Hoteliers anger as former Argos store is converted to new Job Centre opposite holiday area
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They fear the move to convert the former Argos store on Albert Road will draw in vulnerable people to an area already busy with tourists.
Work has begun to refurbish the empty building to increase capacity for Job Centre staff who moved to offices at Blackpool Town Hall following the closure of the Queen Street Job Centre in 2018.
Gerard Flynn, chairman of the Central Blackpool Business Forum, said: “The old Argos store is on the edge of the shopping area, but the other side of the road is the holiday area.
“So we don’t feel it’s an appropriate location in terms of infrastructure and parking when you think about the amount of people already using that area.
“That corner is already an area which attracts anti-social behaviour so a lot of hotel owners will not be happy with this development.”
Ian White, a director of StayBlackpool, added: “I think people are disappointed with the lack of openess about what is happening with that building.”
Coun Mark Smith, who represents Talbot ward which includes the Argos site, said the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) had originally agreed to lease additional space from the council at its Municipal Buildings.
But he told a meeting of the Talbot Ward PACT (Police and Community Together), the deal had fallen through.
Coun Smith said: “They were going to work with us and take more space above the Customer First Centre, but they decided to pull out and go somewhere else.”
A spokesperson for the DWP said there was a need to “temporarily expand the space available in locations where we anticipate an increase in demand.”
They added: “The department has sought former retail and office properties, in major centres, that meet the planning requirements for a Job centre with public access, good transport links and fully accessible for both colleagues and customers. ”
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