New homes for neglected corner of Morecambe

How the new development will look.
How the new development will look.

Empty Victorian guest houses in Morecambe’s West End are to be transformed into new homes in a £5.5m scheme.

Developer PlaceFirst has secured planning permission to create 51 apartments and houses in Chatsworth Gardens in the resort.

Chatsworth Gardens as it looks now.

Chatsworth Gardens as it looks now.

PlaceFirst’s proposals won unanimous support from the planning committee of Lancaster City Council following a recommendation that permission be granted by council planning officers.

The 28 empty Victorian properties had formerly been used as guest houses and were the subject of a failed regeneration scheme that was approved in 2008 and involved demolition of the homes, but which was abandoned in 2010.

PlaceFirst will refurbish and remodel the terraced properties to create 51 new homes across two, three and four-bed apartments and houses.

One of the innovative features of the design proposals is the demolition of ugly rear extensions and small, unattractive back yards to create a spacious and attractive residents garden.

This approach will see the preservation of the Victorian terrace at the front of the properties whilst at the same time will open up the rears to create a contemporary, forward looking communal garden.

The new homes are being built for the private rental market and will be managed by a housing association on behalf of PlaceFirst.

In addition to generous space standards, all of the homes will benefit from improved thermal performance, in most cases reducing household running costs by as much as 50 per cent.

Construction work is due to begin in May and the first homes should be available from June 2015.

Coun Janice Hanson, cabinet member with responsibility for economic regeneration, said: “Lancaster City Council is delighted that this project has taken a positive step forward and secured planning permission.

“The project has faced significant challenges and the council has worked hard to procure a developer to deliver a scheme which will make such a positive contribution to the West End.”

David Smith-Milne, founder and managing director of PlaceFirst, said: “These large, handsome properties present a unique opportunity to reinvent the Victorian guesthouse and breathe new life into the West End of Morecambe.

“We want to preserve everything that’s good about the large Victorian properties, whilst at the same time bring them into the 21st Century through thoughtful internal remodelling and opening up the rear to create a unique residents garden.

“The West End of Morecambe is characterised by handsome Victorian terraced properties, and our investment at Chatsworth Gardens will demonstrate how these properties can be remodelled to offer spacious, attractive family homes.

“The location is great with a choice of shops and cafes on the doorstep, and the awarding-winning promenade and beach is just a short walk away.”

This scheme represents phase one of a two-part scheme in which PlaceFirst aims to refurbish and remodel a similar number of Victorian properties on an adjacent site.