Neighbours attack plan for apartments at pier site

An artists impression of the apartments for the pier site proposed by Simmo Developments
An artists impression of the apartments for the pier site proposed by Simmo Developments

Residents objecting to a scheme to build apartments on the site of Fleetwood’s pier have branded the plans an “eyesore”.

Developers say Fleetwood seafront will be improved by the building of the 15 modern apartments.

Mike Simmons

Mike Simmons

Simmo Developments have lodged plans for the £3.5m three-storey scheme with Wyre Council planners.

The firm, headed by businessman Mike Simmons, says the scheme will create vital jobs in the town and “enhance the character and appearance of the area.”

The comments are made in the group’s supporting statement for their planning application.

With its ultra-modern designs featuring curved glass, Simmo says the apartments will lift what is now a “neglected part of town”. 
The apartments, aimed at the over-55s, will also “help meet the growing need for such accommodation in Wyre reflected in the borough’s Local Plan”.

It is not in keeping with the area, this space should be only for the Pier that “burnt” down and should have been replaced like for like. It will be an eyesore on the seafront

But although the scheme is admired by some, many others are raising concerns and say it will be an “eyesore” because of its location on the site of the old Fleetwood Pier.

Karen Thomas, of Preston Street, is listed on the application as one of 15 neighbour respondents against the plan.

She stated: “It is not in keeping with the area, this space should be only for the Pier that “burnt” down and should have been replaced like for like. It will be an eyesore on the seafront.”

And Paul Smith, of North Church Street, stated in his objection: “A hotel on that site would be an eyesore and 
certainly not in keeping with this area.”

Simmo Developments received planning permission by Wyre Council to build an 18-bed hotel on the pier site back in June 2013.

Instead, the project being proposed is for the sea-view apartments for the over-55 age group, comprising underground parking for 17 vehicles and opportunities for retail space - and the construction of a new pier to allow for a bigger building.

Simmo also states in its support document: “It is accepted the proposed development will lead to a building on what has been a cleared site for some time.

“However, this cannot be a reason for withholding planning permission as there is already a planning permission for a building of similar scale to the one proposed.”

A public consultation event was held at the North Euston Hotel in March.

However, many residents said the public consultation came at short notice and did not appear to be well advertised. It is the latest saga which comes after Mr Simmons, aka North Pier funnyman Joey Blower, acquired the Fleetwood pier building for £500,000 in 2007.

When the pier burnt down in September 2008, it left the site unoccupied once the debris had been cleared.

Planning consultants McAteer Associates are acting on behalf of Simmo Developments and director Tony McAteer, said that although planning permission was given for the hotel and retail development, it was not easy to get another party to take the hotel plans on.

He said: “So it was decided to look again at a way to bring a prominent site into use instead of it being a wasted resource, and this is a very attractive prospect for Fleetwood.”

There are several design options put forward by the architects.

The option favoured by Simmo is a V-shaped building, with sleek curved edges, which would allow all the flats to have a sea view.

Simmo also states that there is a very low flood risk for the development.