Conference boost for local business

An artists impression of a proposed new conference centre for Blackpool
An artists impression of a proposed new conference centre for Blackpool
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Council chiefs are being asked to spend £500,000 in order to ensure work on the £25m new conference centre at the Winter Gardens can begin on time.

The money will fund preparatory work including demolition and site clearance.

Meanwhile a special event is being held next week to recruit local businesses to work on the project.

Builders, roofers, electricians, joiners and other companies can find out more about the conference centre construction by going along to the Pavilion Theatre at the Winter Gardens at 2pm on Tuesday.

Coun Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, said: “This is such a big project that we want the benefits to be felt throughout the town.

“That means not just town centre businesses benefitting from the extra visitors, but local electricians and joiners getting involved with building the centre itself, creating local jobs and instilling some local pride.”

Christopher Collins, director of McLaughlin and Harvey which is the main contractor, added: “We are delighted to have been appointed to deliver this prestigious project which we believe will bring a significant benefit to Blackpool, both during the construction phase of the works and on completion.

“McLaughlin and Harvey pride themselves on delivering high quality buildings, which we are certain the new conference and exhibition centre will be.

“We will be seeking to work with local suppliers and sub-contractors on this project to support the local economy.”

The council’s executive committee is being asked to approve spending of £500,000 on the preparatory work when it meets on Monday.

A report to councillors says this will ensure “an enabling works package” is completed in time “for commencement of construction works later this year.”

The conference centre is scheduled to open in spring 2019. Survey work, diverting utilities, repairs to the existing building, demolition and site clearance need to be done before construction can begin.

The £500,000 will be paid by the council initially but once the full funding package is in place, it will come out of the conference centre capital fund.

The development, to be built on the site of the former car park on Leopold Grove, will increase capacity at the Winter Gardens allowing it to host more than 7,000 delegates.

Improvements will also include exhibition space and smaller meeting rooms.

Funding includes £2.9m from the Coastal Communities Fund and an allocation of £15m from the Government’s Growth Deal 3, managed by the Lancashire Economic Partnership.

Any suppliers who want to find out more should email blackpool@mclh.co.uk by noon on Friday.

Read more here about the conference centre