‘No rent lost’ due to delays at Blackpool restaurant

One of the empty units
One of the empty units
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Town hall chiefs have rejected fears that delays in the opening of a new restaurant in Blackpool are costing the council money.

Mr Basrai’s World Buffet was due to open in the ground floor of the Talbot Gateway multi-storey car park this summer.

Maxine Callow

Maxine Callow

Its launch was then put off until the autumn, but it is yet to start trading although work is underway to convert the premises.

Coun Maxine Callow told a meeting of Blackpool’s tourism, resources and economy scrutiny committee she feared the delays were costing the council money in lost rent.

She said: “The restaurant was due to open in the summer, then it was the autumn and now we are told it is ‘soon’.

“Are we losing rent due to these delays?”

But town hall treasurer Steve Thompson said the operator had been given an initial rent-free period so the council was not currently losing any revenue.

He said: “As part of the negotiations, Mr Basrai got a rent-free period at the outset.

“So while he is doing the work he is using his rent-free period so it is in his interests to open.

“It is due to open before Christmas.”

Coun Fred Jackson, cabinet member for municipal assets, added: “Mr Basrai is doing a lot of work and alterations to get the restaurant open.

“Why it is taking so long, I don’t know, but I believe it is to ensure everything is perfect when it opens and it should be a really good restaurant.”

The Gym group is also set to open in the ground floor of the multi-storey car park next spring, although the move will mean the closure of the council’s Gateway Gym in the adjacent Bickerstaffe House which employs 12 people.

But Coun Jackson said he hoped all those staff would be able to transfer to the new gym.

Negotiations for another unit to be let within the Talbot Gateway Central Business District, on the ground floor of Bickerstaffe House, are also well advanced.

Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn admitted it had taken time to fill the units.

He added: “It is about getting the best tenants in there.

“We have explored things like rent free periods and we have negotiated with the new gym operator about removing our gym, so we have been open to negotiation.

“But it is about building up the critical mass, and I think we have a number of operators waiting to see how the units do before making a decision.”