Talks advance at Gateway as £1m restaurant takes bookings

Critics have branded the Talbot Gateway development a 'white elephant'
Critics have branded the Talbot Gateway development a 'white elephant'
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A deal to fill five empty units at Blackpool’s ‘white elephant’ development is said to be edging closer to be signed.

Discussions to see new businesses welcomed at the £220m Talbot Gateway are at an advanced stage, with announcements due to be made in the ‘near future’, the council said.

We are delighted to welcome Mr Basrai’s World Buffet into the Central Business District

It comes as a new £1 million, 300-seat restaurant prepares to open up in the resort.

Mr Basrai’s World Cuisines, which will dish up food from across the globe, is now taking bookings at its 7,800 sq ft premises underneath the Talbot Road multi-storey car park.

Originally due to be open by summer, the restaurant will now open this month, and will see diners tuck into a diverse range of meals, including curries from India, risotto from Italy, tacos from Mexico, meatballs from the US, and traditional roast dinners from Britain.

Leaflets posted through letterboxes in the town are offering free cocktails, free parking for two hours in the multi-storey car park, and said the restaurant is now taking bookings.

Between 40 and 50 jobs have been created.

Coun Fred Jackson, the council’s municipal assets boss, said: “We are delighted to welcome Mr Basrai’s World Buffet into the Central Business District.

“Once the restaurant is up and running, that will bring an extra vibrancy to the area.

“That will only increase further when we are able to announce further businesses, which we expect to be able to do in the coming weeks.

“We’ve taken our time to fill the business district units with sustainable businesses which will put local people into employment and that will pay dividends in the long-term.”

Greg Ball, development surveyor at Muse Developments, added: “We are in detailed discussions with occupiers which would result in five units and a total of 18,726 sq ft being let and we hope to make announcements in the near future.”

Work to refurbish the multi-storey car park ended in October 2013, and Mr Basrai’s will become the first business to trade from there when it finally opens.

Conservative councillor Tony Williams said: “These units have stood empty for quite some time. If anyone is now interested in moving in, it’s great news.

“I just hope it’s the type of business that will attract footfall because at the moment, the plan is not working.

“They may have done a very affordable deal to attract somebody, which probably should have been done in the first place.”