A developer is appealing against a council decision preventing him from bulldozing a former Woolworth’s store in Blackpool to replace it with a car park.
Howard Plant was refused permission for the scheme to demolish the building on Bond Street in South Shore, which was occupied by Hartes for 25 years until it closed down in January 2019.
The property, which is locally listed, is in a poor state of repair – which Mr Plant says was already the case when he and his business partner bought the site two years ago.
They want to redevelop the land to provide a 43-space car park which they say will serve nearby businesses and boost trade in the neighbourhood.
The Hartes site in South Shore
Their application was turned down by town hall planners because bats are believed to be nesting there, rather than because of the building’s locally listed status.
A decision notice says approval was not given because “the applicant has failed to demonstrate that the method of demolition proposed would adequately safeguard protected species and so prior approval must be refused.”
An appeal has now been lodged with the planning inspectorate and will be determined by an independent planning inspector.
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A Blackpool woman is set to cut loose and launch her own hair salon, after 20 years of working for someone else.
It will be a new year and new start for Victoria Johnstone who is to open her own hair and beauty parlour, Victoria J’s, in Highfield Road in January.
This weekend she is hosting an open day to let her customers have a sneak peek into what they can expect next year.
Victoria is being joined by colleague Stacey Logan in the venture and both have worked for years at Solo Scissors in Caunce Street which is set to close due to rising costs and the effects of the pandemic.
Vicky Johnstone from Victoria J’s which is set to open in January on Highfield Road
Victoria and her husband Tony enlisted the help of their family to renovate the building which used to be the Sunlounge tanning shop and are now on the lookout for nails and beauty practitioners to rent the two spare rooms she has at the new salon.
Victoria said: “I have worked at Solo Scissors for 20 years and Stacey for 13. The lease is due to end on the shop in Caunce Street so the owner Jayne Sherwin has decided to leave on December 24 and carry on working but from her own home.
“I have absolutely loved working there, but I have always wanted my own salon, so this has given me the push I needed to start my own business.
“It has been daunting but exciting at the same time and we are really looking forward to it. It has taken us five weeks to get the salon renovated. These last two years have been incredibly difficult for everyone especially in the hair and beauty industry where many salons are shutting down.
Vicky Johnstone and Stacey Logan from Victoria J’s on Highfield Road. Both previously worked at Solos Scissors in Caunce Street
“It’s very modern in style and we will have three chairs for stylists but also two rooms for beauticians to rent out, all on one floor.”
She said a lot of their customers from Caunce Street were coming over with them but they were looking forward to meeting new customers.
“I started 20 years ago at Solos Scissors, did my training and apprenticeship there. We have been there a long time and it is sad that it is closing, but Jayne is carrying on at home.”
Stacey said working in the hair industry was more than just a business, as many clients kept coming back over many years.
Victoria and Stacey
She said: “It’s not just about doing their hair, you build a real relationship with clients and you go through everything in your life and their lives together.”
Victoria added: “It’s great, I love meeting new people and making people feel good about themselves.”
“Our open day is on Sunday, November 28, from 2pm to 5pm, with prosecco and fresh orange, as well as canapes and a raffle ticket to win a few gifts. We just want to thank all our clients from Solos Scissors for their support over the years and let them know they can come here, as well as welcome new ones.”
Detailed proposals have been unveiled for a £6.3m new business hub in Blackpool town centre which is part of the resort’s Town Deal..
A courtyard, cafe and roof terrace are included in the blueprint for the transformation of the Stanley Buildings.
The triangular building, which sits between Church Street and Caunce Street, dates back to 1935 and is locally listed.
Owned by the council, it is currently occupied by shops, offices and a takeaway with some empty units.
But designs by architects Cassidy and Ashton, which are part of a new planning application, set out a vision to refurbish the site for use by start-ups and small businesses including retail.
Providing the application is approved, work will include external alterations to the windows, replacement shop fronts, the creation of a courtyard at ground floor level and a new roof terrace on the second floor.
The takeaway would be converted to a cafe, and facilities would include a new entrance lobby, landscaped courtyard, bicycle storage and a function room.
A design brief accompanying the application says: “The overall objective of the proposals is to develop the existing site to provide a mixed use offering of
Artist’s impression showing the refurbishment plans
offices and retail space with supporting communal facilities.”
