Historic buildings in Blackpool could get added protection from the threat of demolition if councillors agree new measures.

Currently locally listed buildings in the resort can be bulldozed without permission from the council if they are not in a conservation area.

Heritage chiefs are seeking tougher rules which would mean consent from the planning department would be required in future.

Members of the executive are being recommended to approve an Article 4 direction when they meet on Monday (December 7), in response to a recent wave of demolitions or proposed demolitions of locally listed buildings.

While some properties have had to be torn down for safety reasons – such as The George Pub on Central Drive, it is feared without intervention the town could lose historically important sites.

The Empire Bingo Hall on Hawes Side Lane is among locally listed buildings currently earmarked for demolition.

A report to the executive warns of “the uncontrollable loss of more locally listed buildings as is being evidenced by current applications to demolish three locally listed buildings outside conservation areas.

“Locally listed buildings are at the heart of communities and are cherished parts of the streetscene.”

It adds: “It has become clear that locally listed buildings outside conservation areas are vulnerable to demolition because they fall outside the scope of planning legislation to protect them.”

There are 179 locally listed buildings outside conservation areas which would get the added protection.

It does not mean demolition would always be refused, but would give the council more control over saving buildings where possible, and ensuring community assets which are lost are replaced with high quality developments.

It is also proposed to include measures to control external painting of locally listed buildings in order to prevent “irreversible harm” to their character.

The report warns pubs in the resort “are particularly vulnerable to commercial pressure and rebranding exercises.”

If the executive approves the recommendation, there will be a public consultation exercise. It would then be another 12 months before the Article 4 direction could come into force if the council approved it.

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