Jobs hope for vacant site

Progress House, Clifton Road, Marton.
Progress House, Clifton Road, Marton.
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Town hall chiefs are in talks with a potential buyer for former council offices which are currently being bulldozed.

It is hoped a deal can be agreed which would bring new jobs to Blackpool.

Coun Fred Jackson

Coun Fred Jackson

Work began earlier this month to flatten Progress House on Clifton Road in Marton, which has been empty since staff were transferred to new accommodation including at Bickerstaffe House in the Talbot Gateway Central Business District.

Other staff have been transferred to offices at Blackpool Football Club.

Blackpool Council wants the Progress House site to be retained for employment use.

Coun Fred Jackson, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for urban regeneration, said: “We can confirm that Progress House is in the process of being demolished.

“We expect this to be completed by the end of the year.

“With regards to the future of the site, we are currently in talks with an interested party which is interested in acquiring it for employment use.

“As soon as we are able to make a public announcement about that potential sale we will.”

Demolition has begun on the south of the site working north with external cladding and brickwork being removed by a mechanical excavator.

Between 650 and 700 people were working at Progress House last year, mainly in Human Resources, Children’s Services, Adult Services and Trading Standards.

The council took over the offices, which were formerly used by British Gas for its staff, in 1998 when it became a unitary authority.

The additional responsibilities, including taking over the running of education and social services in the town, meant it needed more space for staff.

But the building was becoming more and more costly to run and it was decided to build Bickerstaffe House, which opened earlier this year, and is seen as a key part of the regeneration of the town centre.

Progress House is the second site on Clifton Road to come up for redevelopment in recent times.

Two gasholders, which have been redundant for some time, are also due to be demolished by National Grid.

It is proposed to dismantle the structures and restore that site for redevelopment.