This would be done “by way of a newly landscaped courtyard and terraces, which would support a range of small and medium sized enterprises at this highly sustainable site within the town centre.”
Funding includes £4.5m of government cash from Blackpool’s Town Deal and match funding of £1.8m.
Demand for space inside the new hub is expected to be high – with the council’s audit committee being told earlier this year occupancy levels within the council’s two existing business centres – the Enterprise Centre on Lytham Road in South Shore, and FY Creatives on Church Street – currently exceeded 90 per cent.
A former furniture store and the operator of an ice rink are among 22 businesses owing more than £470,000 between them in unpaid business rates to Blackpool Council.
Town hall finance chiefs have published details of the latest batch of business rate debts they have had to write off due to bankruptcy or there being ‘no prospect’ of recovering the money.
The full total of £471,198 includes £23,694 owed by Richard Lefton Furnishings Ltd, whose showroom in General Street closed in 2019 after the family owned retailer had traded for 75 years in the resort.
Managing director Richard Lefton died, aged 54, in January 2020 after being admitted to Blackpool Victoria Hospital with sepsis.
Town hall coffers are owed £470,000 in unpaid business rates
Olsen and Redfern Ltd is recorded as owing the council £25,169 in connection with the operation of an ice rink.
Companies House lists Daniel Nicholson as a director of the company, who previously operated the Fylde Coast Ice Arena at the former TVR site on Bristol Avenue in Bispham until it shut in May 2017.
The biggest single chunk of unpaid business debts is £44,383 owed by Casual Wholesale Ltd for a shop and premises.
A total of £28,170 is owed by the New Oxford Hotel on Albert Road, believed to be from previous operators, while Casey’s Hotel and Bar on Dickson Road owes £14,324.
The latest debts have been written off between October 2020 and September this year, and the total compares to £557,418 of business rates unpaid for the period prior to April 2020.
Provision for bad debt is made by the council as part of its business rate collection regime and debts are only written off when there is no chance of recovering the money.
But a council report adds: “It is good practice for the council to write legitimate business rate debt off, however any debt written-off can be re-instated at a later date should there be an unforeseen opportunity to recover part or all of the debt.”
The full list of business rates written off for period October 1 2020 to September 1 2021 :-
Casual Wholesale Ltd £44,383.00 No Prospect of Recovery Shop and Premises
Lyndon-Dykes Ltd £ 41,516.26 Bankruptcy/Insolvency Hotel and Premises
W.S.Slater & Co. Ltd £ 39,946.75 No Prospect of Recovery Warehouse and Premises
Retail Group UK Ltd £ 34,111.74 No Prospect of Recovery Shop and Premises
NT Wholesale Newport Ltd £ 30,613.20 No Prospect of Recovery Shop and Premises
The New Oxford Hotel Ltd £ 28,170.87 Bankruptcy/Insolvency Hotel and Premises
Olsen & Redfern Ltd £ 25,169.00 No Prospect of Recovery Ice Skating Rink
Richard Lefton Furnishings Ltd £ 23,694.02 Bankruptcy/Insolvency Showroom and Premises
GYPS Hotels UK Ltd £ 22,046.01 No Prospect of Recovery Hotel and Premises
R S Apartments Ltd £ 20,482.72 No Prospect of Recovery Self-Catering holiday units and premises
Aamir Retail Ltd £ 18,464.28 No Prospect of Recovery Shop and Premises
Golden Beach Hotel Ltd £ 15,644.50 No Prospect of Recovery Hotel and Premises
West Coast Trade Ltd £ 15,352.45 No Prospect of Recovery Offices and Premises
Casey’s Hotel (Blackpool) Ltd £ 14,324.29 No Prospect of Recovery Guest House, Bar and Premises
Ratepayer (personal name redacted) £ 14,208.52 Whereabouts Unknown – Gone Away Workshop and Premises
Concierge Services Direct Ltd £ 13,411.27 No Prospect of Recovery Shop and Premises
Ratepayer (personal name redacted) £ 12,783.24 Bankruptcy/Insolvency Shop and Premises
Ratepayer (personal name redacted) £ 12,631.55 Bankruptcy/Insolvency Hotel and Premises
Ratepayer (personal name redacted) £ 11,743.27 Bankruptcy/InsolvencyGuest House Restaurant and Premises
Facefood (Blackpool) Ltd £ 11,345.02 No Prospect of Recovery Shop and Premises
Navkaar Ltd £ 11,116.96 No Prospect of Recovery Shop and Premises
Poolout Ltd £ 10,039.47 No Prospect of Recovery Public House and Premises
CCM Bar Company, which trades as Capri in Lytham, pleaded guilty to 11 breaches of EU Hygiene Regulations including dirty kitchen appliances, packaging cooked and raw meat on the same machine, and potential gas leaks
A Lytham bar has been ordered to pay almost £20,000 after admitting to a raft of hygiene regulations including a potential gas leak.
