Phone boxes to stay in Post Office rebirth

Plans to convert the former Post Office on Abingdon Street into a hotel and leisure use have been approved

Plans to convert the former Post Office on Abingdon Street into a hotel and leisure use have been approved

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Planners have approved ambitious proposals to redevelop Blackpool’s former main Post Office – but have demanded conditions to protect the Grade II listed building’s heritage.

These include that any work must ensure the eight red phone boxes at the front of the building on Abingdon Street, which are also listed, are retained in their present position.

The council’s planning committee agreed an application by Blackpool-based Thompson Management Services to convert the landmark to a 50-bedroom hotel with a mezzanine glazed courtyard boasting restaurants, shops and cafe bars.

Gary Johnston, head of planning at Blackpool Council, said after the meeting: “We have put additional conditions on the permission regarding the car parking layout and in terms of any changes that maybe required in terms of disabled access from Abingdon Street.

“It being a listed building, we want to make sure that if something is needed, it is sympathetic with the listed building.”

He added there had been a suggestion the telephone boxes may have to be moved to provide disabled access, but that was no longer the case.

Husband and wife team Joe and Kelly Thompson of Thompson Contracts bought the Grade II-listed building 12 months ago.

The counter service at the Post Office, which was built in 1910, closed in 2007 when it was moved to WH Smith’s in Bank Hey Street.

At the same meeting councillors also approved an outline scheme for a five to six storey 156 bedroom hotel between Adelaide Street, Leopold Grove and Alfred Street.

The application was a resubmission of ascheme which was originally approved in 2011,but no development has taken place and the site is currently being used as a pay and display car park.

However the detailed designs are not expected to be drawn up until a later date in order that any development complements the design of a hoped for new conference centre proposed for Leopold Grove, as part of the Winter Gardens.