Blackpool hopes to see investments take off as new decade dawns

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2020 marks the start of a new decade which sees Blackpool on the brink of potentially momentous transformation.

This year is set to see the resort gain a new conference centre, its first five star hotel and enabling work will also start on the £300m Blackpool Central project.

The Premier Inn will open in April

The Premier Inn will open in April

A planning application is also expected for a five-storey office block on the site of East Topping Street car park in the town centre.

The Wilko's building will be demolished to make way for a Holiday Inn hotel and new tram terminal, while the long-awaited redevelopment of the Yates's site in Talbot Square will see a Premier Inn open on April 27.

Council chiefs are also predicting announcements of further investment at Madame Tussauds and the Golden Mile Centre.

Coun Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, said: “The last year has already seen some great progress in resort regeneration including the opening of the new Boulevard Hotel and the completion of several Quality Corridor schemes in the town centre.

The Sands Resort Hotel is due to open in late summer

The Sands Resort Hotel is due to open in late summer

“The coming year promises to deliver even more with the completion of the new conference centre, Premier Inn and Sands Venue Resort Hotel, as well as the commencement of work on the new Blackpool Museum and the tramway interchange at Blackpool North Station.

“This large-scale investment will provide even more momentum to the revitalisation of the town centre.”

Hoteliers leader Claire Smith said the new decade could mark a "game-changer" for Blackpool.

Mrs Smith, president of StayBlackpool said: "The next 10 years could be life-changing for us.

The conference centre is scheduled to be finished during 2020

The conference centre is scheduled to be finished during 2020

"By 2030 a lot of investment will be in place - we will have the Imax cinema, it will be full steam ahead on the conference centre and we'll be a fair way through the Central Blackpool project which will be a game-changer.

"If you look at the next 10 years, I think 2030 will be a completely different picture for Blackpool."

Here we take a look at projects set to progress in 2020.

Conference Centre

Work has been delayed in building the £25m conference centre at the Winter Gardens due to hitches in the construction programme.

The building will be handed over to the council in 2020 but not in time for some scheduled conferences such as the return of the GMB union in June which will use other parts of the Winter Gardens instead.

However it is expected to welcome 2,000 delegates for the national Inner Wheel conference in April 2021.

Council chiefs say the town has not missed out however because the bigger conferences book years in advance so new opportunities will not become available until after 2020 anyway.

Sands Venue Resort Hotel.

The 91-bedroom hotel on Central Promenade, which is aiming for a five star rating, is expected to open in time for the Illuminations.

It will include a luxury spa, the return of the Wild West diner on the ground floor and a new ground floor themed bar.

The Blackpool Museum will also be housed within the venue, with branding and marketing campaigns for the new attraction due to be ramped up this year ahead of opening in June 2021.

Houndshill

The council will go out to tender in January for the building contract for the second phase of the Houndshill Centre.

This will be built on the Tower Street car park and is due to house a new Wilko store on the ground floor, restaurant space and an eight or nine screen cinema including an Imax-style screen.

Funding will include £5m from the government's Future High Streets Fund.

Construction should begin in the spring with work completed in autumn 2021.

Tramway extension

The Wilko building on Talbot Road will be demolished to make way for a new Holiday Inn hotel and tram terminal for the extended tramway.

Premier Inn

Recruitment will begin in February for staff to work at the 150-bedroom Premier Inn in Talbot Square, which will open on April 27.

Facilities will include a ground floor Cookhouse restaurant which will be open to the public.

Blackpool Central

Work could start at the end of 2020 on development of the £300m new leisure destination on Central Car Park.

The first construction will be a 1,300 space multi-storey car park which opens the way for the first phase of investment to including the UK's first flying theatre, multi-media exhibition space and a 150-bedroom hotel.

Other investment

Further development at Madame Tussauds and a new operator to be sought for exhibition space below the Sea Life Centre within the Golden Mile Centre .

A planning application is expected to be lodged early in 2020 for an office development on the site of the East Topping Street car park, which will be five storeys high and a similar size to the council's Bickerstaffe House.

Revised plans for development of the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone are due to be submitted.

Work begins in January on the £12m scheme to build 75 new homes at Troutbeck Crescent, Mereside.