Town stands divided as Urban Splash boss reignites prom debate

Taken from the website of architects Flacq, this is an artist's impression of how part of the planned development might look east of the Midland Hotel.
Taken from the website of architects Flacq, this is an artist's impression of how part of the planned development might look east of the Midland Hotel.
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A MORECAMBE estate agent says there would be a huge demand for high-rise luxury flats next to the Midland Hotel.

David Robinson, of Cumbrian Properties, defended plans to build apartments on the seafront after Tom Bloxham, chairman of developers Urban Splash, said he would walk away from Morecambe if the public did not support his scheme.

Those opposed to Urban Splash’s plans – which also include shops, cafes and a leisure attraction – believe high density flats would block views across the promenade and could become a “white elephant”.

But Mr Robinson said: “The term ‘flats’ is misleading. These are very much continental and to my mind you would be talking about quality apartments.

“There’s a strong market for that, particularly in waterfront areas.

“Someone with a £500,000 house in Hest Bank would look at a £250,000 apartment on one of the best sites in the country as very attractive.

“I’m not saying developers are going to rush to Morecambe but this would be a particularly classy development.

“There are certain parts of every town which are special. For example, there is currently a waiting list for the quality apartments for the over 55s being built at the former Elms Hotel.

“Sometimes you just have to take a chance. I remember the Super Swimming Stadium and Bubbles, and I wouldn’t want just anything on that prom that wasn’t sustainable.”

In a radio interview, Mr Bloxham said: “I believe that Urban Splash have a great vision for Morecambe. Many people were sceptical that we wouldn’t deliver the Midland Hotel and I think we’ve done something that everyone in Morecambe can be proud of.

“We want to do more work here. Having said that, if the consensus is (the public) don’t want Urban Splash here, so be it. I only want to work in towns and cities which want us to be there and there are lots of other towns and cities, apart from Morecambe, that are in need of regeneration and in desperate need of treatment by somebody like Urban Splash.”

See The Visitor (04-10-11) for full story.