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Festival Park bingo hall plans being reconsidered

A £6.8m new bingo hall for Blackpool could be back on the cards after developers appealed a decision to reject the scheme.

An application to demolish the Swift Hound pub and redevelop the Odeon Cinema site on the Festival Retail Park on Rigby Road was thrown out in July last year.

An independent planning inspector will now re-examine the application.

Blackpool Council’s planning committee turned down the development amid fears it would trigger traffic problems in the area and customers would park on the surrounding residential streets including the £50m Foxhall Village.

The applicant had applied to demolish the Swift Hound pub on the Festival Retail Park and replace it with a Club 3000 bingo complex and a drive-through restaurant.

This would have led to the loss of more than 100 spaces on the existing site as the scale of the development meant the bingo club would cover a site six times as big as the present pub.

The application had been recommended for approval after previously being recommended for refusal and then deferred.
Town hall planners had initially said they would prefer a town centre location for the scheme, but they later accepted the applicant had satisfied the sequential test proving there were no other suitable sites.

The scheme would have created a total of 55 full-time jobs, while the number of car parking spaces at the site would have been cut from 604 to 453 – though 45 new cycle spots, 18 new motorbike spaces, and an extra 21 disabled parking spaces were planned.

Greene King, which runs the Swift Hound under its Flaming Grills banner, had warned the pub is underperforming and may close although it is still open.

Other sites considered for the bingo hall but deemed unsuitable were the former postal delivery office in Abingdon Street in the town centre, the old BHS store in Church Street, and offices in Bickerstaffe Square.

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