Fylde Council’s elected members have approved the making of a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) of land adjacent to Squires Gate Station to allow the creation of a step-free accessible route to the station platform.
In the Full Council meeting of 7 February 2022, it was resolved to approve the expenditure of up to £6,000 from the 2021/22 approved Capital Budget. This would comprise of the expected £3000 for the purchase of the land, £2000 plus VAT for legal fees, and an additional £1000 from the Capital Investment Reserve for additional legal and surveying fees associated with the CPO process.
Once confirmed by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the purchase of this 35.6m2 plot of land will pave the way for the next stage of realising Fylde Council and the South Fylde Line Community Partnership’s joint aim to provide safe, easy access for wheelchair users and others for whom the stepped access prevents difficulties.
A series of enquiries from 2018 to present have shown that the land is currently unregistered at the HM Land Registry, with no freehold or leasehold interests confirmed, and that the land is therefore in unknown ownership. On 28 June 2021, the Fylde Council Finance and Democracy Committee recommended Full Council approval be given to pursuing CPO to acquire land to allow an accessible route to Squires Gate Station platform.
Cllr Karen Buckley, Leader of Fylde Council and Chair of the Finance and Democracy Committee, said:
“The lack of easy wheelchair access has long been an issue at Squires Gate station, and my fellow St Leonard’s Ward councillors and I have frequently voiced our concerns on behalf of constituents who have struggled to access the platform. The approval of this Compulsory Purchase Order brings us that much closer to making Squires Gate Station easily accessible for everyone, regardless of their mobility, and I wholeheartedly support the planned adaptations.”
The power to obtain the land compulsorily is in section 226(1)(b) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, which covers land “which is required for a purpose which it is necessary to achieve in the interests of the proper planning of an area in which the land is situate”.
The Council considers that enabling access to the rail network at Squires Gate station for wheelchair users and others for whom the stepped access presents difficulties is a purpose which falls within this power. The use of Compulsory Purchase Powers would be required as there is no realistic prospect of the Council acquiring the land by any other means.
Stay in the know
Keep up to date with the latest Fylde Council news by following us on social media or subscribing to our newsletter. Any new information will be posted directly through these channels, so if you are following us, you’ll be the first to know.