Plans for Preston's Baffito's restaurant site partially delayed

A planned residential development to replace the vandal-hit former Baffito’s restaurant at Preston Docks will now be delivered in two phases – after one part of the project was delayed.

Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 6:22 pm
Updated Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 6:50 pm

Planning permission was granted back in January for a 64-bedroom care home and a block of 16 supported living apartments to be built on the site of the defunct eatery on Navigation Way.

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19 pictures that show the fire and aftermath of last night's Baffito's blaze at ...

However, applicant Glenholme Wrightcare is now seeking approval to erect the care home first and temporarily grass over the part of the plot where the flats will eventually be constructed. The move has been made because an operator for the care facility has been confirmed, while one is yet to be found for the apartments, which will provide accommodation for adults with learning disabilities.

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The former Baffito's restaurant at Preston Docks, pictured hours after a second blaze at the site in April 2021

Preston City Council’s planning committee will consider the request to vary the necessary conditions at a meeting next Thursday (10th June).

It comes just over a month after the Baffito’s building was badly damaged by the second suspected arson attack in five months, which councillors will hear has left the boarded-up venue no longer safe to enter.

The most recent blaze broke out during the early evening of 29th April, following on from another fire in the early hours of 1st December last year, which had seen firefighters at the marina-side site for most of the night.

The building had become a target for vandals within weeks of the Italian-themed restaurant’s closure in October 2019 – after just over six years of trading – with its windows being smashed and furniture strewn around.

City council planning officers will recommend that planning committee members delegate approval of the revised scheme to the authority’s director of development following a consultation period and subject to conditions. These include a requirement for work to begin no later than January 2024 and for existing accesses to be permanently closed off.

The planned care home will be a part two and part three-storey building, while the apartments will be a full three-story block. Car parking and electric charging points will also be provided.

A report to be presented to the committee states that “the reasons for phasing the development are understandable and will enable the care home to be provided on site whilst discussions are ongoing with regard to the supporting living apartments”.

The applicant has also sought a change to a condition requiring flood resistance and resilience measures to a level which is more than a metre above the finished floors, which it is claimed will create “difficulties to equip and use the building as a care home”. A response is awaited from Lancashire County Council as the lead local flood authority over whether the proposed amendment is acceptable.