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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Demolition Derby

News of the Council's decision to purchase the concrete bunker on Talbot Road which houses a car park, a Wilko store and (another) charity outlet - is good news. Even more inspirational is the expectation that the entire structure is to be demolished entirely - thus relieving this important visitor entry point from North Station of an architectural blight. Replacing it will be a far better structural design that hopefully complements the striking Council Car Park and the neighbouring Council offices and Sainsbury store. The site will also provide space for a modern tram station and terminus which hopefully has far more improved passenger shelters than the abysmal cheapjack installations which came as part of the light rail upgrade scheme along the eleven mile route in 2011. Thankfully the Council is ensuring an improved product will replace them all in the near future.

Not only is the Wilkinson's site to be consigned to history but the remaining three Council tower blocks in Layton will literally bite the dust next month with the press of a demolition button. Noteworthy at the time of their construction, like many other similar high rise urban apartments for council planners in the 1960s - they fell into disrepair and social problems not long after completion. A low rise 'village' development is replacing them hopefully with more considerate tenants and security features to deter criminal elements. Above : The tower flats - long unnocupied loom over the very well designed town house/apartment scheme which is replacing the former Queenstown site.

Lancashire's police have already decided to vacate the soviet style structure that has been their Blackpool headquarters since the same period (Below). The Magistrates and County Courts will soon follow - hopefully with similar demolition contractors making short work of these equally apalling buildings which did nothing for the town's image even when they opened for business. Wrong design, wrong use, wrong location and wrong timing - all negative boxes being ticked in one swoop.

There are of course plenty of other reprehensible structures around the town centre which are equally in need of a bulldozer, Unfortunately most are in private ownership and requiring compulsory purchase from a Council whose finances are already stretched beyond the limit. An ordnance requiring owners (and users) of retail and leisure operated properties to maintain in good repair and condition the upper levels of the buildings they occupy would do wonders for the town's central districts and especially the promenade from the Sands Nightclub going south. It is quite reprehensible for prime sites to suffer from neglect by their owners or landlords without some penalties being attached.

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