Blackpool businessman’s anger at ‘waste of £6.8m’ redevelopment plan for Stanley Buildings

A Blackpool businessman says a planned £6.8m revamp of a landmark retail block may be a waste of public money and cause pointless disruption to shop owners.

By Tim Gavell
Monday, 1st August 2022, 4:55 am

Philip Carpenter, who owns Mankind Designer Menswear in Church Street said the plans to turn the Stanley Buildings into a business hub called The Edge, were flawed and should be looked at again.

He says the proposed ideas to re-design the frontages of the units and shops in the block, including his, would damage some retailers business and the idea of having a courtyard area i the centre of the triangle shaped block was a waste of time as it rarely got the sun and was dark and dingy.

He said while the investment was welcome in principle, lavishing so much taxpayers’ money on ideas that were either unnecessary or unlikely to work was a waste.

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The council announced plans to refurbish the locally-listed building in June this year. It would see the ageing building converted into a business campus with some retail units remaining, the distinctive tiling revamped, the shop fronts standardised, 43 serviced offices with flexible lettings, a cafe-bistro with outside space including two terraces and a courtyard, and business support.

Built in 1935, the building has areas of steelwork that need replacement and the plan to transform it in to a 21st Century business hub would allow that to happen with funding from the Towns Fund (£4.3m) plus Blackpool Council.

Mr Carpenter, who established Mankind in 1993, said: “To spend £6.8m on Stanley Buildings is ridiculous when it could be put to better use in the town centre.

“At Mankind we have a successful business, our shop looks great and we have spent a lot of money on the frontage which is a double front with the door in the centre.“The council plan to which we objected at the time, would destroy our double fronted shop and lose our impressive window displays for which we receive lots of complements and cause us considerable loss of business.“I think spending all this public money landscaping our back ally insane. It gets very little sun and is a closed private space so who is going to use this garden?”

“We are all for maintaining and refurbishing the broken tiles and roof, but to forcibly destroy our shop front and waste all this money to achieve a uniform look that nobody cares about is crazy.”

A spokesman for Blackpool Council said: “