PLANS for a £6m refurbishment of a Blackpool car park have been welcomed by residents.
Work has already begun on transforming the Talbot Road multi-storey car park as part of phase one of the £220m Talbot Gateway Central Business District (CBD) – as revealed in The Gazette.
It will see the eyesore, currently a magnet for vagrants and drunks, re-open next July with high-tech security measures, improved lighting and new lifts.
It is hoped it will help cut down on crime in the area.
Gareth Daniel, 31, of Lulworth Avenue, Marton, says the car park needs refurbishing.
He added: “It could definitely do with it because it’s the first thing you see when you get to Blackpool.
“I try and avoid coming around here, but the changes should help.”
Chris Giles, 32, of George Street, Blackpool, said: “It’s embarrassing to say I live around here and I want to move because of all the bad things going on.
“I see a lot of people hanging around in there and they need CCTV cameras in there to stop people coming back.
“People have somewhere to use drugs inside and it’s great for them at the moment.”
Tony Hersey, 42, of George Street, Blackpool, added: “It’s an eyesore and they would be better off knocking it down. Once the people taking drugs are kicked out of there they will just go somewhere else.
“It has to fit in with all the new buildings they are putting next to it and if they are just making a few changes, it isn’t going to be enough.”
But Phil Tyler, 55, of Cypress Point, Lytham, who runs a stall in the Abingdon Street Market, says the revamp should have been delayed until other work was complete.
He added: “It’s daft to close it now because of all the car parks which are shut.
“It’s about time they (the council) did something but the shops need customers and they need car parking spaces, and there is not enough at the moment.”
As well as making improvements to the car park, six new retail units will also be built on the ground floor.
Roger Linton, of contractors Tolent Construction Limited which is carrying out the refurbishment, said: “We are taking all the cladding off and taking it back to its basic concrete structure.
“Water has been coming in so some of the concrete is crumbling so there will be a total concrete repair, then re-cladding of the outside of the building with glass panels.
“The vehicular entrance and exit will still be from Dean Street. The Dean Street pedestrian entrance will be refurbished and a new lift shaft and pedestrian entrance will be created on Talbot Road.”