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BLACKPOOL BOROUGH COUNCIL

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BLACKPOOL BOROUGH COUNCIL ...

    BLACKPOOL BOROUGH COUNCIL

     REPORT of the

    HEAD OF PLANNING AND TRANSPORTATION

    To The EXECUTIVE

    th18 OCTOBER 2006

    On the

    TALBOT GATEWAY PLANNING BRIEF

    CONSIDERATION OF REPRESENTATIONS ON THE DRAFT DOCUMENT

The Draft Talbot Gateway Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) was approved by

    Executive in June 2006 for public participation. Under the Planning and Compulsory

    Purchase Act 2004, the Talbot Gateway SPD will form part of the Local Development

    Framework and its preparation is set out in the Council’s Local Development Scheme for

    completion in 2006/7.

The SPD provides the Council’s detailed planning guidance for the future development

    of the Talbot Gateway. Alongside the development of the Casino Leisure Quarter, it is at

    the heart of the Resort Masterplan in seeking to secure comprehensive redevelopment

    of the site and help support a much enhanced town centre offer.

After the successful marketing of the site at the beginning of the year by the Council and

    ReBlackpool URC, three potential developer partners were selected to prepare their

    proposals for the Talbot Gateway. Following consideration of their respective

    submissions at the end of the year, the Council will select its chosen developer partner

    in January 2007. The adopted Talbot Gateway SPD will guide the eventual chosen

    developer partner in making subsequent detailed planning applications for the

    comprehensive redevelopment of the site.

    thConsultation took place on the draft SPD for a six week period ending on August 19

    2006 including the three potential develop partners, organisations and landowners, as

    well as local residents and businesses within the immediate vicinity of the site. The

    content of the draft Planning Brief was informed by earlier consultation on a Scoping

    Document, produced by the Council in March 2006. A detailed Sustainability Appraisal of

    the SPD was also undertaken and made publicly available as part of the consultation

    process.

    The Purpose of this report is:

    ? To provide details of representations received on the draft SPD.

    ? To consider the Council’s response to those representations.

    ? To recommend changes for approval as the adopted Talbot Gateway SPD.

2 CONSIDERATION OF REPRESENTATIONS AND PROPOSED CHANGES

    The remainder of this report considers the issues raised by representations and where appropriate recommends changes to the SPD. A total of 24 different individuals and organisations made 112 representations on the content of the Draft SPD during the th 2006. This included responses consultation period ending on August 19

    fromReBlackpool and the three selected developer partners (Carillion, St Modwen, and Amec).

    Full details of each of the individual representations, their consideration by officers and any recommended changes to the SPD as a consequence of the representations are set out in Appendix A to this report. Details of other recommended changes to update the document are set out in Appendix B to this report.

    This covering report summarises some of the key issues raised by the representations, but it is an important part of the consultation process that all representations made on the SPD should be considered by the Council.

General

    ReBlackpool, GONW, the NWRDA and Lancashire County Council all expressed their support for the main content of the guidance as a key component of the Resort Masterplan, while making a number of specific representations on more detailed aspects of the draft Brief. Whilst supporting the thrust of the guidance, the three shortlisted potential development partners (Carillion, Amec and St Modwens) also made a number of specific comments on the draft Brief.

Vision and Key Design Principles

    Some clarification of the overall vision for the area is sought by Lancashire County Council. ReBlackpool URC similary seeks further clarification on the Council’s

    aspirations for the character of the area.

    More specific issues were raised by ReBlackpool and Amec regarding the need for clearer guidance on the appropriate scale and height of buildings catering for different uses and locations within the development.

    The basis of the approach adopted in the draft SPD has been to set out the key criteria that are important to inform design so as to secure an appropriate layout. It is considered the design principles set out in the draft SPD will help secure a seamless extension of the town centre into the Talbot Gateway, whilst providing the flexibility for a creative approach which recognises the importance of the area as a potential landmark development gateway to the town centre and resort. It remains the view that it is for the developers design teams to respond to this framework rather than for the SPD to provide detailed prescriptive guidance.

    However, in response to these representations a number of clarifications are recommended should be made to Section 2 “Vision for the Future”, Section 5.9

    “Appropriate Uses” and Section 7 of the draft SPD on Design Principles.

Redevelopment Issues

    Concerns were expressed regarding specific redevelopment issues in a number of representations, including the future of the Talbot Road Bus Station, the Indoor Bowls Hall, the Wilkinson Store, and other existing building frontages.

    Changes are therefore recommended to the SPD by the inclusion of a new summary section to more clearly set out those areas where redevelopment would be actively encouraged (including Blackpool North Station, Talbot Road Bus Station and Wilkinsons) and those areas where the Council would wish to see buildings retained.

    Precisely which areas/ buildings may be included in any eventual redevelopment, however, is not determined by the SPD and will only be determined as part of the eventual preparation of detailed development proposals by the Council’s eventual selected developer partner.

