Winter Gardens repairs date announced

The Spanish Hall in the Winter Gardens which is set to have its roof repaired
The Spanish Hall in the Winter Gardens which is set to have its roof repaired
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Work is due to start in September on  restoring an historic part of the Winter Gardens.

The £1.9m project will see contractors replace the Spanish Hall roof and restore the Coronation Street façade of the Grade II listed building.

Work carried out previously by Conlon in the entrance hall at the Winter Gardens

Work carried out previously by Conlon in the entrance hall at the Winter Gardens

The work is designed to open up the full space of the highly decorated hall to allow it to be more fully used to generate more income and to tie in with the revamp of the Winter Gardens with its new conference centre due to start in October.

On the Coronation Street side, water has got into the structure, loosening some tiles and creating a potential threat to passers-by.

The scheme will require borrowing of £895,000, £600,000 from the council’s capital spending programme, which was agreed in spring by the council, and £500,000 grant funding from Historic England. Blackpool Council’s head of heritage, Carl Carrington, said a 12-month long survey of the Winter Gardens was carried out in 2015 using lasers for accuracy but there were certain areas such as the lantern roof of the Spanish Hall they could not access.

He said: “The information obtained has been incredibly valuable and will save us a lot of money in the future as the drawings we have now can be used by architects and contractors.”

But he said proper access to the lantern in the Spanish Hall roof is needed for the future and repairs to the tiles high on the Coronation Street side, where scaffolding is in place to protect the public was urgently required.

He said the ceiling and glass roof of the Spanish Hall had to be refurbished and protected along with the artwork and plaster work there.

Preston-based Conlon has has delivered a wide variety of refurbishment and restoration schemes on Grade I and II listed buildings – a total of £55m over the past 10 years – and it includes a previous project on the entrance to the Winter Gardens in 2011.

Michael Conlon, chairman at Conlon Construction, said they were delighted to be given the contract after their previous work on the building.

He said: “Reaching the £55m milestone is an amazing achievement and is particularly exciting to do it in our 55th anniversary year.

“Heritage work can be really challenging but we always take great care in delivering our projects which is also part of our commitment as a member of Considerate Constructors Scheme.

“We respect our built environment heritage and are dedicated to extending its service life and sustainability for future generations.”

Other recent Conlon heritage projects include the Grade I listed Heaton Hall in Manchester and the Grade I listed National Trust property, Gawthorpe Hall, near Burnley.

Work on the £25m conference project at the Leopold Grove side of the complex is due to begin in October.

It will feature exhibition space and smaller meeting rooms and will raise the capacity to allow it to accommodate more than 7,000 delegates.

No firm date has been set for work on the Blackpool Museum project which is still awaiting the final go-ahead for £15m of Lottery Funding to allow it to go ahead.

The council said it is expected to attract 270,000 visitors a year, have a £2m turnover, could generate a £12m economic boost and create 40 jobs.