Bids invited for Gateway scheme

Artists impression showing aerial view of proposed Talbot Gateway.
Artists impression showing aerial view of proposed Talbot Gateway.
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WORK on the first phase of the £250m Talbot Gateway is on course to begin later this year.

Development partner Muse has launched the search for a contractor to build new council offices and to refurbish the Talbot Road bus station car park.

Applicants have until the beginning of July to bid for the contracts.

Town hall workers will move from out-of-town offices to the new base which is seen as a way of kick-starting investment in the area around North Station which has become rundown.

The £28m cost of the new council offices is being met through the sale of other council buildings including Westgate House in South Shore and Progress House in Marton.

Originally it had been proposed to demolish the former bus station, but spending pressures forced a re-think and now the building and car park is to be refurbished instead with shops created on the ground floor.

The contract, worth between £5.25m and £6.5m, will involve alteration, repair and refurbishment of the five storey multi-storey car park to offer 658 spaces.

The council is also hoping to announce the succcessful applicant for a 90,000 square foot foodstore which is also part of phase one.

The council already owns more than three quarters of the land it needs for the full Gateway scheme to create a new central business district which will eventually also include offices, hotels, cafes and restaurants.

Coun Gary Coleman, cabinet member with responsibility for regeneration on Blackpool Council, said: “It is good to see progress being made on the first phase of the new central business district.

“People’s perceptions of the bus station car park are that it is not a very pleasant landmark, but it will look very different once this work has been completed.

“We want to make Blackpool a better place for both residents and visitors, and this scheme will certainly smarten that part of the town centre up.”