Pier approval double challenge

A huge crowd staged a silent protest against plans to build flat on the former Fleetwod Pier site.
A huge crowd staged a silent protest against plans to build flat on the former Fleetwod Pier site.

A fighting fund of £10,000 has been made available by Fleetwood Town Council to challenge Wyre planners’ controversial decision to approve flats on the town’s pier site.

The town council will use the funds to pay for legal advice to gauge whether the council can mount a judicial review into Wyre’s handling of the application by Simmo Developments to build 15 apartments on the seafront site.

And in a separate move, Fleetwood’s MP Cat Smith has “called in” the planning decision by Wyre, meaning a senior Government minister will have to consider the matter in detail.

The application by Simmo was strongly opposed in Fleetwood, with many residents saying the large, modern building would spoil the town’s much loved seafront.

Wyre received more than 1,000 objection notices, while during the site visit by planners there was a placard-waving silent protest.

However, the leader of Wyre Council, Councillor Peter Gibson, says there are no legitimate grounds to challenge the decision to approve the flats because there was nothing wrong with the process involved.

Ms Smith, the Labour MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, said; “There were a number of issues with the way Wyre Council dealt with the application and I have written to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, requesting that it be called in.”

The MP told the minister the issue was suitable for him to consider because it had wider implications than simply a local issue, as it would be the first private dwelling allowed on the seafront side of the Fylde coast. She also cited visual amenity, flooding risk, the effect on the local conservation area, loss of privacy and the wording of the Fleetwood Masterplan.

Coun Emma Anderton, of Fleetwood Town Council, spoke of the council’s own plans: “The council has agreed to set aside an initial £10,000 to seek legal advice from an appropriate solicitor to look at what channels are available to us, including the possibility of a judicial review.”

But Coun Gibson said: “There is no such thing as precedence in planning law - just because one application on the seafront is granted, it doesn’t mean another will be.

“They can go to the minister and even seek a judicial review but the process involved in determining that application was perfectly legitimate.”