Eleventh hour bid to save Pier Field as ‘community asset’

Pier Field, Skegness.
Pier Field, Skegness.

Campaigners have made a last minute bid to save Pier Field in Skegness from development.

East Lindsey District Council had on Tuesday been due to consider whether to sell off Pier Field, which could be the location for a Premier Inn hotel.

However, the proposal has been put on hold after a request came in at 5pm on the Monday from the Save the Foreshore Group for the land to be registered as a ‘community asset’. The district council now has up to eight weeks to consideration the application.

Supporters of the group hope they will now have more time to put together a bid to buy the land to save it from development.

Co-chairman of the group Russell Sparkes, who owns the Grosvenor House Hotel on Skegness Seafront, said: “There should have been more consultation with residents and the town council. Hopefully they will decide this is an asset for the community.”

The council launched a public consultation on the possible sale of the land last month.

The documents which were due to go before the Executive Board recommended that councillors agree the sale of the site, subject to planning approval. The plans show an 80-bed hotel, drive-through restaurant and approximately 158 car parking spaces.

The proposal is to sell the site to KCS Development Ltd, which would then sell on to Premier Inn Hotels Ltd and Erindale Ltd.

The document states: “The proposed Premier Inn will see the construction of an 80-bed bedroom hotel with reception and family restaurant/bar on the ground-floor and bedrooms over a further four floors. On site car parking will also be provided.

“The remainder of the site will be purchased from KCS by Erindale Ltd for the development of a single-storey KFC restaurant and associated car parking.”

The document also notes that the main risk associated with the proposed sale ‘is the fact that the sale is conditional on a number of factors, the main one being an acceptable planning approval’.

“If planning approval was not obtained then the sale would not be completed and Skegness would miss out on this important inward investment opportunity,” it adds.

The report notes the proposal would create ‘a significant number of all year round jobs and raise the profile and appeal’ of the resort.

It adds consideration has been given to the consequences of losing parking at Pier Field, stating that members could replace some of the lost spaces at South Parade.

The document also states that over the years developers had considered a number of other council-owned sites, including Festival Pavilion, Tower Esplanade, Former Kiddies Corner and Grazy Golf site on South Parade, car park at North End (adjoining Xcite) and Town Hall, on North Parade.

With regards to the purchase value of the site, the reports states to ensure the negotiated price represents ‘best consideration’ an independent valuation was commissioned. The sale price remains confidential.

Three petitions have been received against the proposals - amounting to 1,564 signatures - with 319 of those being residents of East Lindsey.

The document also sates it is unlikely any sale would be completed until after the 2015 summer season due to the requirement to obtain a satisfactory planning approval.