Crushing blow in Gateway bid

The Talbot Gateway project
The Talbot Gateway project
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BLACKPOOL’S £250m Talbot Gateway scheme has been dealt another blow after a bid for £5m Government funding was thrown out.

The move means plans for hotels and offices as part of the massive regeneration scheme will be put on the backburner.

But work is still set to begin later this year on £28m new council offices, a 90,000 square foot supermarket and some office space as part of the development of the 35-acre area around North Station.

The council had bid to the Government’s regional growth fund for £5m, through developer Muse, after it lost around £20m of North West Development Agency funding.

Helen France, executive director for places at Blackpool Council, said: “We’re obviously disappointed our bid for £5m has not been approved.

“We are dedicated to completing the project and are still on track to start on site with phase one later this year.

“The first phase will see the new food store and the consolidated council offices, along with new private sector office space.

“These will help establish the first part of the central business district bringing spending power in to the town centre to boost trade, adding to the numbers of new jobs with the food store and additional retail units.

“Regional growth funding would have enabled us to bring forward new offices and hotels planned for later in the programme with additional jobs for Blackpool. Not having the funding is disappointing but the scheme will still bring enormous benefits to Blackpool and its residents.”

The council already owns more than three quarters of the land it needs for the full Gateway scheme, and a compulsory purchase order is in place for the acquisition of the remainder of the site.

Phase One of the scheme, which is being developed between now and 2014, also includes refurbishment of the Talbot Road bus station.

Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden said: “This is in stark contrast to the money given to Blackpool about this time last year by the previous Government as part of the Tower and Winter Gardens deal.”

Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard said he was disappointed by the news.

Future phases of Talbot Gateway include hotels, shops, cafes, restaurants, retail developments and a new police station and courthouse.