Hotel and store vision for Blackpool town centre

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Developers today unveiled their vision for the second phase of Blackpool’s Houndshill Centre.

A 56-bedroom hotel is now proposed for the upper floors of the new Wilkinson’s store which is set be built on land between Coronation Street and Tower Street.

The proposed Wilko store and hotel

The proposed Wilko store and hotel

It will link into the Houndshill and face onto the Winter Gardens.

The scheme secured outline permission in March after businessman Peter Swan, who owns the Sands entertainment venue on Central Promenade, lodged the plans in January.

Originally the application was for shops, food outlets and leisure use but the full application sets out details of a hotel although the scale of the building remains the same.

A planning statement accompanying the application says the four storey building will occupy the majority of the site and provide retail use across ground and mezzanine floors, with a 56-bedroom hotel to the upper floors.

The proposed Wilko store and hotel

The proposed Wilko store and hotel

It says the design has taken into account the closeness of the Grade II listed Winter Gardens with “due regard to the character of these statutorily protected heritage sites and the town centre’s overall sense of place.”

The statement adds: “Furthermore it is considered the proposed development will result in a substantial visual improvement to the streetscene, and in this context will serve to enhance local views to these sites from the immediate locality.”

The site was cleared in 2010 in anticipation of the second phase of the Houndshill being built, and is currently used as a car park.

Coun Mark Smith, portfolio holder for business and economic development as well as ward councillor for Talbot ward, said he welcomed more potential investment in the town centre.

He said: “It is encouraging to see investment proposed for the town centre as this shows there is confidence in Blackpool.

“I think it will be good for Wilkinson’s to move to a more central location, which in turn will allow its current site to be redeveloped for the tramway.

“A hotel next to the Winter Gardens will support the opportunity of bringing conferences back, but I would want it to be of a four or five star quality, and of good design.”

Claire Smith, president of hoteliers group StayBlackpool, said: “I am in two minds because we already have a lot of good b&Bs around the Winter Gardens which we should support.

“But I appreciate to support our conferences and events we need quality, global brands.

“If the hotel adds to Blackpool’s offer that is OK, but I wouldn’t want to see another boring basic brand hotel.”

Wilkinson’s is relocating its store after the council bought its existing site for nearly £8m as part of the project to extend the tramway to Blackpool North station.

It is proposed to build a tram terminus on the land.