    It is accepted that the SPD is not in itself a sufficient basis to justify a compelling case for the use of CPO powers, but is part of a comprehensive approach to guide proposals for development. It will require detailed proposals progressed in conjunction with the statutory basis provided by the Local Plan and Talbot Gateway SPD to provide any necessary basis for CPO powers.

    It is therefore recommended in response to representations that additional reference should also be included in the SPD requiring a clear “relocation strategy” to be part and parcel of the proposals to be produced by the Council’s eventual selected developer

    partner for existing uses within the site.

    Specific clarification on the Bowls Hall can now be included in the Brief following the report to Executive in June 2006 which resolved that its retention would not be required within the site.

Retail Development

    Both Amec and Carillion have made representations regarding the need for more flexibility regarding the provision of new retail development and consider the current approach set out in the draft SPD is too restrictive. Blackpool Town Centre BID raises concerns that the scale of proposed retail development may detract from the retail offer in the rest of the town centre.

    The basic retail stance in the SPD is fully reflective of existing policy set out in the recently adopted Local Plan, with the need being to strengthen and integrate with the existing town centre. However, in response to representations, a proposed change to the SPD is recommended to clarify that all proposals will be judged against policy based on their overall merit. It is also recommended that additional recognition is included in the SPD of the role that restaurants, cafes and other ancillary uses perform in adding to the vitality of an area.

Housing

    ReBlackpool URC and Amec both call for a relaxation of the requirement that 30% of overall housing provision should be social housing, with the need for a more flexible approach in view of the high proportion of rented properties in the locality and the potential impact of social housing provision on the commerciality of the scheme.

    The requirement for social housing reflects adopted Local Plan policy. The provision of much needed shared equity social housing, which is largely absent from Blackpool will give residents a future stake in the local community. Such provision is considered could form part of quality mixed housing within Talbot Gateway, and with the involvement of a housing association would not undermine deliverability.

    However, in response to representations it is recommended that recognition should be included in the Brief that all housing schemes will need to be looked at in their totality, taking into account the local context and site characteristics of the Talbot Gateway, and to make further reference to the alternative of providing off-site social housing.

Access/ Transport issues

    Lancashire County Council, ReBlackpool URC, Wilkinsons, Grattan plc, and Blackpool & Fylde Rail Users Association all seek clarification of future requirements on future parking provision with concerns regarding the lack of clarity about the future of specific

    car parks. Leisure Parcs particularly emphasizes the need to minimise disruption to existing levels of provision during and as a result of any redevelopment.

    The future scale of provision, however, is dependent on the precise mix of uses that come forward, with the key need to ensure sufficient short term parking conveniently located and integrated with the existing town centre. The draft SPD already makes clear that while the existing provision (of 2095 spaces) is fragmented and inefficient, any significant loss of existing short stay provision (around 1200 spaces) should only be progressed in conjunction with proposals for replacement provision.

    It is accepted that further clarification regarding short stay/ long stay parking needs is required. Changes are therefore recommended to ensure that around two thirds of the 1,200 short stay spaces are retained within the defined town centre part of the site, and that a minimum of 600 longer stay spaces continue to be provided to meet existing needs. Adequate parking will also be required for all new development within Talbot Gateway in line with Local Plan maximum standards.

    In terms of retention or redevelopment of specific existing car parks, there is recognition in the Brief of the need for flexibility, with it being a matter for the preferred developer to come forward with more detailed proposals as part of their overall scheme for the redevelopment of Talbot Gateway. While changes are recommended to the SPD to clarify where the Council would encourage redevelopment and the King Street site has been identified as a preferred location for replacement provision, the SPD requirements are focused on the number of parking spaces to be provided rather than precise locations.

Similar flexibility is sought by ReBlackpool URC regarding the future alignment and

    distribution of traffic through Talbot Gateway, which can also only be determined in the

    context of development proposals for the site as a whole. It is accepted that the current

    reference in the draft SPD to achieving optimum capacity need not therefore relate to

    such provision being “across the centre of the site” and should be amended to reflect the

    need for flexibility.

The need to take account of the long term possiblity of an extension of the tramway link

    along Talbot Road is an important consideration referred to in responses from Amec and

    Lancashire County Council. A number of the representations from a range of interests

    also emphasised support for improved transport interchange facilities.

3 RECOMMENDATIONS

    o To approve the proposed changes to the Talbot Gateway SPD in response to

    representations and other considerations.

    o To formally adopt the Talbot Gateway Supplementary Planning Document

    incorporating these changes as the Council's detailed policy guidance to be

    applied to the determination of planning application for the redevelopment of the

    Talbot Gateway.

    o To give delegated authority to officers to prepare the final Talbot Gateway SPD

    incorporating the approved changes and any further minor changes and

    corrections that do not affect the substance of the detailed policy guidance.

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