Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Blackpool Airport, a Gold Mine?

It is sad to read that Blackpool Airport may be closing if no buyer is found. I have worked within a stone's throw of the airport and I have met many people who used it. It is twenty years since I worked there but I think I was told that parking was free. This would have been a big bonus to flying from Blackpool but the main benefit to those who use it is that it saves them a drive to Manchester, Liverpool, or further afield.

It is a lovely location by the Irish Sea and between Blackpool and Lytham St Annes and with those two towns either side there must be a good chance that developers could move in and build houses. We need houses and there can be few complaints as there is a good road in and out. It has to be a good road as it caters for the holiday traffic. In my humble opinion this large site is ripe for development.

So who owns the airport? I was a little surprised to find that 95% of it was owned by Balfour Beatty and the other 5% by Blackpool Council. This is great news. Balfour Beatty, only need the council's permission and they are sitting on a gold mine. The council is also likely to pass the land for building because of all the extra revenue when the houses are built, and of course they have a vested interest in the 5% stake. That's lucky for both the owners.

It's also nice to read that  Blackpool council and Balfour Beatty have had a good working relationship over the past 14 years. Wait a minute. Isn't the council supposed to have no bias when it comes to planning? Are we less likely to hear any concerns about any future development in which the council has a vested interest?

When I was working in Blackpool there were houses on East Park Drive near Stanley Park which were not fit to live in. These houses were new. I seem to remember the council and the builders were strongly criticised and I also vaguely remember an out-of-court settlement. Does anyone remember these houses as I have spent twenty minutes searching and can't find a thing? I remember that it did make Look North West and the Sunday Politics but it could well have been in the days before everything was written into the internet.

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