Plans to build a £10m Premier Inn on the former Yates’ site could transform that part of Blackpool, visitors to a public exhibition of the proposals hope.
Leisure giant Whitbread is set to resubmit a revised planning application to build a 150-bed hotel and a Beefeater restaurant on the vacant site in Talbot Square after the original scheme was refused.
Architect Phil Hopkins said: “We have retained the art deco design and while the hotel is still six storeys, we have reduced the height by about two meters to bring it below the height of the town hall and the church in Talbot Square so it is not overbearing.
“We also had to take the weather into account and feel this is a solid, traditional building which will stand up to the elements.
“The plans will be refined further before they go back before the planning committee but we are getting positive feedback so far.”
Nick Johnston, acquisition manager for Whitbread, said if planning approval was secured, building work could begin this winter with the new hotel ready to open in summer 2017.
We also had to take the weather into account and feel this is a solid, traditional building which will stand up to the elements
Members of the public were invited to inspect the proposals when they were put on display in the Houndshill Centre on Friday.
Maureen Olsson, of Marton, said: “I think the design is excellent and will enhance Talbot Square.
“I have visited Torquay and Exmouth which both have Premier Inns on their seafronts. I don’t see any reason for the council to knock it back again.”
Stephen Parkinson, of Preston Old Road, Marton, said: “That part of town really needs investment and hopefully this will help bring in more families.”
Peter McIntee, of Queen Street, Blackpool, said: “I think this scheme is ideal for that site and people do like the fact they know what they’re getting with Premier Inn.”
Investment would create 65 new jobs and boost apprenticeships
If the scheme goes ahead it will create 65 new jobs, with 16 to 24-year-olds targeted as part of the recruitment process which would start three to four months before the opening date.
Joe Bullock, cluster general manager for Premier Inn which already has four hotels in Blackpool, said: “Blackpool has changed so much in the last five years with investment on the seafront.
“We offer a lot of work placements and apprenticeships, and work with Blackpool and The Fylde College, Connections and other organisations.
“So we are going to do more than just build a hotel and fill it with visitors.”
Around two thirds of stays at the existing Premier Inns in Blackpool are families.