Anger at planners move on pier scheme

Objectors to the Fleetwood Pier flat plans celebrate after the original scheme was rejected in January.
Objectors to the Fleetwood Pier flat plans celebrate after the original scheme was rejected in January.

A leading Fleetwood councillor has slammed a planning move which she says tips the balance unfairly towards the controversial flats scheme earmarked for the town’s former pier site.

As objections to plans by Simmo Developments to build 15 flats for the over 55s on the site reached more than 1,000, Coun Lorraine Beavers cried foul.

The scheme was rejected by planners in January but a very similar version was re-submitted within weeks.

Coun Beavers, who is also the recently-appointed leader of Wyre’s Labour group, said: “Two of the Tory councillors on the committee who voted against the plans and helped get them rejected, Lynn Walmsley and Sue Catterall, have now been removed from the planning committee.

“This seems to me to be a clear strategy to help get these plans passed, because Wyre Council would rather have Simmo leasing the site.

“This scheme is virtually unchanged from the one which planners rejected in January - it should not have been allowed to be submitted again.

“This is not just about one building - it about the need to protect Fleetwood’s precious seafront and discourage others from trying to build on it.”

But Coun Peter Gibson, leader of Wyre Council, hit back and said: “Committees change every year, and always have done.

“There is no great conspiracy about it and I think it’s good that committees change because it gives councillors a wider range of experiences.

“These two councillors wanted to move onto other things and they are not even the only ones going. How planning issues are voted on is not “good” or “bad” for Wyre Council - there is no Conservative whip and everyone is free to vote how they want to, as was shown in January.”