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Planning inspector trashes developer’s proposal

Lytham's Victoria Hotel has historic and community value which 'outweighs presumption in favour of sustainable development'

The Victoria Hotel in Lytham St Annes has been saved - at least for now. A 31-page decision from the Planning Inspectorate threw out the developer's case. 

This historic Edwardian building was under threat from developer McCarthy and Stone, who planned to knock it down and build retirement homes on the site. The Victorian Society objected to its demolition. ‘It would be enormously wasteful to knock down this high quality, well-loved and adaptable hotel, ' said Chris Costelloe, Conservation Adviser for the Society. The Victorian Society wrote to Fylde Council urging it to take steps to ensure the protection and reuse of the building. 

The council then refused planning permission for the demolition.

Developer McCarthy and Stone appealed to the Planning Inspectorate to overturn this refusal. Inspector Elizabeth Ord heard evidence from both sides. Her judgement was damning.

On the need for the planned retirement home: 'the Appellant has not demonstrated the extent of the need for elderly housing. Nor has it shown that any such need is not being met in a way other than by providing the type of sheltered, retirement accommodation proposed.'

On the proposed new building: 'its undistinguished, modern appearance lacking the patina of age, would contribute relatively little to the distinctive character of this area when compared to the vernacular sytle of the 19th century Victoria Hotel.'

On the residents' plan to run the pub: 'Although the Victoria Hotel may no longer be attractive to its present owner, it has not been satisfactorily demonstrated that the Victoria could not be disposed of as a profitable going concern. Consequently, I am not convinced that it would be unviable to continue operating the Victoria as a public house.'

Read the 31-page judgement here.

It's taken a long fight by dedicated campaigners, who hope to buy the Victoria and run it as a community facililty. However, this isn't the end of the story. The developer may launch a further appeal and the campaigners need to generate the cash required to buy the pub from its current owners. Watch this space.

Thursday 21 June, 2012

More recent item: Hospital demolition plan 'flawed and unfair'
Earlier item: Demolition affront to conservation area

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