Spectacular seafront beach huts are set to be built on Blackpool’s Promenade for the first time in the resort’s history.
And delighted business chiefs today claimed the move will help to attract families and spark a major boost for a ‘forgotten’ part of the town.
Blackpool Council wants five huts to be located and managed on Waterloo Headland on the Promenade, transforming the seafront opposite the junction with Waterloo Road.
Flanked by the the Tower to the north and Pleasure Beach to the south, businesses hope the holiday huts will bring back the glory days of traditional seaside holidays in Blackpool.
Coun Graham Cain, cabinet member for leisure and tourism, said: “The idea of beach huts has been brought to us by a private trader who felt that they would be successful on Blackpool’s seafront.
“It’s an innovative idea and one that we think is worth exploring. These beach huts will hopefully provide a boost to Blackpool’s offer as a tourist destination.”The council has now put out a tender to find a firm to manage the huts.
Businesses agreed it was time for an attraction along the stretch of promenade, which saw grassbanks laid out on Waterloo and St Chad’s headlands in summer 2011.
Luca Notarianni, manager of Notarianni’s Ices on Waterloo Road, said: “Beach huts would be brilliant. The promenade looks amazing so anything added on is a boost.
“Every headland has had something but ours has had nothing so this would be brilliant.”
Mark Yates, owner of Brooks Collectables, also on Waterloo Road, added: “It’s a brilliant idea and would be good investment for the town.
“They haven’t used these spaces properly so they need some purpose. It was wasted so I’m glad something is going to happen there.”
It is understood there would be potential for the council to expand the huts on the promenade - should the initial five, which will open on April 1 next year, prove successful.
Businesses said it is likely the huts will prove both financially viable and beneficial to surrounding traders.
Stuart Robertson, who runs the 16 beach huts on St Annes front and is working to install a further 30 in the Fylde town, said: “I think it’s a fabulous idea.
“The St Annes beach huts have worked really well and have regenerated the area, proving really popular.
“A new attraction like this in Blackpool can only be welcomed by everyone.
“I think it could be a catalyst for the area, I can see other attractions opening up around them and it’s a start for regenerating the area.”
Mr Yates meanwhile has called for other businesses to open up around the beach huts when they are in place.
He added: “Perhaps they could consider reinstating the windmill there too and opening up a tourist information centre in the area.”
A tender process for the contract opened on Thursday evening, set to close on November 7, to “award a lease to an experienced company to construct, locate and manage five day-rental Beach Huts on an area of the promenade, Waterloo Headland.”
Coun Cain added: “As we are a public body, we must give businesses a fair chance to compete to win the contract.
“That tender process has now opened for a five-year licence to construct, locate and manage five beach huts on the Promenade and we are inviting offers from businesses who feel they can run them.
“We want whoever wins the tender to run five high-quality huts that will remain affordable for families to rent out for the day.
“It’s a proposal that we think could prove extremely popular.
“People will be able to rent out the huts for a day and use it as a base to go and enjoy our award-winning beach, as well as the attractions and businesses nearby.
“We think this could also be a good boost for the businesses around Waterloo Road, as anybody using the huts will be extremely close to the shops around there.”
Mr Robertson said: “There’s something magical about beach huts, they’re still as appealing today as they were in Victorian times, people just love them.”
Mr Notarianni added: “People can have a hut, go to the beach and come for an ice cream, it’ll be the full seaside package.”
Local historian Ted Lightbown said Blackpool has never had traditional beach huts, of the sort seen in St Annes and Fleetwood, but there was some beachside daytime provision in the form of art deco style buildings at Bispham.
He added: “The nearest thing to beach chalets we’ve seen were built in the mid 1930s, the art deco style building on the middle prom at Bispham.
“But there haven’t been any traditional ones.”