Update on Blackpool's regeneration - including £28m conference centre
Construction of Blackpool’s £28m new conference centre is on schedule to be completed by the autumn.
The Conservative Party Spring Forum in 2022 will be one of the first significant events to be held there, heralding the party’s first major conference in Blackpool since 2007.
The timeframe for the work has been delayed due to the Covid pandemic and the complex nature of attaching a modern building to the historic Winter Gardens.
But the council’s latest update says external cladding should be finished by mid-June, and most of the internal walls and ceilings are now in place.
Internal fitting is well underway along with renovations to the historic facade of the Empress Ballroom, which will form an internal feature to the inside of the new building.
A vehicle lift has been installed to provide access to the upper event space, with passenger lifts and escalators are due to be installed during April.
The update is part of a report to the council’s tourism, economy and communities scrutiny committee which will consider it at its meeting on Wednesday April 14.
Progress on other town centre schemes includes:
* Houndshill phase two work to begin no later than June on an extension to house a cinema, new Wilko store and two restaurants. Completion is due in 2022.
* Holiday Inn and new tram terminal on Talbot Road. Foundations are being built following the demolition of the former Wilko’s. The area required for the completion of the tramway extension will be handed over to the contractor this month.
* King Street offices. A lease is expected to be signed with the occupier in the next quarter.
* Blackpool Central. A hybrid planning application is expected in the next quarter. It will seek outline permission for the majority of the site, and detailed permission for a multi-storey car park and for heritage assets on Central Drive including the King Edward Pub, King Edward Apartments and former cinema. Work on the car park could begin this autumn and take 15 months. Talks are ongoing over the relocation of the courthouse to Devonshire Road.
* Abingdon Street Market work should start this summer with the refurbishment completed by next spring.
* Showtown Museum. A contractor is due on site within the next few weeks with the museum on track to open next year.
* The Sands Venue Resort Hotel on Central Promenade is due for completion this autumn. The council is also supporting plans for a hotel alongside the Winter Gardens, and the conversion of the former main Post Office on Abingdon Street into a boutique hotel.
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