First residents at £10m new Blackpool housing development

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With views of a windmill, spacious rooms, the latest energy-saving measures and a trendy design – it’s no wonder the first residents of new council houses in Blackpool are delighted with their home.

 

Angela and Mark Short, along with their children Jemma, 17, and Declan, 18, have moved into one of the new build homes completed during phase one of the £10m development at Troutbeck Crescent on Mereside.

Their three-bedroom home over three floors is among the first nine properties to be handed over by builders Tyson Construction, with the next nine due at the beginning of August.

A total of 75 homes are being built with completion due by April next year

Coun Ivan Taylor with Angela, Mark and Jemma ShortCoun Ivan Taylor with Angela, Mark and Jemma Short

The modern houses and flats boasting gardens, balconies and car ports are a far cry from the blocks of 81 worn out flats built in the 1960s, which were demolished to make way for the investment.

Blackpool Coastal Housing (BCH), which manages the properties on behalf of the council, estimated it would have cost £3m to bring the old flats up to modern standards.

Meanwhile they were proving difficult to let as tenants did not want them.

By contrast, residents are queuing up for the new homes which are being let through the My Home Choice housing register

New homes in the first phase of the developmentNew homes in the first phase of the development

Angela, a support worker, had previously lived in Dean Street, South Shore, before moving to Troutbeck Crescent,

She said: “Our family has lived in Blackpool for some years but we were looking for a new home that better suited our needs.

“We saw the development at Troutbeck Crescent and when we viewed a three bedroom property we were impressed by the decent sized rooms and design. For us it was ideal.”

She added: “We were on the housing list for quite a long time, so it’s nice to be settled here – we don’t plan on moving again.

The old flats which were demolished to make way for redevelopment

“Where we were before it was noisy and busy, and parking was difficult. Our new home is warm and we have double and triple glazing so you can’t hear traffic.

“We’re looking forward to meeting all our new neighbours and being part of the community here.”

The scheme is set to deliver 27 two bedroom houses, 18 three bedroom houses, two three bedroom accessible houses, nine two bedroom accessible houses and 19 one bedroom apartments which will be managed on behalf of the council by Blackpool Coastal Housing (BCH).

The project has been funded by the council and supported with grant funding from Homes England under the Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme 2016-21.

Work began in September 2019 on the 2.3 hectare site which includes new green spaces to replace trees and vegetation removed to enable construction.

Sarah Speakman, head of strategic developments at Blackpool Housing Company which has overseen the project for the council, said the aim was to provide high standard accommodation with many of the specifications beating those found in privately build affordable homes.

This includes heating and insulation which will “reduce energy bills and keep people warm and comfortable.”

Sarah added: “They are council houses but they meet or exceed national technical standards for housing in terms of space and energy efficiency.

“We are trying to create homes that are fit for purpose and allow people to stay here and become part of the community.”

Coun Ivan Taylor, council deputy leader with responsibilities for housing, said: “The previous housing at Troutbeck Crescent had become increasingly unpopular and difficult to let – as a result there was a high turnover of tenants.

“The new homes reflect the properties that are in highest demand in Blackpool. They are well designed and offer economical and good living space for people with different requirements and needs.”

He added the investment vindicated the council’s decision not to sell off its housing stock.

He said: “We kept our housing stock years ago when early every council sold off their’s to housing associations.

“But we wouldn’t do it and projects like this show it was absolutely the right thing to do. People want good housing and deserve it, and we are determined to provide it.”

BCH chief executive John Donnellon, said: “This is a scheme that the council

and Blackpool can be proud of, replacing ageing accommodation with modern high quality housing for Blackpool residents.”

Further proposals for new council houses in Blackpool include 131 properties at Grange Park, with a planning application for the scheme submitted last month.

Changing bulbs could save Blackpool millions of pounds

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Blackpool Council has unveiled plans to switch to LED bulbs for the town’s street lighting in a move which could save up to £6m.

 

The transition would add up to energy savings in one year “equivalent to turning the Illuminations off for 34 years”, according to a report to councillors.

Members of the executive are being recommended to approve the changes when they meet on Monday (July 12), along with borrowing of £4.8m to fund the work which would be met from energy savings.

It would also help the council in its drive to become carbon neutral by 2030 by reducing carbon emissions by eight per cent.

LED bulbs are set to be fitted to Blackpool's street lightsLED bulbs are set to be fitted to Blackpool’s street lights

If the scheme goes ahead, it will see the current sodium lights exchanged for LEDs in street lights, illuminated traffic signals and bollards, traffic lights and pedestrian crossings.

Work would begin in 2022/23 and take around two years to complete.

