Houndshill phase two to start - but drivers warned of congestion around the Blackpool shopping centre

Work will begin next month on the £20m extension to the Houndshill Centre to bring a multi-screen cinema, restaurants and a new Wilko store to Blackpool.

Thursday, 26th August 2021, 3:49 pm
Updated Thursday, 26th August 2021, 3:50 pm

The development, which secured planning permission four years ago, is due to be completed in 2023.

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Go ahead for phase two of Blackpool's Houndshill Shopping Centre as council sign...

Drivers are being warned to expect congestion around the Houndshill during construction with part of Coronation Street being shut from Monday September 6 until December next year.

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Artist's impression of Houndshill phase two

The extension will be built on the site of the Tower Street car park which will close at the end of this month.

Blackpool Council leader Coun Lynn Williams said: “Construction is soon set to start on this key development, which will help to transform the town centre, create jobs and improve our retail and leisure output.

“In order for work to be carried out safely, the site and access to it requires that half of the carriageway must be closed.

“We will be installing temporary smart lights which are very effective at detecting congestion and keeping traffic flowing as efficiently as possible, but we want people to be aware there’s a major project taking place here, which means access might be affected at busier times.

Tower Street Car Park

“Naturally, there will be some occasions where there’s a build-up of vehicles, so please plan your journeys and consider alternate parking where appropriate. “

Debbs Lancelott, centre manager at Houndshill Shopping Centre, said the centre would be open as usual throughout construction.

She added: “Ever since the detailed plans were revealed, we’ve been excited to see the project progress.

“The Houndshill car park is a popular choice not just for shoppers, but for theatre goers and visitors to the Illuminations too.

“With that in mind, we expect there may be some delays when exiting the car park at peak times as the sheer volume can sometimes cause delays.

“Our staff are on hand to assist shoppers during these times, ensuring we maintain our services to the highest standard possible.”

Planning permission for the work was granted in September 2017, with the project receiving a boost last August when it was awarded £5m from the Government’s Getting Building Fund to kickstart development.

Blackpool Council is funding the remaining balance of the scheme.

Enabling work started in the spring, but people can expect to see more visible progress in coming months.

Deals were signed in February to bring a new Wilko store to the site, and an IMAX-style cinema and multi-media entertainment centre.

The phase two extension is also due to include two restaurants, although operators have not yet been revealed.

Tower Cinemas (Blackpool) Ltd, trading as MMC Cinemas will have 850 seats across nine digital screens including a giant PLF (Premium Large Screen Format) IMAX-ready central screen, set to be the largest in the North West, within a 40,500 sq ft unit.

Screens will be able to double up as conference venue spaces, and there will also be an e-sports cafe.

Wilko, formerly located at the old Fine Fare building on Talbot Road, will take a 15-year lease with the council on the new, purpose-built 22,500 sq ft unit.

Main contractor Grahams is due to begin work on September 6, prior to which hoardings will be installed.

From Monday September :

The section of the northbound carriageway of Coronation Street which runs adjacent to the development site at Tower Street Car Park will be closed to traffic

A temporary three-way signal system around the junction of Coronation Street and Adelaide Street will control traffic past the site, ensuring that access to and from Houndshill Car Park, the M&S collection point and the staff entrance to the Winter Gardens is maintained

The measures are expected to remain in place until December 2022, after which point the main hoardings will either be removed or moved back so the highway is safe to fully reopen.

The council says it will be working closely with the Houndshill to ease any potential congestion.

A council spokesperson said: “Houndshill Car Park sees an increased volume of visitors during seasonal periods such as Christmas, as well as when major events take place in and around the town centre.

“As a result of the temporary changes, anyone using the car park or accessing nearby areas (including the M&S collection point and Winter Gardens staff entrance) may experience increased congestion on entry and exit.

“Both Blackpool Council and Houndshill Shopping Centre will continue to monitor the situation and advise town centre visitors that there may be some delays in the area, particularly during the busier periods.

“Reminders will also be in place inside the shopping centre, including at all entry and exit points as well as on the large internal screen. Retail tenants will be notified of the temporary measures, as will delivery services who need access to the nearby area.”

Timeline:

September 2017 – Planning permission granted for Houndshill phase two

November 2019 – Blackpool Council buys the Houndshill Centre for £47m

August 2020 – the project is awarded £5m from the Government’s Getting Building Fund

February 2021 – Deals signed to bring in an Imax-style cinema complex and Wilko store

Spring 2021 – Enabling work begins on the site

September 2021 – Construction begins

2023 – opening

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