ERNIE to live on at former DWP site in Lytham

Simon Donohue

References to ERNIE, the legendary machine which once picked the premium bond numbers, will be incorporated into the regeneration of the former Department for Work & Pensions site in Lytham St Annes.

The DWP's electronic random number indicator equipment was housed on the site of the Heyhouses Lane development before being relocated to the NS & I office in Blackpool.

Designed by landscape architects Planit IE for Garstang-based Worthington Properties, part of the Marcus Worthington Group, the green spaces surrounding its Heyhouses Lane development will incorporate references to the random number generator.

Development on the 18.2 acre site will include 162 new homes, a new Booths supermarket, a Joseph Holt pub and large areas of landscaped public spaces, including play provision and a village green.

It is in these places that references to ERNIE will be seen, as play equipment will be designed around the theme of the first ever premium bond jackpot numbers drawn, and 11 dunes will be scattered throughout the village green in a nod to the numbers generated by the super computer.

Russell Worthington, development director at the Marcus Worthington Group, said: "This site is being completely revamped from a neglected brownfield plot of land into a vibrant new community.

"We really wanted to maintain a link with the history of the site, and by bringing in references to ERNIE, we feel that this will serve as a reminder to the past in a functional and attractive way.

"The landscaping will bring together the whole development as the green spaces are designed to encourage active and passive use, while also linking all parts of the scheme through a series of walkways that culminate in the village green, which will also be the hub of the community with the Booths and the Joseph Holts pub located nearby."

Hollinwood Homes, Worthington Properties' residential development arm, will build 30 new houses with the remainder being built by Cheshire-based Morris Homes, one of the country's largest privately owned house builders.

Architects for the scheme are Broadway Malyan and Leach Rhodes Walker, with Turley Associates providing planning guidance and advice.

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