Update 11 (27th July 2020)

Posted on: Mon Jul 27 by Tom Barlow

Things have been happening at pace over the last few weeks and it has been hard to keep up, and indeed to know which things to relay back to you in relation to the activities which are ongoing.

1 NOTICES FOR APPROPRIATION OF STANLEY PARK GC

The two most significant outcomes are as follows: –

1.1 Notice of: EXECUTIVE

  • Relevant Officer: Alan Cavill, Director of Communications and Regeneration
  • Relevant Cabinet Member: Councillor Mark Smith, Cabinet Member for Business Enterprise and Job Creation

Date of Meeting: 13 July 2020

PROPOSED APPROPRIATION AND DISPOSAL OF OPEN SPACE LAND AT STANLEY PARK GOLF COURSE, BLACKPOOL

Purpose of the report.

To provide information to enable members to consider a number of representations following the advertisement of the proposed appropriation of open space land for planning purposes and the proposed disposal of open space land at Stanley Park Golf Course, Blackpool and to decide whether or not to proceed with the proposals to appropriate and dispose of the land.

Suffice to say that this report was accepted in its entirety and all appropriations notices were approved.

The report in full can be found here: –

https://democracy.blackpool.gov.uk/documents/s55533/Appendix%202a%20EX29%20Stanley%20Park%20Golf%20Course.pdf

The decision document can be found here: –

https://democracy.blackpool.gov.uk/documents/s55533/Appendix%202a%20EX29%20Stanley%20Park%20Golf%20Course.pdf

The next significant action happened at this meeting known as “CALL IN”.

1.2 Tourism, Economy and Communities Scrutiny Committee

Meeting 23 July 2020, 6pm

This is when a decision is challenged and in this case Councillor Tony Williams made this Call In, based on the lack or consultation with both Cllrs and members of the public, prior to both the procurement process, and the appropriation of the land.

The meeting lasts for around 1hr 20mins but is well worth watching as it is very enlightening!

The process was clear and as follows: –

  • Introduction from the chairperson
  • The case was set out for both sides of the argument
  • Each side was open to answer questions
  • Members of the committee were asked for their comments
  • A proposal to do nothing and proceed with the appropriation

was rejected by 5-4

  • A proposal to take the matter to full council was accepted by 5-4

This was significant as the vote crossed traditional party boundaries.

It was also a significant setback for the council who wish to dispose of this land!

Ideally the appropriation of the land should have been undertaken after a consultation with the public, about its future use, and this would have brought up many more options for the future use of the land, and this should have been undertaken prior to any procurement process.

As it is there is only one option that is being pursued by the developer and the council, the point was made in the meeting, that it was David Lloyd who selected this land and at no time in the past until his intervention has the land been considered for development as part of Blackpool’s town wider commercial development.

One item of interest that emerged during the meeting was when a question was asked about what happens if HIP do not get their planning application to develop the site?

The answer is that once the land is no longer designated as Green Space it will be lost forever, and the decision will not be reverted.

If HIP do not develop the land, then someone else will and the only recourse for the public and councillors alike will be through the planning process.

WE NEED TO BE CLEAR THE APPROPRIATION IS REQUIRED TO ALLOW THE CHANGE OF USE OF THE LAND FROM OPEN SPACE TO DEVELOPMENT LAND AND THAT IS WHAT THE FULL COUNCIL WILL NOW VOTE ON.

So, the appropriation of this land will now be voted on by the full council who if they follow party lines can still get this through with the Labour majority of 23, all remaining other Cllrs being 20 in number so just a majority of 3.

They will not be voting on HIP’s development of the site; or on an Adrenaline World Theme Park, this is a simple question for Blackpool people and councillors: –

SHOULD THIS SITE BE DEVELOPED OR REMAIN AS OPEN GREEN SPACE?

The next natural question is how much to the people of Blackpool care about this land?

In their report the council say: –

In order to provide some context, the numbers of responses received, and the postcodes stated by those who responded have been analysed as set out in Appendix 2. 178 responses are from FY1-FY4 postcode areas. The population of Blackpool is 139,300 (2018 JSNA) and this equates to 0.12 of the Blackpool population.

So, are they right?

For many people in Blackpool this appropriation just slipped by completely un-noticed, and as the council did as little as possible to make the public aware it is not surprising the numbers are so low.

For example, it was not prominent on their website and they did not put any details in their resident’s newsletters.