CCM Bar Company, which trades as Capri in Lytham, initially pleaded not guilty to a total of 11 charges concerning non-compliance with EU Hygiene Regulations.
Preparations were under way to take the matter to trial only for Capri to U-turn and change its plea to guilty for all charges.
The charges were filed against Capri after an environmental health visit from Fylde Borough Council on April 24, 2019.
At the Dicconson Terrace venue, officers found general dirt and debris in a chest freezer in the dry store area, as well as an accumulation of brown debris, dust and black dirt.
They also said Capri was vacuum packing cooked and raw foods on the same machine despite the machine having a label explicitly saying it was for ‘raw meat only’.
A white food mixer in the kitchen was also encrusted with food debris, spillages and splashes, brown grease and black dirt.
When the staff toilet was checked it was blocked, dirty and out of service.
Back in the kitchen, food had been decanted into plastic containers but without the original labelling transferred over. Individual frozen portions of fish were also no labelled in the freezer.
In the cellar, CO2 cylinders – some empty and some full – were stood up and not secured. The prosecution said that if any connected cylinder were to fall over and become disconnected, it could cause a leak and a build-up of gas in the cellar.
Capri was fined £13,500 at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court on September 28. This included a 25% reduction for the guilty plea.
It was also ordered to pay costs of £5,854 and a victim surcharge of £5,854.
Road alterations near Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone is set to take place in four phases, with the first aiming to start next year.
Enterprise zone bosses and the architects behind the scheme say that a planning application to modify the carriageway on Common Edge Road is due to be submitted, which, if granted, will allow for the creation of a new gateway entrance to the huge 144 hectare site, on its eastern side.
Road work on Amy Johnson Way near the recently completed Multi-ply manufacturing building, will allow for unused areas of scrub land to be opened up for new industrial buildings, which would also be served by the new entrance to the site off Common Edge Road.
Lawrence McBurney from architects Cassidy and Ashton, speaking at a drop-in event for members of the public and businesses to see the latest plans for the site, said that interest from businesses to move to the enterprise zone was high and there was demand for large industrial units which could bring new jobs to the area.
Architect Lawrence McBurney with resident Ann Wragg discuss the plans for the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone at a drop-in day for the public
He said: “The outline planning application for the highways plans will be submitted shortly. The work on Amy Johnson way is scheduled next, then Common Edge Road if permission is granted, then the new link road into the site.
“This will open up the enterprise zone for new development. We have had lots of interest from businesses looking to relocate here. They want some large buildings – 100,000 sq ft and 40,000 sq ft which could then be built on the eastern part of the site.
“I live locally in St Annes and it is great to see this project developing.”
He added that the the new sports pavilion and changing facilities now under construction near the new football pitches should be completed in Spring next year and then a new all weather 3G pitch and a rugby pitch would be next in line for the sports village at the eastern end of the site.
A map showing the latest plans for the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone. Common Edge Road can be seen running down the right hand side
The drop-in event held at AFC Blackpool’s football ground attracted a steady stream of visitors to look at the latest plans and schedule of work and was the first face-to-face consultation held with the public since the pandemic struck.
One of the residents who lives close to the eastern part of the site off Common Edge Road, Ann Wragg, said she was pleased the council and bosses behind the enterprise zone project had put on the drop-in event.
She said: “It’s good to see lots of people interested and this is going to keep everyone up to date on the latest changes to the plans. I think the changes they are planning to make now on Common Edge Road are needed.
“This road has become busier and busier in recent years, particularly with HGVs. I hope the link road through the site might reduce that traffic near the houses.”
People examine the latest ideas at the drop-in day for the development of Blackpool’s enterprise zone
Blackpool retail stalwarts, Janet and Gordon Cox, have been awarded a lifetime achievement award, after almost 30 years’ running Cash Converters stores.
