A new icon for Yates’s site

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THIS striking Art Deco-inspired tower is set to rise from the ashes of what was once Blackpool’s iconic Yates’s site.

Three years after the old Wine Lodge went up in smoke in a suspected arson attack, ambitious plans have been submitted for the prime spot in the centre of Blackpool’s tourism heartland.

If approved by Blackpool Council the £3m plans – submitted by Manchester-based Northhold Group – will see national restaurant chains TGI Friday and Cosmo Buffet Restaurant become two of the three occupiers of the building.

The Talbot Square site has remained derelict since the historic Yates’s building – complete with its famed rotunda – were destroyed in a devastating blaze which caused £20m of damage and wrecked a number of businesses.

Blackpool Council’s planning committee will discuss the plans tomorrow.

They have already won the approval of town hall planning officials who are recommending councillors approve the scheme.

Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden said the building which replaced Yates’s had to be bold and of top quality.

He told The Gazette: “It’s in a key area of public space and it’s very important that what replaces the former Yates’ site is striking.

“There were questions over the original designs’ scale and proportion and these plans show progress as the developers have made positive responses.

“What’s important when these proposals come before the committee is that members are given assurances over the quality of the materials.

“We need a solid and substantial building that will encourage others to invest the same way – and the proof will be in the detail.”

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Northhold Group’s original plans were sent back as they were deemed not grand enough for such an important site.

Now, following consultation with Blackpool Council, the local community and other interested parties, the Northhold Group has made a number of changes to the design of the building.

The application seeks the redevelopment of the site to create a landmark building with a 15m high Art-Deco inspired tower including a clock and curved balcony in place of the rotunda that featured on the former Yates’s Building.

The proposal represents a £3m investment in Blackpool and will complement the recent public realm improvements that have been made in and around Talbot Square.

Should planning consent be granted, the developers anticipate a quick commitment from a third interested party to join TGI Fridays and Cosmo Buffet.

A spokesman for Northhold said: “We believe the introduction of two well-known restaurant operators into this area of Blackpool will assist in the continued efforts to regenerate the resort and aide in the continued revival of Blackpool as a cultural and holiday destination.

“In addition, once fully let it is expected that the development will create up to 70 part-time and full-time jobs.”

If permission is granted, work on the site is expected to start in this summer.

More than 100 firefighters tackled the fire at Yate’s in February, 2009.

Fire officers and police said it was started deliberately.

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