£3m proposals for Yates’s site

An artists impression of the proposed development on the Yates's site on Clifton Street, Blackpool.
An artists impression of the proposed development on the Yates's site on Clifton Street, Blackpool.
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£3M plans were today revealed for Blackpool’s former Yates’s Wine Lodge site – which could see the resurrection of the famous rotunda.

Ambitious proposals for the land on Clifton Street submitted by Northhold Group show a two-storey building with a rotunda – and a balcony overlooking Talbot Square.

American family dining giant TGI Friday’s and contemporary Asian restaurant chain Cosmo are hoping to move in once the multi-million pound scheme is finished, with a third operator yet to be announced.

The former Yates’s Wine Lodge had to be pulled down following a devastating fire in February 2009.

Since then the site has been boarded up, with the pub chain moving to new premises on nearby Market Street.

A spokesman for the Manchester-based Northhold Group said: “The proposal represents a £3m investment in Blackpool, which Northhold hope will be welcomed in these tough economic times.

“We are pleased to be undertaking their first venture in the UK’s premier resort, especially on a site that holds such a sense of history for the people of Blackpool.

“The concept of the building has been very much designed around the reintroduction of the iconic rotunda, which for over 100 years overlooked Talbot Square. The design of the building has sought to respect the surrounding listed buildings and conservation area status of its setting, while introducing a splash of modern interest to the area.”

The plans have been broadly welcomed.

Craig Southall, chairman of Blackpool Pub Watch and manager of Yates’s on Market Street, said: “It was such a shame when they had to demolish the rotunda so to bring something like that, which is so iconic, back to the square would be fantastic.

“Any development there will be really positive for Blackpool because it will bring life back to that part of Clifton Street, as well as creating new jobs. The two brands are also good food-led businesses and it’s great to see big names wanting to come into Blackpool.”

Les Ball, business support manager for the Blackpool BID (Business Improvement District), also applauded the plans.

He said: “The land has been empty for a considerable time so it is fabulous a planning application has gone in.

“It will be really good news for the town centre and potential employment.

“It will help rejuvenate this area, and also complement the improvement work going on in Talbot Square.

“Blackpool is attracting more national names. The new Pizza Express and Nandos appear to be doing well and hopefully these brands can do the same.”

Coun Gary Coleman, cabinet member for regeneration on Blackpool Council, said the area was key to Blackpool’s regeneration.

He added: “Like many people with an interest in local history I was saddened by the untimely demise of the old Yates’s building.

“Talbot Square is a key area of the town centre and we are pleased to see a genuine interest in developing such an important site.

“We are keen to see uses which will bring much-needed jobs into the town but we must also get a suitable building which fully develops the potential of such a key location.

“We will be working closely with the developer to come up with a solution that not only enhances the area but also compliments the regeneration taking place throughout our town.”

The nearest TGI Friday’s to Blackpool is in Prestwich, Manchester.

The chain was founded in New York and spread across the US before coming to the UK where it now has 49 locations.

Cosmo is an Asian restaurant chain, and its Blackpool venture would be the first in the North West.

If the scheme is approved by the council, the developers hope to start building work immediately.

The plans show TGI Friday’s take up the ground floor unit, including a mezzanine floor, with Cosmo on the first floor. The third unit – that could be used for retail – is on the ground floor at the front of the building.

Work is currently under way on a £300,000 improvement scheme in Talbot Square which will see more public space created in front of the town hall.