Husband and wife team Janet and Gordon were chosen from more than 50 Cash Converters franchisee holders, at its annual national award ceremony held at Mottram Hall in Cheshire.
The pair won for their commitment to the second-hand retailer, which is looking to grow its number of UK stores against a backdrop of other retailers opting to close or consolidate their retail footprint after Covid.
After 30 years at the helm, Janet and Gordon are now set to enjoy retirement, with the 28-strong franchise operation, including the Blackpool stores in Church Street and Waterloo Road, being taken on by son Ben.
Janet and Gordon Cox
Gordon said: “We’re delighted to be recognised for our long-standing commitment to the town, but also very privileged to have been part of Blackpool’s retail community and served hundreds of thousands of its residents.
“I know I speak for Janet and Ben when I say that our teams in our Blackpool Cash Converters stores are an absolute credit to us, to the company and to the customers they serve, and we’d like to share this recognition with them.
“Our stores and Cash Converters more broadly are all about people and relationships, and we’re lucky to have built some very special relationships with many people during the last 30 years.”
Ben said: “Cash Converters has been a part of our lives for as long as I can remember. Even at the dinner table when mum and dad were starting out as franchisees, we’d talk about the business, how we could improve things, and how we could help more people.
“Their achievements in business and as city retailers is an inspiration, and I’m looking forward to now helping to bring new ideas and innovation to our stores, as well as continue to grow the network even further.”
“It’s all one big excuse for me to play with dogs.”
Operating from what is known as its “shedquarters” down the road from the beach on the Fylde Coast is a dogs treat company with a bit of a bite.
‘Basic Bxtch’ provides naughty treats for good dogs with an adult-theme.
Products include the ‘bxllock lolly’ for dogs – which is airdried beef testicles “shoved on a stick”, ‘send nudes’ which is air dried beef head skin and ‘deep throat’ which air dried cut beef trachea.
That’s not forgetting ‘Muff Munchies’ which is rabbit/lamb skin/hair mix that comes in a retro X-rated movie VHS case.
The quirky company is owned by Kelly Robinson who lives in Cleveleys by the beach with her partner and 12 year old stepdaughter.
She also has two cats, tortoise and a pugalier called Honey.
She told LancsLive: “Inspired by the lockdown we decided to turn sustainably sourced air dried animal bits into novelty raw dog treats with a tongue-in-cheek ‘adult’ theme.
“Around Christmas last year, I was kicking off that someone on Facebook Marketplace was shoving pieces of Terry’s Chocolate Orange onto lollypop sticks and charging £2 a go.
“A friend that I had met through the HundHaus/Anchorsholme Park walks, worked for a raw treat supplier, and a friend I had met through the BasicBxtch group also produces dog treats.
“After having a gab with them and making sure that I wasn’t being a crank and stepping on anyone’s toes, I became self-employed in April of this year.
“I’m now elbow-deep in air dried beef testicles at our ShedQuarters, selling our infamous B*llock Lolly along with a few other naughty treats.”
In summer 2020, local park, Anchorsholme Park, was about to reopen after years of being rebuilt.
Kelly spotted a message by the local councillor Paul Galley asking for volunteers to coordinate dog walks and activities at the park – so she put her name down, and started up daily dog walks down at the park.
This became the HundHaus/Anchorsholme Park group and it managed to get sponsored by Webbox which sent treats for the dogs and enabled them to have a small Christmas event.
Kelly said: “It got a little regular community going there, and now, just this week, we’ve started to add evening walks along the prom – with the idea that a few aren’t keen to walk their dogs alone in the dark.
“It’s all one big excuse for me to play with dogs.”
‘Basic Bxtch’ is also a Facebook group which was set up in spring/ summer of 2020.
It was designed to be the home of dog sharing, people swearing, meet ups, chat, giveaways and the weekly Sh*tty Prize Challenge. for those who love dogs.
Kelly added: “This groups is where it would be ok to slag your dog off if it had peed all over the couch, you get them chicken nuggets from Maccies or dress them in pyjamas and treat them as if they were your first born child.”
“From this, we’ve had meet ups, although very limited due to covid restrictions, but now things are settling down a bit, looking to head out with the gang for shopping, cocktails and parties with the gang.”
To find out more about Basic Bxtch Treats, please visit the website here and the Facebook group here.
To find out more about the Hund Haus Facebook group, please visit here.
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