The Borough where time stands still? (

23rd September 2015

Photo: Amusement Arcade, Lord Street

Sefton Council have been notified that Brittannia Ltd have lodged appeals against the decision to not grant them Planning Permission and Listed Building Consent to have their Amusement Arcade operating in the Scarisbrick Hotel on Lord Street. There is as yet no timetable published by the Planning Inspectorate for the Appeal process but they have declared the appeal documents which they have received to be ‘in order’..

Councillor Tony Dawson, who first drew the council’s attention to the unapproved operation of this Arcade in early 2014 says:

“We shall shortly be arriving at the second anniversary of the opening of this enterprise without planning permission. It seems to me to be very likely that the business will still be running when they blow out the two candles on their cake.”

“Whatever you think of this arcade, if people are allowed to thumb their noses at official legal enforcement processes for years as has happened here, a sizable number of members of the public will say to themselves: “They didn’t bother, and got away with it. So, why should we?”

“Sefton appears to be the Borough where time stands still.”

Councillor in Arcade battle with ‘Brittania’

Wednesday night in Bootle seems set to see a bruising battle between Britannia hotels and a Southport councillor who is fighting for the preservation of the Lord Street Conservation area.

Britannia Hotels have been operating an amusement arcade without permission in the former tobacconists shop in the front of the Scarisbrick Hotel for the past seventeen months. Sefton Council had finally given up on trying to make the hoteliers see sense on this issue through negotiations and local Lib Dem councillor, who represents the town centre area of Southport, has insisted that the matter gets a thorough airing at the full planning committee.

“We either have rules, or we don’t,” says Cllr Dawson. “There is a mood abroad in this town that, if you have enough brass neck, you can do what you like.” He points to the occupation by UKIP of a tree on the Lord Street pavement for months before the General Election, as a base for their political displays, as another example.

“I want to see agreed performance standards for planning enforcement maintained, particularly in conservation areas. The Council has properly-designated other streets in Southport where we feel amusement arcades are acceptable. There is no excuse for such massive delays before action is taken.”

“Britannia have brought a ‘tackiness’ to Lord Street which is most unfortunate. The town’s traders are fighting a battle to improve the street scene and do not need this. Britannia’sr scruffy plastic signs outside the Prince of Wales are typical of the decline  in amenity which is continuing since they have taken over what were once the town’s premier hotels.”

” Sadly, there appears to be little we can do, in planning terms, with regard to the bar windows at the front of the Scarisbrick Hotel, which  many feel are totally ‘out of keeping’, but I trust that the amusement arcade will soon be used for something more suitable.”

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