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Agenda item


To consider planning application number 22/0670 for the erection of 200 residential dwellings with associated landscaping, public open space and parking, with vehicular access from Bispham Road, Regency Gardens and Kylemore Avenue at the site of the former Bispham High School, Bispham, Blackpool, FY2 0NH.


The Committee considered planning application 22/0670 for the erection of 200 residential dwellings with associated landscaping, public open space and parking, with vehicular access from Bispham Road, Regency Gardens and Kylemore Avenue.


Ms S Parker, Head of Development Management, outlined the report and the Committee was advised that this was the third time this site had been before the Planning Committee, being twice under application reference 19/0421 (outline for 176 dwellings) and that it was now back before the Committee for 200 dwellings in full. The site was approximately 9 hectares and comprised of three main areas being the former school site, the former public open space area and what was formerly referred to as “white land” (meaning that had not been designated for anything specific). The site as a whole was now designated for housing development under the Local Plan Part 2.


Ms Parker outlined the details of the proposal which would comprise of 56 dwellings to the rear of Regency Gardens, accessed through Regency Gardens with 42 dwellings and the end of Lorne Road and Headford Close with 102 dwellings at the eastern end. These latter two sections would both be accessed from Bispham Road. In respect of public space, the majority would be retained to meet the needs of the development and another smaller area of open space would also be provided off Kylemore Road. A third smaller area would include an attenuation pond off Bispham Road and the existing tree lines around the perimeter and key hedgerows to be retained.


A large number of consultation responses had been received in relation to the application and Ms Parker advised the Committee that these had been summarised and addressed within the committee report. She also reminded the Committee that the site was already designated for housing development in the Local Plan and the development of the site could not reasonably be resisted in principle. The scheme was an effective use of land which would make a significant contribution to housing needs with public open space to be retained and upgraded along with upgraded play facilities and £442,000 would be provided towards off-site sporting provision to compensate for the loss of pitches on the development site.


In respect of affordability, the Committee was advised that 40 dwellings would be provided for affordable rent. This was less than the 30% required, however this level of provision had been justified by the viability report to the Local Plan. The proposed housing mix was considered to be acceptable and the layout of the site was acceptable, with the proposed accommodation being of a good standard. Ms Parker acknowledged that not all properties met national housing standards, however Policy DM1 required only 20% of houses to meet that standard. Boundary treatments, appropriate materials and surfacing could be agreed through condition and the Bispham Road frontage would be landscaped as part of the Section 278 highways agreement. The lack of street tree planting was acknowledged, however an adequate amount of green space stretched across the site to allow the site to appear relatively green with trees proposed in front gardens. An Appropriate Assessment was not required under the Habitats Regulations.


In relation to highways matters, Ms Parker advised the Committee that the main access from Bispham Road would be a T-junction which was a considerably safer arrangement than the roundabout originally proposed and would address many of the concerns raised by local residents. The access through Regency Gardens was considered to be acceptable and the roads were considered capable of supporting an additional 56 dwellings. A condition had been proposed in relation to speed surveys to establish if any mitigation measures were necessary. Ms Parker noted the limitations of the junction of Bispham Road and Warbreck Hill and that it was operating at over-capacity, however the impact was not considered to be severe and the developer could not reasonably be made liable for upgrades to that junction.


In relation to flood risk and drainage, no particular issues had been identified on the site and conditions were proposed to safeguard biodiversity and to enhance provision on site. Ms Parker reminded the Committee that the 10% biodiversity net gain requirement was not applicable until January 2024 and did not apply to applications already in the planning system. Although the proposal did not provide enough trees to meet the requirements of the Greening Blackpool Supplementary Planning Document, a significant amount of green infrastructure was proposed.


In respect of viability, Ms Parker advised that the Council had engaged Parkinsons to act on its behalf and it had not been possible to reach agreement with the applicant as detailed at length in the committee report. Although this weighed against the application, population projections for Blackpool indicated a declining population making it likely that many residents of the estate would relocate from elsewhere in Blackpool, with school places and health provision already in place.


In summary, the Committee was advised that the scheme would contribute towards housing supply and would provide 40 affordable rented home, off site sports provision and green space and play space upgrades. The Committee was recommended to agree that there was no need for an Appropriate Assessment under the Habitats Regulations, to resolve to support the application and to delegate it to the Head of Development Management to grant planning permission once a Section 106 Agreement had been entered into to secure the planning obligations. In addition, Ms Parker drew the Committee’s attention to the Update Note in relation to revised conditions and asked that if the application was supported, that she also be granted the authority to alter conditions as she saw fit before a decision was issued.


In an exception to the Procedure for Public Speaking the Chairman agreed that a representation could be made by Mr Ashton who had not registered by 12Noon on Monday 13 November 2023. Mr P Ashton spoke in objection to the application as a local resident and raised concerns in relation to access signage, tree surveys and concerns in relation to traffic.


Mr Alexis De Pol spoke on behalf of the Applicant and advised the Committee that the application was already allocated as a housing site for the principle of development and would provide a high quality housing scheme with a 20% affordable rent provision. The provision of public open space was over and above what was required and would provide biodiversity enhancement along with an attenuation basin and improved footpaths. The Committee was asked to support the application.


Mr K Allen, Highways and Traffic Development and Control Officer, provided the Committee with an outline of highways development in the area historically and reminded the Committee that a condition to carry out a speed/traffic survey had been proposed. The highways access and works were considered to be acceptable.


Ms Parker provided clarification in respect of the criteria for a tree to be included within a tree survey and advised that the Parks Officer had reviewed the application and provided feedback to maximise biodiversity on the site.


The Committee discussed the report and in response to questions, Mr De Pol advised that he did not foresee any issues in implementing any of the conditions or proposed conditions at present. Ms Parker also provided clarification in respect of any authority delegated to her in relation to conditions. In relation to the development period, Mr De Pol advised that a precise timeline could not be given, however a detailed Construction Management Plan would be agreed.



1.      To agree that no Appropriate Assessment under the Habitats Regulations was required

2.      To support the proposal and delegate the application to the Head of Development Management for approval subject to the completion of a S106 legal agreement and the conditions listed in the committee report and Update Note.

3.      To authorise the Head of Development Management to alter the wording of conditions as appropriate if acceptable information to meet the requirements of those conditions is provided prior to determination.


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