Rooms with a view in new Pool stand

BLACKPOOL Football Club's £8.5m new stand is set to include hotel rooms overlooking the pitch.

Revised plans have been submitted for the eagerly awaited South Stand development.

The club has increased the number of hotel rooms to 56 in the development, which will also include a ground floor supporters' bar.

Space on the second floor has yet to be allocated a use, while the hotel will occupy the third and fourth floors, linking through to the function rooms in the West Stand.

The changes also include enhancements to the external look of the stand in order that it will fit in better with the rest of Blackpool's Central Corridor.

Blackpool FC chairman Karl Oyston said: "About half the hotel rooms will overlook the pitch. These will double up as hospitality boxes on match days and the hotel will be linked through to the function rooms in the West Stand.

"The only undefined use is the first floor of the South Stand, which may be allocated to leisure or community use. The ground floor will be a supporters' bar and a reception area for whatever goes in on the first floor.

"We have also made this application in order to improve the external appearance of the stand so that it will sit better with the improvements that have been made to Bancroft Park and Central Corridor.

"We will continue to work closely with the council in order to try and make Central Corridor look as appealing as we can because it's currently the main gateway into Blackpool."

However, any fan wanting to book a room and watch the match from the comfort of their own bed is set to be disappointed.

Current strict licensing of football stadiums – including the ban on drinking alcohol in view of the pitch – could mean the windows of the rooms would have to be shuttered off during match days if not part of hospitality suites.

The application to the council is not expected to delay the building of the South Stand, which is already well under way.

The 8.5m investment will include 2.5m to fit out the hotel and around 500,000 on the new supporters bar.

Ian Ward, head of development control at Blackpool Council, confirmed the new application was aimed at enhancing the appearance of the stadium. He said: "We have been in continuing discussion with the club about the South Stand and the fact that they have wanted to make some changes.

"We have been aware that they have needed to commence building before getting permission for the changes."

Last March, Blackpool Football Club unveiled the 124-room Travelodge Hotel on Bloomfield Road following a 6.3m investment.

The latest phase of Central Corridor has seen a 1.8m upgrade by ReBlackpool which includes a new pedestrian plaza alongside the football club.