Plans for a block of 18 apartments on a prominent site close to the Winter Gardens have been tipped for approval next week after the developer tweaked the proposals at the request of officers.
Daniel Berko’s development company Blackpool (Church Street) proposes demolishing the former Pizza Express unit on the corner of Church Street and Abingdon Street, and replacing it with a five-storey block.
However, having initially backed the project, Blackpool Council deferred the plans at the start of July after planning officers requested more information regarding the viability of the project in relation to the proposed housing mix.
A total of 19 flats were proposed originally, eight with one bedroom and 11 with two bedrooms.
This mix fails to comply with a council policy that states at least 70% of new homes should have two or more bedrooms. Under the original proposals, only 58% had two bedrooms.
Revised plans submitted by the developer now propose 18 apartments, including 13 with two bedrooms. This tweak brings the scheme in line with the aforementioned policy.
The change came despite the developer previously claiming that any change to the housing mix would render the scheme unviable.
The housing mix is not the only controversial element of the project, which, if approved, would result in the demolition of a recently opened restaurant.
The Vintro Lounge restaurant opened in June having signed a 15-year lease on the former Pizza Express unit.
A spokesperson for the restaurant told the Blackpool Gazette the building “certainly could not be demolished with us in occupation”.
“Even if plans are approved, they could not be implemented,” the spokesperson added.
Of the development, council planning officers said: “The proposal is judged to constitute sustainable development and no material planning considerations have been identified that would outweigh this view.”
Nissen Richards is the architect and Newsteer Real Estate Advisors is the planning consultant.