Blackpool Council’s planning committee has recommended the refusal of Club 3000’s plan to turn a retail park pub into a bingo hall due to the site in question being 300m too far away from the town centre boundaries.
While acknowledging the application represents “significant inward investment into the town”, the planning committee recommendation stated the proposals fail to satisfy the council’s sequential test. This is because the site Club 3000 want to build on is 300m outside of the town centre and 50m outside of the ‘resort core’, making it an “edge-of-centre site”, according to the planning committee.
The committee also made the judgement that the proposed bingo hall would not “constitute a replacement community facility” for the Swift Hound pub, recommending to councillors that it “would not serve a local function”.
“Public houses are accepted meeting points for social interaction and are used by a wide cross section of the community with no particular behaviours imposed on patrons,” the report stated. “The bingo hall proposed by virtue of its scale would not serve a local function but would instead constitute a leisure facility serving a wider area of the borough. Furthermore, patrons of the bingo hall would either be expected to partake in gambling or would otherwise have their experience on the premises strongly influenced by the prevailing session of play. As such it would appeal to a lesser proportion of the community and would not serve the same function.”
After stating Club 3000 would not be for a local community, the report then stated it would not be for visitors either. If deemed a tourist destination, the bingo hall may be close enough to the ‘resort core’ to pass the sequential test – however the report confirmed that it would be mainly for local residents.
“Whilst it is accepted that the uses proposed could attract some custom from visitors to Blackpool, the dispersal of Bingo [Club] 3000 venues across the country away from tourist centres suggests that the majority of their patronage comes from local residents,” the report continued. “As such,the use should properly be considered as a typical main town centre use rather than a tourist attraction.”
Councillors are yet to decide on whether to approve the plans – but with guidance from a committee recommendation that contradicts itself so profoundly, it’s hard to see how the council could make any judgment in good faith.