inadequate consultation” over the plans and that the council’s executive committee had failed to take into account residents’ concerns when it made its decision to approve the land sale.
At the committee meeting last week, another Blackpool councillor, Cllr Neal Brooks, said he supported the plan to sell the land but that the move could see the council “cast as villains”.
Brooks claimed that the council had been “propping up” the golf course for years and allowing the land to be redeveloped provided the opportunity to create a “viable venture”.
The council dismissed such objections on the grounds that they would not be relevant until a planning application for the scheme had been submitted.
However, Cllr Williams criticised this approach, saying that some of the objections raised should have been taken into account at an earlier stage, before deciding whether or not to sell the land.
“Whether there is a need for the proposed development, or whether this is the place for it, seem to be clearly relevant to [the question of ] whether what is proposed is necessary for the proper planning of the area, as well as for any planning application [that may be submitted],” Williams said.
In particular, the loss of open space “has the potential to [disproportionately] affect particular groups with protected characteristics”, including the elderly and those with disabilities, he added.
The council’s tourism, economy and scrutiny committee will meet to discuss the request to call in and review the decision on Thursday.
If the committee sees no grounds to reverse the decision, it can choose to take no further action and the decision to dispose of the land will stand.