77 new jobs if Baffito's eyesore is bulldozed for care home and apartments

A notorious blot on the landscape at Preston Docks could soon be bulldozed if councillors give the nod next week.

Thursday, 31st December 2020, 3:45 pm
What was left of Baffito's after a fire at the start of December.

The former Baffito's Restaurant Bar, which has been a derelict eyesore for more than a year, looks set to be flattened and replaced by a care home and supported living apartments - providing up to 77 new jobs.

Plans to demolish the burnt out building and redevelop the site go before the city's planning committee on Thursday, with officers recommending approval, subject to a raft of conditions.

Care provider Glenholme Wrightcare want to build a 64-bed home for dementia patients and a second block of 16 flats for adults with learning difficulties.

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The roof of the building was destroyed in the blaze.

If granted, the scheme would finally rid the docks complex of a property which in the past 15 months has attracted vandals, a traveller encampment and is now a charred shell after a suspicious fire last month.

Italian restaurant Baffito's closed its doors in September 2019. The building had previously been the Waterfront pub which shut down in 2009.

Repeated acts of anti-social behaviour prompted residents nearby to call on the council to take action.

One city councillor described the site as "a grim eyesore." Lib-Dem Coun John Potter, who regularly walks his dog in the area, said: "It's a shame to see it like that because it is such a great location."

The local authority decided to sell the freehold of the site to Glenholme Wrightcare in October for an undisclosed sum, opening the way for the care home project to be submitted.

A report by a planning officer will go before the committee next week recommending the scheme should be approved.

It reveals that the 64-bed care home would be up to three storeys high with rooms looking out onto the dock basin and marina, with south-facing balconies, patios and gardens for residents.

"In addition to en-suite bedrooms the care home would provide a wellness suite and lounge, quiet rooms, cafes, a hairdresser's, a shop and a reception area."

The two/three storey block of apartments would accommodate 16 supported living units parallel to Navigation Way. There would be a landscaped garden area between the two blocks.

There would also be an activity room for residents and a roof terrace for communal space. Like the care home, the apartment block would be staffed round the clock.

Two letters of objection have been received by the council, citing parking and appearance reasons.

But the application says the project would provide 77 new full-time jobs - between 55 and 60 more than the restaurant when it was open.

The building has been empty for 15 months and the report says there has been "very limited market interest in leasing the site to re-open as food/drink or leisure."