£10m hotel for ‘eyesore’ plot

The site of the former Yates's on Talbot Road
The site of the former Yates's on Talbot Road
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A £10m investment could be set to transform an eyesore which has been vacant since fire tore through an historic Blackpool pub more than five years ago.

Leisure giant Whitbread today revealed it wants to open a 150-bedroom Premier Inn on the site of the former Yates’s pub in Talbot Square, with another of its brands, Beefeater operating a pub restaurant on the ground floor.

Previous schemes for the land, including a Tesco Express and restaurants, have stalled leaving regeneration chiefs frustrated at the delay in redeveloping the area.

A full planning application has been lodged with the council for the latest proposals which would also create around 70 jobs.

The designs for the key site include an Art Deco-style tower.

Nick Johnston, Acquisition Manager, North West and Wales for Premier Inn, said: “We’re thrilled to have the

opportunity to bring a new Premier Inn to Blackpool seafront and, subject to planning permission, to regenerate this important site for a brand new Premier Inn and Beefeater Grill.

“We’re working with a development partner to take the plans forward and, if approved, they would trigger investment from Premier Inn of more than £10m, as well as create approximately 70 new year-round jobs.

“It’s still early days but, all being well, we’ll be able to bring this site back into productive use and deliver some important further investment and jobs for Blackpool.”

The Beefeater would take up most of the ground floor and applications have been made to the council to licence the venue.

It is seeking permission to sell alcohol from 10am until 12.30am seven days a week.

The hotel would have its own reception, accessed separately.

Manchester-based Archer Architects, which has drawn up the designs, is proposing to use reconstituted stone and brick in the exterior of the building “with an iconic tower feature off Corporation Street.”

A design brief accompanying the application adds: “There will be a vertical emphasis to the building, achieved through the use of a number of stepped brick and slate features.”

No car parking provision is proposed as there is considered to be adequate provision in the town centre.

Coun Fred Jackson (pictured), cabinet member for urban regeneration, on Blackpool Council, said: “I need to see more of the detail, but if this scheme is going to create jobs and revive that area then that will be a good thing.

“It is an eyesore at the moment and while planning permission has been granted before for that site, development hasn’t taken place.

“We have seen signs in Blackpool of good things happening which have been initiatives of the council.

“This is a very prominent site next to the town hall and the North Pier and it is important we get something of really high quality that will enhance the area.”

The site already has planning permission for a two-storey development which was to have included a Tesco Express on the ground floor and an Asian eaterie on the first floor.

But there was dismay a food store was proposed for such an historic site.

Building firm Reco Build began work on the land in September 2013 but construction was halted, and it emerged in February this year talks were being held about the possibility of a hotel development instead.

A new planning application has now been submitted by the Shlomo Memorial Fund Ltd, a London-based organisation which receives income from its investment properties.

The historic Yates’s building was destroyed in a fire which caused £20m of damage and wrecked a number of businesses on February 15, 2009.

Premier Inn is the UK’s largest hotel brand with more than 650 hotels, including four in Blackpool – on Yeadon Way, Squires Gate Lane, Whitehills Park and Devonshire Road, Bispham.

The latter also has the Red Lion Beefeater restaurant.

A number of hotel schemes are currently in the pipeline for Blackpool. The council recently revealed it hopes to build a four star hotel, expected to operate as a Holiday Inn, as part of the Talbot Gateway.

Planning permission was granted earlier this month for a six-storey hotel on the corner of West Street and the Promenade, while proposals for a four- storey 119-bedroom hotel on the Promenade opposite Central Pier have also been recently approved.