Redevelopment of Blackpool’s historic Stanley Park golf course looks set to start later this year

0
54

The municipal course, which opened in 1925, is set to be reduced to just nine holes from September 1 to prepare for investment in a new tourist attraction.

Developer Holmes Investment Properties (HIP) wants to build a £45m Adrenalin World adventure park and up to 250 holiday lodges on part of the course on the east side of East Park Drive.

This means the loss of the 18 hole municipal golf course, with nine holes retained and upgraded, along with the clubhouse on the west side.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The east side of the course which is set for redevelopment
The east side of the course which is set for redevelopment

HIP has yet to apply for planning permission, but is poised to move ahead with work on the new nine hole course.

The 18 hole course was designed by Dr Alister MacKenzie who laid out more than 50 golf courses including Augusta, which is home to the US Masters.

Blackpool Council, which owns the course, said the changes were subject to planning permission being granted but said the developer had had to set out a timeline for its scheme.

A spokesperson for the council said: “So on current plans the 18 hole golf course will cease to operate on September 1 based on the current timeline which, of course, is subject to planning.

The clubhouse which will be refurbished

“As with any development programme, if there are delays to the implementation of those plans then the developer would review their proposals which may include adjustments to the anticipated timescales.”

The current lease for the 18 hole course should have expired at the end of March but has been extended.

The spokesperson added: “Following their being selected as preferred developer for the golf course, HIP have been developing their proposals whilst operating the golf course.

“The delivery of their proposals is, of course, subject to planning, but they have to develop a programme of activity to which they can work and keep relevant parties informed, including the members of the golf club.

Protesters outside the Town Hall

“Owing to delays they made the decision to extend the offer of 18 holes until August 31, from the original plan to close holes on April 1 2021 and therefore ensured that this information was made known.”

From September 1, it is proposed the course will operate a combination of nine holes across the whole site while work to create the new nine hole course is carried out.

The spokesperson said: “The nine holes will be on both sides of the course: holes one and two and then the seven holes on the east side.

“The work will be then done on the holes on the west so that by the time they start to develop the east side it will revert to the nine holes on the west.”

The course is currently closed under lockdown, but golfers are hoping to be back on the greens in coming weeks.

Laura Greenall, secretary and manager of Blackpool Park Golf Club, said: “We would like assurance that the east side of the course remains open until HIP is in a position to start developing the site in accordance with the plans they submitted in their winning bid.

“Our members, and I am sure many local residents, fear the course could close and nothing happen to the land for years to come meaning a great amenity has been lost for no good reason.

“This latest announcement means that all contract holders, not just our members, that usually use this facility on a regular basis have now been left in limbo.

“Normally a contract would run for 12 months, now it’s being reduced to five months, without notification of what the fee will be.

“Blackpool Park Golf Club is obviously concerned about the effect that this uncertainty will have on its ability to retain existing members and entice new members to join and take up golf.

“We are hoping that the planning process is rigorously followed and a consultation period and maybe even a public inquiry take place. “

The council has forged ahead with the scheme in the face of public opposition including a petition signed by 8,000 people.

Campaigners from Blackpool Open Green Spaces accused the council of being “about to decimate an area of significant local heritage.”

Tom Barlow, representing the group, said: “The proposed development by HIP has little or no value to the residents of Blackpool.

“So it is incredulous they should be allowed to even put a spade in the ground until such time as they have completed a full and extensive EIA (environmental impact assessment) and submitted some form of planning application in support of their development.

“Until these processes have been completed, and residents have been given the information, and properly consulted, the land should remain unviolated.

“The proposed changes to the land west of East Park Drive, fall within the Stanley Park Conservation Area so any changes to the topography of this land can only be subject to the rigorous planning and conservation scrutiny.

“By appropriating the land adjacent to Victoria Hospital, Blackpool Council have already robbed Blackpool residents of a significant area of public open space.

“Now they intend to destroy what remains of this part of Blackpool’s local heritage going back nearly 100 years.”

Conservative group leader Coun Tony Williams, who last year forced a debate in full council on the issue, said he feared the planning application was “a done deal”.

He added: “This is just another example of the council ignoring the wishes of the people of Blackpool and forging ahead with their own agenda.

“It’s disgraceful and I guarantee that arrogant and bullying decisions that destroy this town’s heritage will come back to haunt them. The people of Blackpool have had enough.”

Blackpool Council stepped in to run the course in October 2018 when the previous operator Mack Trading went into voluntary liquidation.

Following a procurement process, HIP was appointed in 2019 to redevelop the site.

The council will receive £2m for the land, and say the scheme will create around 150 jobs.

* Thanks for reading. If you value what we do and are able to support us, a digital subscription is just £1 for your first month. Try us today by clicking here

Credit: Source link

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here