Harbour Lights Amusements owner Lee Stefani said the proposals to build retirement flats on Fleetwood Esplanade were not ideal. In fact, they are probably not the economic boon a seaside resort would like. However, there will be an upside if only the opportunity of a trickle of extra business in the future.
Controversial plans to build apartments on the former site of Fleetwood Pier have been given the green light.
Wyre Council approved Simmon Developments’ proposals for 15 apartments for over-55s on the Esplanade, despite 1,100 objections to the scheme.
Lee Stefani, who owns Harbour Lights Amusements on the Esplanade, was one of many residents not happy with the new arrangements.
“Would we like to see those apartments there? Probably not,” Stefani said. “I don’t think it will have much of an effect on business, but being 15 apartments for over-55s doesn’t really give anything to us.”
Although Stefani admitted the situation was not ideal, he felt there may be a silver lining for his business, albeit not a shimmering, shiny silver.
“They’re probably not going to be customers for what we do. But I think we might get a bit of spillover into the café on good days.
“It really depends on if there’s concessions for over 55-year-olds, and if they’ve got families coming to visit them who might explore the local amenities and the seafront itself.
“So we’re trying to grasp that and get a trickle of business.
“But it’s a shame it wasn’t something more educational or at least gives purpose to the side and brings the local families in,” Stefani added.
The Harbour Lights Amusements boss was particularly concerned for what the decision may mean for the future of the Fleetwood seafront.
“Once they start to build on the seafront, it sets the precedent for other big companies coming in and claiming land.”
Fleetwood’s residents who were against the plans said the building will ruin Fleetwood’s much-cherished seafront, according to the Blackpool Gazette.
“I think the campaigners who were against the plans just to want to preserve the seafront,” Lee explained.
Lee, whose family used to own Fleetwood Pier, felt a sentimental connection with the site.
“People have asked, ‘why can’t we build a pier again?’
“I think it would take a lot of investment to do that. Things were difficult when we were closing down, and I think opening one in today’s climate would be even more difficult.
“So the plans for the apartments are not ideal, but it was just one of those things that was going to happen,” he concluded.