De Pol secures permission for 176-home development in Blackpool

Planning consultancy De Pol Associates has secured permission to build 176 new homes on a 22-acre site in Blackpool.

The site, off Bispham Road, includes the grounds and playing field of the former Bispham High School which closed in 2015, as well as undesignated scrubland behind the Department for Work and Pensions offices. An existing four-acre area of open space will be retained. 

The hybrid application also includes full permission for the relocation of an existing air cadet hut from Bispham Road to a site on the northern boundary, accessed from Kylemore Road, which will provide improved facilities for the cadets and with the addition of car parking space for users.

Details involving the exact mix of properties, their design and the affordable contribution, will be decided at the reserved matters stage. Blackpool Council is currently in negotiations over the sale of the site for development.

Cllr Lynn Williams, Blackpool Council leader, said: "We are very pleased that the planning application has been approved and we can now progress the plans to build new homes for local people. The site will provide an excellent and critical boost to Blackpool’s housing supply.

"We listened to the local community and their concerns and have reduced the number of homes accessed from Regency Gardens from 86 to 56, as well as committing to make improvements to the local highways.

"Blackpool Council will also be making a contribution of £200,000 towards new 3G pitches on a currently disused pitch at Stanley Park, to ensure there is a quality provision of public playing fields for the local community."

The contribution for the 3G pitches will be met from the £1,050,000 funding that Blackpool Council secured for the site under the Government’s One Public Estate/ Housing Land Release programme. This funding support has been critical in enabling the site to be brought forward for development and help deliver the Government’s new homes targets.

Development is subject to conditions and the removal of an objection to the loss of the playing field by Sport England. The committee accepted the argument from De Pol that the fields were surplus to requirement, as identified in the council’s own recently published Playing Pitch Strategy.

De Pol also demonstrated that the school fields have never been publicly accessible, have not been used since the school closure, and that there is sufficient alternative provision in the locality. Should Sport England not remove the objection, the Secretary of State will be asked to confirm approval despite the objection, or to call it in.

The site is also proposed for residential allocation in the council’s draft local plan and its development would contribute towards boosting Blackpool’s five year housing supply, said  MD

Alexis De Pol, managing director of De Pol Associates, said: "The permission allows for the redevelopment of a derelict brownfield site to create new homes for local people, helping the council address its housing shortfall and making the most of a previously developed land as is preferred by planning policy.

"We demonstrated the site is appropriate for housing due to its accessibility and is compatible with neighbouring land uses, and provided a robust response to concerns over the loss of the playing field, which has never been a publicly usable space.

"The retention and enhancement of the western part of the site as public open space will be an asset for the community and support ecological diversity, while the new pedestrian links will open routes through the site for the benefit of all local residents."

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