The council report adds: “The principle driver in recommending approval to implement the change to LED lamps is the demonstration of cost savings to the council in energy and significant reduction in carbon emissions, with its consequential impact on the climate change agenda.”

Many councils across the UK are changing to LED lights which are not deemed to reduce visibility although the Blackpool report adds residents will be “consulted on the change to LED luminaires including explaining details of visual changes that may be experienced.”

The council says electricity costs have almost doubled in the past 10 years meaning it makes financial sense to install LEDs which are significantly cheaper to run.

The annual electricity bill for street lighting is currently nearly £1.2m.

Annual savings of £688,000 are expected, and even with the cost of borrowing to meet the installation costs, the council could see savings of more than £6m over the 20-year lifespan of the LEDs.

The new bulbs would be fitted by the Community Lighting Partnership which in 2009 agreed a a 25-year Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract with the council, delivered by its sub-contractor Eon.

Blackpool Illuminations has already mainly switched to LED bulbs, while LED lights were first fitted on the Tower in 2011, before being replaced again last year.

£25m Hotel Indigo plan revealed for Blackpool’s historic Post Office building

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Blackpool’s Grade II listed former Post Office could be converted to a Hotel Indigo if a £25m development gets the go ahead.

 

Cheshire-based Ashall Project has unveiled plans to transform the building on Abingdon Street into a high-quality 148-room Hotel Indigo and Indigo Suites.

Boutique hotel hope for former Blackpool post office could be part of new fundin…

Blackpool Council is seeking £7m from the Government’s Levelling Up fund towards the total investment of £24.8m.

Artist's impression of the proposed Hotel IndigoArtist’s impression of the proposed Hotel Indigo

Mark Ashall, director of Ashall Projects, said: “There’s a lot of work to do on this project, but we have the resources, knowledge and commitment.

“Instead of being neglected and in danger of becoming an eyesore, these buildings will enhance the town centre and provide the world’s first Indigo hotel of this type which will help attract all kinds of visitors to Blackpool.”

Ashall Projects has submitted a planning application for the scheme for the former Post Office where there is already planning permission for a 102-bedroom hotel.

Mr Ashall added: “This will be a Hotel Indigo with a difference. It will cater for both short-stay leisure and business visitors and it will also offer extended stay suites with additional facilities, such as kitchenettes, to provide the space and amenities for guests who want to stay longer.
The Grade II listed former Post Office
The Grade II listed former Post Office

The developer has teamed up with global company Intercontinental Hotel Group and Franklin Ellis Architects, who designed the Indigo Hotel which opened in Chester in 2019.

Mr Ashall said: “There are nearly 150 Indigo Hotels across the globe but this will be the first time anywhere that Indigo will be offering extended stay rooms in addition to the classic Indigo rooms.

“We believe this will allow us to provide a wide range of accommodation options which will meet a variety of customer requirements.”

The proposals include retaining many of the original features of the Post Office, which opened in 1910, including the Abingdon Street frontage and the eight red telephone boxes outside.

Inside, the marbled flooring, cornicing and other key architectural features will be restored.

The hotel, a short walk away from Blackpool’s £28m new conference centre at the Winter Gardens, would employ around 70 staff and 215 people would work on the construction.

Ashall Projects has previously developed the Aloft Hotel in Liverpool after transforming the historic Royal Insurance building in the city.

Matthew Branton, partner with Franklin Ellis Architects, said the project would “further assist the wider regeneration of the locality and its place at the heart of Blackpool’s Town Centre Conservation Area.”

It would provide “an oasis in the centre of town feel for visitors and guests, whilst enhancing Blackpool’s high end guest room offering, alongside the provision of several options for events and meetings to improve the town’s corporate and conferencing offering.”

Blackpool Council leader Coun Lynn Williams said, “Blackpool Council fully supports the plans to bring this key historic property back to life.

“This upscale hotel development will attract extended stay business and leisure guests to the centre Blackpool all year round for the benefit of local businesses. “

This is the fourth set of plans to come forward for the former Post Office building which closed in 2007, with the sorting office moving to a new site in Bispham in 2015.

Ashall Projects is part of a private property investment and development company which in recent years has developed projects with an investment value in excess of £500m.

Wanted man arrested at Blackpool North railway station after ‘disturbance’ on train

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A wanted man was caught at Blackpool North railway station after a “disturbance” onboard a train from Preston.

 

Officers responding to calls about a disturbance onboard a train from Preston stopped a suspect at Blackpool North railway station.

A check revealed the man was wanted for breaching a court order and a warrant for his arrest had been issued in Northampton.

He was subsequently arrested by police.

British Transport Police have been approached for more information.
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