£25m Hotel Indigo plan for Blackpool set to go ahead

A £25m plan to convert Blackpool’s former Grade II listed Post Office into a Hotel Indigo looks set to  get the go ahead.

Friday, 12th November 2021, 12:01 pm
Updated Friday, 12th November 2021, 12:02 pm

The council’s planning committee is being recommended to approve an application by Cheshire-based Ashall Projects to transform the building on Abingdon Street into a 148-room Hotel Indigo and Indigo Suites.The Blackpool Civic Trust is among those supporting the scheme to restore and preserve the 111-year-old landmark, including the historic eight red telephone boxes outside.

On Tuesday Blackpool’s planning committee will consider the proposal which would create around 70 jobs, with a further 215 people employed in construction.

Many of the key features of the Post Office would be retained including its facade, stain glass windows and the marbled flooring and cornicing inside.

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Artist's impression of the proposed Hotel Indigo

Last month members of the Blackpool Civic Trust met Mark Ashall, the director of Ashall Projects, and the scheme’s architect Matthew Branton, a partner with Franklin Ellis Architects, to discuss the plan.

Civic Trust chairman Joan Humble said: “We were extremely impressed by the architect’s vision for the hotel.

“It is vital this building is saved. It is an important and much-loved landmark. There have been false dawns before, but having met the team behind this plan, we believe it will deliver.

“We are delighted at the developer’s commitment to re-purpose the Post Office and bring it back to life. Blackpool needs a high-quality hotel to attract visitors. It is yet another sign that we can all be extremely optimistic about the future.”

Developer Mark Ashall and Joan Humble with the back of the Abingdon Street Post Office behind them

Nigel Patterson, the Trust’s planning officer and former general manager of the Winter Gardens, said the hotel’s design will create an “oasis of much-needed green space” in a built-up area of the town.

He added: “I, like many other people, was a regular customer at the Post Office but never realised the size of the courtyard which separated it from the sorting office.

“The plan is for the courtyard to be landscaped with trees to create an area of greenery which will be most welcome.”

Mr Ashall said there is a stark difference between the condition of the buildings now and how the hotel will look when it opens.

He said: “Instead of being neglected and in danger of becoming even more of an eyesore, these buildings will enhance the town centre and help attract all kinds of visitors to Blackpool.”

The proposed hotel will cater for both short-stay leisure as well as business visitors, with the Indigo Suites offering extra space and kitchenettes.

There are 150 Hotel Indigos across the globe but Blackpool’s would be the first to offer this mix of accommodation.

Ashall Projects has previously developed the Aloft Hotel in Liverpool after transforming the historic Royal Insurance building in the city.

Mr Ashall said: “There are many similarities between our work in Liverpool and what we plan to do in Blackpool.

“The building there had been derelict for 20 years and was in such a poor condition that it had been placed on the National Buildings at Risk register. That’s hard to believe when you look at it now.”

This is the fourth set of plans to come forward for the former Post Office building which closed in 2007, with the sorting office moving to a new site in Bispham in 2015.

There is already planning permission in place to convert the building into a 102-bedroom hotel.

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