Spending brass during times of unprecedented cuts is always controversial.
So when Blackpool’s dream of £25m Government cash to build a conference centre at a revamped Winter Gardens complex was rubberstamped last week, it sparked the usual debates on our website and Facebook pages.
The massive development, which includes a new hotel, will allow the Winter Gardens to host up to 7,000 delegates.
Blackpool Council leader Simon Blackburn said: “This is a once in a generation opportunity which will alter the face of the resort forever.”
The Government announced the project as part of its national industrial strategy a series of measures across the North West as part of a £556m cash boost for the Northern Powerhouse. The conference centre plan was mooted last year when the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership began lobbying for funding for a series of projects across the county.
Work could begin later this year with a view to completing the project by spring 2019.
Here’s your comments
Fantastic news, the Winter Gardens will still be here for generations to enjoy. Good move, looking to the future without demolishing the past. Here’s to a very successful Winter Gardens conference centre
Well done to all the hard work and lobbying that has gone in to achieve this. Great news for Blackpool.
Of course it’s good news, but unless they deal with the people problem in the town centre it would not work, conferences may come once, but they won’t come again. Who’s paying for the champagne?
What is it that the people who run this town don’t understand regarding a conference centre? We lost the political party conferences due to the Winter Gardens only holding 3,500. We need a centre which will seat 7,000 in ONE place not spread over various halls. Why can’t they have a purpose built centre on the soon to be vacant Bonny Street site instead of pouring more money into the Winter Gardens and every other venue taken over by the council.
I agree about the size, but there’s more than just the party conferences to attract - there are hundreds of trade organisations in just about every industry you can think of that hold AGMs, conferences, exhibitions etc. in large hotels and conference centres up and down the country, ranging in size from the De Vere to the G-MEX. That’s the market this is aimed at, I would think.
I’ve recently spent some time involved in an event at Manchester Central. When the political conferences come there, it is set up for about 1,000 delegates. The Birmingham Conference Centre holds about 1,000 too, they have no problems there. Brighton’s holds 5,000, but they plan to knock that down as it’s too big. The reason we lost out is that the Empress was too big, and the other facilities were below standard. I assume the new venue will be up to 2,000 and adaptable in size.
There are (realistically) only two major political conferences, plus the almost defunct UKIP and FibDems, so even if they all came here in the same year there are still 48 other weeks to consider. There are perfectly viable, smaller, organisations what have annual conferences, and have considerably less security issues for the average user of the town (no armed police etc), and this is the market we should be attracting.
This is good news. However, can the council please inform us of their intentions with regards to restoring the rest of the beautiful, but decaying Winter Gardens building? What are they doing about the key shopping streets of Church St, Bank Hey S., Abingdon St etc. which have empty shops, an excessive number of charity shops and warehouse shops selling tat?
Hope it’s designed to enable holding music concerts as well.
Wow , I can see lots of major conferences being held in a town where the beaches are full of litter, the grass does not get cut, the roads are gridlocked and there is not enough police to keep yobs from mass punch ups. Maybe the basics could be looked at first
You’d think that Blackburn’s past as a social worker might have given him some level of empathy and insight into the problems this town faces but no, it’s obvious he would rather play SimCity with his town sized playset rather than address the area’s real issues.
Sorry it looks awful, just like a box, surely they could have design something better
Pop all the corks you want, until you bulldoze Central Drive, you have achieved nothing
Well, what a total surprise. How many weeks in a 52-week year will it be in use? If one particular party comes, all the rest go elsewhere and the policing costs, sealing grids, manholes etc is enormous. Don’t we ever learn?
Sick of residents from Blackpool moaning that money has been spent on the town to improve it, if you don’t like the town, move
Loving all the moans here...bring on a better Blackpool!