Blackpool: Demolition is ‘only option’ for old Woolworths building

A final attempt to get permission to demolish a former Woolworths building in Blackpool and replace it with a car park has been rejected.

A town planning inspector has rejected an appeal from businessman Howard Plant to redevelop the site on the corner of Bond Street and Waterloo Road in South Shore, most recently occupied by Hartes.

However, while the parking lot has been blocked off, the former retail store, which is locally listed, is still at risk of eventually being bulldozed.

Mr Plant had appealed after the council rejected his request for a 40-space car park on the land.

In a report outlining her decision, Town Planning Inspector Alison Partington said the poor condition of the building meant demolition was “the only viable option”.

She agreed that a car park “would undoubtedly be beneficial for customers and visitors, particularly in high season”, but said that “the large gap that would be created in the urban form would have a negative visual impact on the area. “.

The inspector said a car park was not “the only viable use of the site” which could “potentially be developed in other ways which would be more consistent with the character of the area”.

Mr Plant, who operated a number of car parks in Blackpool, said he was disappointed with the decision as it would cost him around £40,000 to demolish the building with no development plan in place.

He said: ‘If you talk to anyone who runs a business in that area, they all wanted it as a parking lot.

“I’m 100 per cent sure that if I opened a car park on this corner it would be full six months out of the year. I know that from the desperation of the shops there.

“And just because it’s a parking lot doesn’t mean it hurts the aesthetics of a neighborhood. I had also planned to set up all the infrastructure for the electric charging stations.

“So I’m overwhelmed by this decision, and the board now want me to make further suggestions as to what they want me to put in there.”

The building opened in 1928 as Blackpool’s second Woolworth before closing in 1994 with Harte occupying it for 25 years until its closure in January 2019.