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Agenda item


To consider an application for the erection of a three storey link extension, fourth floor roof extension and balconies to the former sorting office, single storey and three storey rear extensions to the former post office and internal and external alterations to both buildings, following demolition of the existing fourth floor roof extension to the former sorting office and demolition of various internal walls and structures to the courtyard and roof and use as altered as a hotel with up to 148 bedrooms with ancillary facilities, associated car parking and access from Edward Street and servicing access from Queen Vera Road.


The Planning Committee considered application 21/0587 and 21/0591 (listed building consent) for land at 26-30 Abingdon Street, Blackpool. The items were taken together and the Committee voted on each decision separately.


Ms Clare Johnson, Principal Planning Officer, outlined the report and provided the Committee with an overview of the site and application details. The site contained a number of listed buildings which included 8 telephone boxes in front of the post office, St Johns Church and the Winter Gardens. In addition Abingdon Street Market and the Cedar Tavern on Edward Street were both locally listed. The post office and the sorting office buildings were within the Town Centre Conservation area. The former post office building was Grade II listed. The post office closed in 2007 and the buildings were now empty, boarded up and were a target for vandalism.


The Committee was provided with an outline of planning history on the site with the most recent approval being in 2019 and the principle of hotel development was established. The application would be a regeneration project that would bring the building back into use and would support other businesses and attractions in the area. 


Ms Johnson provided the Committee with an overview of the extension works and alterations proposed and clarified that the replacement flat roof extension would approximately 1.5 metres higher than the existing roof extension, but set back behind the front parapet by approximately 1.3m.


In respect of consultees, the application was fully supported by Historic England, the Council’s Built Heritage Advisor and the Civic Trust.


Car parking spaces would primarily serve guests with mobility problems and the site was highly accessible via public transport. Electric vehicle charging points would be provided, along with a cycle store. The application site was within the town centre and given the constraints of the site, the car parking provision is considered to be acceptable. 


In respect of ecology, the Council was still waiting for comments from consultant ecologists on a bat survey. If further surveys were required then these could not be carried out until May 2022.


A representation had been received which was neutral in tone, but had raised concerns regarding site access and damage to Edward Street, parking concerns and the impact upon smaller hoteliers and businesses.  Ms Johnson informed the Committee that issues regarding Edward Street could be covered by the Construction Management Plan and that nearby businesses would benefit from use of the property as a hotel once it was in operation.


The Committee was asked to support the applications and in respect of application 21/0587, to delegate the decision to the Head of Development Management for approval, subject to further ecological surveys confirming the absence of protected species and subject to the conditions as set out in the officer report and amended condition as set out in the update report.  In respect of application 21/0591, the Committee was asked to approve the listed building consent subject to the conditions set out in the report and amended condition in the update report.


Mr Ian White spoke as an objector to the application, however he noted that he broadly welcomed the scheme and was pleased that a heritage asset would be brought back into use. He raised concerns regarding parking provision and the potential damage that heavy machinery could cause to Edward Street and the impact upon businesses. Mr White asked the developers to work with local hoteliers and businesses to minimise the impact on local businesses.


The Committee discussed the application and noted that the site would bring a neglected heritage asset back into use. The development would provide employment and attract investment into the area. 



(21/0587) That the Committee supports the application and delegated the decision to the Head of Development Management for approval, subject to further ecological surveys confirming the absence of protected species and subject to the conditions set out in the officer report and the update report.

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