What does the future hold for Warbreck House after DWP workers move into new £10m office block in Blackpool town centre?

There are ‘no firm proposals’ for the future of North Shore’s civil service offices when staff move into the town centre, town hall chiefs said.

Tuesday, 16th November 2021, 12:30 pm

The council hailed that move – but was unable to say what will become of the huge complex, which stretches towards Bispham and neighbours a large plot of land earmarked for housing.

The site is owned by a private landlord – not the Government or the council – and the DWP has no control over what happens after it moves its 3,000 staff.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

An artist’s impression of how the new office in King Street, Blackpool town centre, will look when it’s built

“There are no firm proposals that we are aware of,” a local authority spokesman said.

Any bids to flatten the buildings and use the land for something other than office work would have to go through the planning process.

But the adjacent 9.1 hectare plot, which housed Aspire Academy until it was demolished when pupils moved to Blackpool Old Road, will eventually have 176 homes built on it, according to the council’s local plan, which reveals where developments are allowed across the resort.

The school’s old car park is currently being used as a car park for civil service staff, with just 1,000 spaces available at Warbreck House.

That arrangement started in 2017, months after the school, which became a magnet for vandalism and anti-social behaviour after closing, was bulldozed.

It was originally due to last 12 months but was extended due to its success.

Michael Williams, chairman of the Blackpool Business Improvement District (BID), said the King Street office would ‘create additional footfall to support businesses on the high street and the early evening economy’.

And Martin Long, chairman of the Blackpool Business Leadership Group, which represents town centre traders including retailers and hospitality venues, said: “This is going to contribute substantially to the regeneration of the town centre.

"In the past we have seen an exodus of office workers out of the town centre but this is a step back in the right direction.”

It is thanks to our loyal readers that we can continue to provide the trusted news, analysis and insight that matters to you. For unlimited access to our unrivalled local reporting, you can take out a subscription here and help support the work of our dedicated team of reporters.