New supermarket operator chosen for Blackpool

Artist's impression showing aerial view of proposed Talbot Gateway

Artist's impression showing aerial view of proposed Talbot Gateway

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A SUPERMARKET operator has been chosen for a new town centre store, part of Blackpool’s massive regeneration project which will create hundreds of jobs.

Bosses are keeping tight-lipped about the identity of the store but it is believed to be one of the ‘big four’ of Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda or Morrisons.

The store, to be built on Talbot Road as part of the £250m Talbot Gateway scheme, will create around 200 jobs.

Development company Muse, which is the council’s partner on the project to revitalise the neglected area around North Station, hopes to announce full details at the end of the summer.

The scheme, which has been on the cards for a number of years, has this week received another boost after it emerged a public inquiry will not have to be held over plans.

It means faster progress can be made on getting redevelopment under way.

Blackpool Council’s assistant director of planning John Donnellon said: “Muse has gone through a long process and has got down to a preferred operator for the supermarket element of the new central business district.

“They are currently sorting out the legal agreements and so the name cannot be released at this moment in time. However it is one of the major operators. There were expressions of interest from all the main supermarkets. Subject to legal agreement we hope work will start early next year.”

Mr Donnellon added there had been no objections to a Compulsory Purchase Order which the council sought in January this year to allow the scheme to proceed.

Although the council already owned about 80 per cent of the land required to deliver the development, including highways, there were pockets of the site still owned by other parties.

However all those obstacles have now been overcome.

Mr Donnellon said: “All objections to the CPO have now been removed which means there doesn’t need to be a public inquiry.”

The land which had been the subject of the CPO included parts of Talbot Road, Cookson Street and Seed Street. The supermarket is part of phase one of the scheme which will also see the Talbot Road bus station refurbished and council offices built. The first scheduled work is to start in December.

The £28m cost of the new council offices is being met through the sale of other council buildings.

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 on the ground floor.