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Blackpool's mini-Burj scheme slammed by CABE

Gensler's plans to build a tower in Blackpool based on the Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai have been panned by CABE.

The proposed project, with the Lancashire seaside town's regeneration company ReBlackpool, was dealt a significant blow by the damning CABE design review.

Dubbed the mini-Burj, due to its similarity to Atkins' Dubai scheme, the project is Blackpool's only hope of winning the first licence for a regional casino and adding much-needed tourism to the ailing resort ( Mini-Burj planned for Blackpool).

However, CABE's comments will seriously damage any hopes of securing the deal, as the region goes head to head with London's Millennium Dome and other sites around the country for the casino contracts.

Although the report said the chosen site was suitable, it stated that the proposed scheme gives 'an impression of the conference and casino as an island site, in character and in accessibility'.

Gensler claimed its scheme would, 'create a memorable and commercially successful development that will change people's perception of Britain's most famous seaside resort, giving the UK market a compelling new reason to visit Blackpool.'

And although CABE 'agreed in principle' and 'appreciated the client's requirements for an otherworldly place,' it said it felt the proposals were not an 'appropriate vision for a seaside resort town'.

The statement added, 'We are not convinced from the information provided that the proposed hotel tower will be a positive addition to the skyline of Blackpool or an appropriate marker for an extraordinary development; the design of this tower lacks the magical quality that is at the heart of the brief.'

by Richard Vaughan

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