Blackpool regeneration: Tramway extension, Holiday Inn, Fraser's, Backlot Cinema, Wilkos, Blackpool Central - these are the key developments in 2023

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This year has seen no let up in the pace of regeneration in Blackpool as projects - including some previously delayed - are completed while others reach key milestones – here’s the latest updates.

Probably most keenly awaited has been the £23m tramway extension to connect the Promenade with Blackpool North railway station via new track on Talbot Road.

The scheme was due to finish by July 2019 but stalled due to hold ups in other developments including the relocation of the Wilko store.

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It is hoped it will open this summer with the new terminal and underpass linking it to the train station both finished.

Blackpool Central redevelopmentBlackpool Central redevelopment
Blackpool Central redevelopment

Once contractors working on the new Holiday Inn hotel - also due to open in 2023 - leave the site, the trams will start running.

Council leader Coun Lynn Williams said: "Our regeneration programme is an important part of our strategy for the future of the town.

"It will of course bring fabulous new facilities and an improved environment that can be enjoyed by locals and tourists alike, but much more importantly it helps to drive the economy of the town and bring in investment, job opportunities and improved prosperity for the people of Blackpool.

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"2023 is gearing up to be an exciting year with a number of key regeneration projects reaching their conclusion.

Blackpool Central redevelopmentBlackpool Central redevelopment
Blackpool Central redevelopment

"The opening of the Holiday Inn and tramway extension will all create new jobs and bring more people into the town centre, boosting trade for other businesses.

"It is also going to be a big year of change at the Houndshill Shopping Centre with the new cinema opening its doors and the former Debenhans store re-opening with new tenants."

The tramway extension fell behind schedule due to the long drawn out process of purchasing and redeveloping the Wilko site.

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It is now hoped the hotel will open in time for the 2023 Illuminations season.

Houndshill extension and cinemaHoundshill extension and cinema
Houndshill extension and cinema

Coun Mark Smith, cabinet member for Business, Enterprise and Job Creation, said: “Work at the new Holiday Inn hotel at the Talbot Gateway is progressing well.

“We expect the construction work to be complete early summer with the hotel welcoming its first guests for the 2023 Illuminations season.

“The tramway extension is complete and the trams have been successfully tested. The overhead wires have been taken down to enable work to be undertaken at the hotel.”

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The scheme is among a number of investments due to be completed in 2023 - while others are set to make progress, some are at the planning stage and others have now been awarded government funding.

Houndshill extension and cinemaHoundshill extension and cinema
Houndshill extension and cinema
  • Holiday Inn and tramway extension

The 144 room hotel on Talbot Road has been built as part of a £34m project including a new tram terminal and underpass linking the terminal to North Station.

The hotel, which will include a Marco’s New York Italian restaurant, and create around 70 jobs, is due to open in time for the 2023 Illuminations season, with the tramway extension also due to be completed.

  • Backlot Cinema, Wilko’s and Fraser’s

The £21m extension includes the Backlot Cinema which will boast an IMAX immersive screen and is due to open early summer.

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The Wilko store, which is on the ground floor of the development, is also nearing completion.

Development of the Holiday Inn on Talbot RoadDevelopment of the Holiday Inn on Talbot Road
Development of the Holiday Inn on Talbot Road

Meanwhile the Frasers Group will begin refurbishment of the former Debenhams store inside the Houndshill, in order to bring its brands including Flannels to Blackpool for the first time. It will open in time to trade ahead of Christmas.

  • Abingdon Street Market

Following extensive refurbishment as part of a £3.6m investment, the food and beverage offer is due to open on Saturday May 27. The rest of the stalls are set to open later in the year.

  • Blackpool Central

A 1,306 space multi-storey car park is due to open in August as part of the enabling phase of the £300m leisure scheme.

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Last November Levelling Up minister Michael Gove visited Blackpool to announce £40m of funding towards demolishing and relocating the Blackpool Magistrates Court building to free up space for further phases of investment including an indoor family entertainment centre and hotels.

  • Civil service offices

Work has begun to build the £100m new civil service offices on King Street, and is expected to take 18 months.

Up to 3,000 civil servants who currently work at Warbreck House in North Shore and Ryscar House in Bispham, will relocate to the seven storey office block.

The former Hop Inn pub on Cookson Street has been redeveloped to house the King Street Dental Surgery while retaining its historic frontage.

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  • Blackpool Museum

Issues with the site within the Sands Hotel building mean the £13m museum's opening has been delayed once more.

It had been due to launch in April 2023 at the Central Promenade site, but the space is not now expected to be handed over to the council until the beginning of August meaning opening is delayed until 2024.

  • Other projects

An extension to the Hampton by Hilton Hotel on South Promenade, with 74 bedrooms added to the existing 130, opened at the end of April.

The new ambulance station on Waterloo Road in South Shore became operational in March.

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The £5m Common Edge Community Sports Village, part of Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone, is now in use.

Plans have been submitted for the Revoe Sports Village, with a further application expected for a replacement East Stand at Blackpool Football Club's Bloomfield Road stadium.

The council has been awarded £40m of Levelling Up funding from the government towards the £65m multiversity in a joint bid with Wyre Council, and £8m towards the £26m refurbishment of the former Abingdon Street Post Office into an Indigo Hotel.