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Pier bar looks safe as enforcement action dropped

Wednesday, 10 July 2024 12:22

By Shelagh Parkinson

A popular seafront bar looks to have fought off a bid by the council to close it down after town hall planners dropped enforcement action against it.

The Terrace Bar next to Central Pier had faced being shut down after losing a long drawn out planning battle with Blackpool Council.

But following a two-day public inquiry in front of an independent planning inspector, an enforcement notice has been withdrawn.

Now the Blackpool Piers Company has applied for a certificate of lawful development, which if approved by the council will bring an end to the three-year fight to keep the bar open.

The pier operators have always argued the land the Terrace Bar sits on should be treated as a single planning entity alongside the main pier structure which has approval for a range of uses including bars, arcades, stalls and rides.

Documents submitted with the application say: “Central Pier is a popular and historic tourist destination in Blackpool. It occupies an important part of the
seafront and play an essential role in the tourism industry that is the heartbeat of this town.”

It adds the withdrawal of the enforcement notice shows the bar “is immune from enforcement, and the use of that operational development as a bar (the Terrace Bar) does not constitute a material change of use requiring planning permission”.

A decision will now be made by the council but if a certificate of lawfulness is granted, it will secure the future of the Terrace Bar.

The venue began life as a pop-up bar in August 2017 with further seating and decking added in 2018, and then a canopy in 2019.

When it came to light that formal planning permission was not in place, an application was made in April 2021 and refused by the council’s Planning Committee in October 2022.

An appeal was lodged and thrown out in June 2023 which led to the subsequent enforcement notice being issued by the council, which was withdrawn following the public inquiry.

The bar has remained open throughout the protracted planning battle, with the Blackpool Pier Company saying it provides essential revenue which goes towards the maintenance of the Victorian structures.

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