Design watchdog calls Gensler's Blackpool casino an "island site in character and accessibility"

Government design watchdog CABE has been highly critical of the first super casino scheme to undergo a design review.

Architect Gensler’s scheme for the 1.7m sq ft casino quarter in Blackpool was panned by the design review team for its over-eagerness to place a new tall building on Blackpool’s skyline and for being “an island site in character and accessibility”.

The news will come as a blow to the team, led by client Re-Blackpool (Blackpool’s urban regeneration company), which is currently battling to win the casino licence against current favourite Greenwich and the Millennium Dome site.

Several of the other seven super casino developments have also been submitted to CABE and will undergo design review in the coming months.

The review praised the position of the development site and the proposal to encourage potential casino operators to encourage a lively urban environment, but said the scheme was still rather unexceptional.

The report said: “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.”

The report also highlighted the architect’s lack of consideration for sustainable design at the masterplanning stage. It said: “Given the potentially national significance of this scheme CABE would expect a development of this sort to exceed statutory requirements.”