Melrose wins appeal against Blackpool Co-op refusal

Permission has been granted for a previously refused scheme in Anchorsholme following a successful appeal by the developer, which argued that the council acted “unreasonably”.

The developer is to be awarded costs after the planning inspector, Beverley Wilders, ruled that the council’s behaviour had caused Melrose “unnecessary expense”.

Wilders said in her ruling: “I have allowed the appeal and granted planning permission for the proposal, as I do not consider that the council’s reasons for refusal are justified. I consider that the council has behaved unreasonably in referring to [certain] policies as its reason for refusal.”

Melrose Homes proposes the construction of a 4,500 sq ft, single-storey Co-op supermarket at the junction of North Drive and Luton Road. A former Methodist Church currently occupies the site.

An earlier planning application, which was withdrawn after officers recommended it for refusal in November 2018, had included a residential component but this was removed ahead of the resubmission of the plans in March 2019.

However, the amended application was then refused against officers’ recommendations in July 2019. Blackpool Council’s decision notice at the time said: “It is considered that the proposed development would have an adverse impact on the community in this area through the potential loss of local community facilities.”

Melrose launched an appeal last September.

The inspector found that Blackpool Council misapplied policies CS7 and CS12 of Blackpool Local Plan, which refer to the character of a development and the types of development and investment that the council supports. Planning permission has now been granted.

Leon Armstrong, director at Mosaic Town Planning, which is planning consultant for the scheme, said: “We are delighted that the inspector has allowed this appeal and awarded costs to the developer due to Blackpool Council’s unreasonable behaviour.

“Whilst the site is outside of nearby local centres, the inspector agreed that the proposal would not have a significant adverse effect. Specialist advice sought by the council confirmed this.

“This advice was initially not disclosed to the applicant, who was forced to submit a Freedom of Information request to obtain these critical findings. Members then failed to give due consideration to this independent advice or officers’ views at committee.”

A spokesperson from Blackpool Council said: “We are disappointed to have lost the appeal but until we have digested the report we are not going to comment further.”

The architect for the scheme is MCK Associates.

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