3,000 civil servants to move into Blackpool town centre
More than 3,000 civil servants are to be relocated to a new £100m office development in Blackpool town centre it has been announced today.
Workers will transfer from existing sites at Warbreck House and Ryscar House in the town to a new seven-storey office block set to be built in King Street.
The move will boost the town centre economy by up to £8m a year, and follows several years of talks between the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) and the council.
Construction is expected to begin in May or June next year, with completion in autumn 2024.
Around 2,700 staff will be transferred from Warbreck House in North Shore, and just over 300 from Ryscar House in Bispham.
Council leader Coun Lynn Williams said it was an ‘historic moment’ for the regeneration of the town centre.
She said: “We have been working on plans with our partners Muse to introduce a new Fylde Coast Civil Service Hub for several years and we are thrilled that DWP share our vision and are committed to this long term investment.
“The relocation of just over 3,000 DWP employees will bring considerably more footfall into the area, with a massive boost to local businesses, retailers, restaurants, cafes and leisure facilities, but also bringing new, high quality job opportunities for local residents.”
The £100m cost of the offices includes £82m from council borrowing which will be recouped in rent throughout the 25-year lease, with the DWP putting the remainder of the money in.
While it had been widely speculated the civil service would be moving into the new offices, official confirmation had been held off until staff were briefed on Tuesday.
Coun Williams added: “The civil service has been looking to combine and streamline its UK administrative functions into more modern, efficient, sustainable and fit-for-purpose hubs, in line with the principles of their own 2020 vision.
“Talbot Gateway, Blackpool’s central business district, offers an ideal location, being highly accessible, well located and supported by excellent transport links.
“The sustainable location and the long list of environmental credentials and
innovative design associated with this building, will also have a positive contribution to our climate emergency agenda and promote employee wellbeing.”
It is not known when Warbreck House and Ryscar House, which are both in need of investment, will close.
Outline plans for the new offices were approved by the council in March this year, with a detailed application recommended for approval by the planning committee next Tuesday.
The 2.4 acre site will not have dedicated parking but will include a new town centre square with cycle and pedestrian routes, storage for more than 100 bicycles and is within walking distance of the new tram interchange at Blackpool North Station.
Mike Horner, development director at Muse, said: “We’re focused with partners, as we repurpose and re-energise the town centre, by delivering developments that blend the town’s rich history with its aspirations for the future.”
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