Yet it also highlights a huge challenge for BOGs and another question.

“How do we get more people involved, and make their voices heard?”

The next opportunity to do this will be the when the issue is debated at the next full council meeting, which we understand will not be until September, when Cllrs return from summer recess.

Before then we will be working hard to send out a message to as many Blackpool residents as possible?

2 HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT

STANLEY PARK GOLF CLUB, NORTH PARK DRIVE, BLACKPOOL, FY3 8LS

Planning – Planning Application Documents

20/0273 | EIA Scoping Opinion in relation to a proposed development at Stanley Park Golf Course.

PLEASE NOTE: This submission is not an application for planning permission, it is a formal request for the Council’s opinion on the scope of the necessary Environmental Statement that must accompany any future planning application.

Consultees and Public Comments


Almost 400 Public comments were largely ignored, but Susan Parker (Head of Development Management, Blackpool Council) has incorporated the feedback and concerns from the expert consultees and has clearly set out detailed requirements for the developer.

The scoping document for the EIA had left out several important issues and had minimised the impact of many others. BUT it is now going to take longer and be much more expensive for the developer as they will have to: –

  1. Show the effects of the project in its entirety – they cannot now get away with their attempt to package the site into portions to minimise the impression of the impact of their plans!
  2. Be clear about the impact of their demolition plans.
  3. Do a more robust assessment of transport and traffic impacts, noise, night-time lighting.
  4. Give more consideration of economic and tourist impacts and pressures on the local healthcare and community infrastructure.
  5. Do more robust protected species surveys, which must also now be extended to the west side of the golf course.
  6. Give more consideration to the functional flood plains here and the quality and flow of water with Main Dyke.
  7. Give consideration of this proposal in conjunction with other developments planned in the town, so recognising the cumulative environmental effects, not just the effects from building on Stanley Park land!

  8. Put archaeology, air quality, greenhouse gases, waste management and carbon emissions back into the assessment (as these had all been scoped out!!)

Susan Parker also requires the Environmental Statement (results of the EIA) to be structured more clearly than initially proposed – to ensure objectivity and avoid burying some issues in the wrong places!

THE RESPONSE TO THE CONCERNS AND DEMANDS OF THE EXPERT CONSULTEES HAS NOW GIVEN THE DEVELOPER AND THEIR CONTRACTORS A LOT MORE WORK TO DO – THIS COULD TAKE OVER A YEAR? AND COST THEM A LOT MORE MONEY!!!

3. THE COVID FALLOUT

This pandemic has been devastating for many, the human cost in lives lost has been enormous, and a significant threat continues and will do so until such time as a vaccine becomes available, which may not happen until much later in the year.

There will though be a much longer lasting effect on our economy and jobs!

The current furlough period is creating a false demand around leisure activities, because many families now have free time to spend together, but there will be a significant change when furlough comes to an end, and the lucky ones actually get to return to their jobs. Its possible many may not have jobs to return too.

The impact of this on this development must be significant and will include: –

  • Difficulties in raising the investment funding required.
  • Uncertainty about the visitor numbers coming to the town.
  • The loss of income and lack of spare cash which households may have to spend on leisure.

So, it is a far from a given that HIP will be able to take this development forward, but that does not mean that Blackpool Council will give up on their efforts to develop this land!

4. ACTION STATIONS

The steering group will be meeting on Friday of this week to set out an action plan for the coming months, the details of which will be contained in the next update, and we will notify you when that is published on the website.

5. Respecting Ourselves and Others

For many of our supporters this is an emotional subject which brings out their passion, which is great but all our energies and passions needs to be directed so that they have the most impact in getting our message across, whilst having respect for all those involved, most importantly to those who may disagree with our point of view.

So, we are advocation this mantra and ask our Guardians to adopt this approach: –

  • Be Kind and Courteous
    We are all in this together, our aim is to challenge any development which seeks to destroy areas of green space in Blackpool, in doing so we need treat everyone with respect.
  • Discussions and debates need to be tempered with good nature and kindness.
  • We should always abide within the law of the land, and only engage in peaceful protest
  • Respect Everyone’s Privacy
  • Be aware that once shared your words become public. Think carefully before posting your comments.
  • Information Sharing
    We will always seek to ensure that any information we share will be authentic, and factually correct.
  • Please avoid inflammatory rumor or speculation.
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