'Significant progress' made on Blackpool town centre investment plans

An image of the proposed Holiday Inn
An image of the proposed Holiday Inn
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A timetable is now in place for the completion of key Blackpool regeneration projects including the tramway extension and construction of a new hotel, while  investment in town centre offices is also in the pipeline.

The multi-million pound transformation of the resort has stalled in recent times but a meeting of the council's tourism, economy and communities scrutiny committee heard work will begin in earnest next April.

That is when demolition of the Wilko's store on Talbot Road is due to start making way for construction of a car park, a Holiday Inn hotel, an underpass leading to Blackpool North station and preparation work to complete the tramway extension.

The new tram terminus will be located in the middle of the existing Wilko site but a temporary stop will open before the end of March 2021, ahead of the expected opening of the hotel and permanent tram terminus in early 2022.

Wilko's will move into temporary accommodation, not yet revealed, due to delays in delivering its new site on Tower Street alongside the Houndshill Centre.

A report to the committee by the council's director of regeneration Alan Cavill says there have been "unavoidable delays" in implementing the Tower Street scheme.

These are believed to be around uncertainty over the ownership of the Houndshill.

But Mr Cavill adds: "Intensive negotiations have been underway for the council to assist with resolving the issues and significant progress has been made such that it is now hoped the development could be able to commence later this year.

"However, these unavoidable delays have meant that the new Wilko store will not be ready in time for when the existing store building on Talbot Road will be required for Talbot Gateway phase two.

"As a result of this negotiations are ongoing with Wilko to achieve a temporary relocation in the meantime."

Mr Cavill added agreements were also now in place for new office development as part of the next phase of the Talbot Gateway, although details remain confidential at this stage.