29th May 2008
Councillors in Blackpool have launched a bid to overturn a 150-year-old covenant which could see a major new events and conferencing centre prohibited from serving alcohol.
With the government having recently performed a U-turn on its Gambling Act ambitions, council chiefs in the Lancastrian seaside town plan to use the land previously earmarked for a supercasino to build a state-of-the-art conferencing centre. However, they are concerned that the ban imposed by one of the resort's founders could ultimately serve to put off potential clients and are now seeking an exemption.
The site in question was sold by the farmer John Bonny to developers on the condition that the land should not be used for the business of a "Brewer, Distiller, Alehouse Keeper or Beer Seller or any other noisome trade or business whatsoever". Given that the site has since been home to a railway station and then Europe's biggest car park, this stipulation has not been an issue up until this point. A spokeswoman for Blackpool Council said: "We first issued a notice trying to repeal the ruling early last year and we received no objections. "The Land Tribunal has asked us to run the application again and name every person who signed the covenant so we give their descendants a fair chance to come forward. "This site was the area selected for the casino if the bid was successful but the council could foresee no problems in getting this ban lifted."