Company bosses across Blackpool have predicted a major boost for business after the reopening of a key town centre car park following a £6m refurbishment.
The Talbot Road multi-storey car park re-opened last week after being closed since March 2012 while it was upgraded as part of the first phase of the £220m new Central Business District project.
It meant the temporary loss of hundreds of parking bays in that part of town.
Traders now hope the re-opening of the car park, which boasts 650 spaces, will be a boost to business.
Sarah McConville, of clothing store Blueberries, on Topping Street, said: “The fact this car park has been closed has had a devastating effect on business around here, so it is very welcome news that it is open again.
“Because of all the building work and changes to the road layout, traffic has been backing up so hopefully it will help ease the queues if people can park more easily.”
Warwick Tunnicliffe, owner of Warwick’s Amusements which has an outlet on Talbot Road, said: “We have really missed having the car park and the loss of the parking, along with the building work in this area, has been disastrous for us for a few months.
“So I am delighted it is open again and it will be good for the town, and now we are looking forward to the rest of the development being completed.”
Blackpool BID (Business Improvement District) manager Eileen Ormand said having a modern, secure car park was vital for all businesses in the town centre.
She said: “I think it will make a big difference not just having the car park back open, but having a secure, clean car park which is what people want these days.
“The more parking we have, the better it is for all our businesses.”
Work began last November to overhaul the Talbot Road multi-storey car park with a new glass and stainless steel facade and revamped interior.
Town hall chiefs had originally proposed demolishing the structure and rebuilding it, but decided instead to strip it back and give it a complete refurbishment.
The ground floor, which was formerly the bus station, has been converted into retail units with Mr Basrai’s World Buffet due to be the first tenant to move in, with others due to be named in coming months.
Parking charges will start at £1.50 for the first hour, with the facility open from 7am until midnight.