Bistro plan could boost revenue for Blackpool's Grand Theatre

A computer generated image of a new bar and bistro proposed for the ground floor of the Grand Theatre
A computer generated image of a new bar and bistro proposed for the ground floor of the Grand Theatre
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Plans to build a new bar and bistro alongside Blackpool’s Grand Theatre have been unveiled today.

It is hoped the scheme, which would see the conversion of four shops on Church Street, will help boost revenue for the historic theatre which requires major refurbishment.

Ruth Eastwood, chief executive officer at The Grand, said the proposal was part of the theatre’s five-year business plan and would potentially increase income.

She added: “In 2019 the building will be 125 years old and will require a major refurbishment.

“We have started the process of planning this work and seeking funding.

“It will take up to three years to achieve this, so no new development is likely to happen inside that timescale.

“In the coming months there will be further planning applications as we discuss other options to both conserve and develop this lovely building with our key stakeholders.”

Designs drawn up by architects Cassidy and Ashton show the development would have a capacity of 60 diners and create 30 new jobs.

A design brief accompanying the application says; “In a recent survey of the Friends of the Grand, 35 per cent said they usually dine out before a theatre visit and would use a ‘show and dine offer’ if available.

“Therefore, the conversion of four neighbouring retail units to a 60 cover bar and bistro would improve the dining offer available to visitors as well as the general public and represents an important new revenue stream for the theatre.”

It adds the theatre has struggled to let the retail units and projected revenue from them has dropped by 26 per cent in 15 months.

The statement says the proposal would “improve the sustainability of Blackpool’s oldest iconic heritage theatre and increase town centre footfall.”

The auditorium at the Grand has 1,054 seats but the existing bar can only cater for a small percentage of theatre-goers.

So it is proposed to open up the ground floor to provide a large seating area with 60 covers for the bistro and a new bar.

Internal access would be provided but there would also be public access from Church Street.

An ornamental canopy is proposed externally to match the existing canopy, and would have space for outdoor seating beneath.

This would be separated from Church Street by glazed barriers.