Work on IMAX cinema complex in Blackpool town centre set to start in the new year

Plans have been revealed for a new cinema as part of phase two of the Houndshill Centre in Blackpool
Plans have been revealed for a new cinema as part of phase two of the Houndshill Centre in Blackpool

Work looks set to begin early next year on the second phase of the Houndshill Shopping Centre after town hall planners approved proposals including a new cinema complex.

Councillors gave the scheme the go ahead after hearing it would have “numerous economic benefits for the town”.

It is hoped construction will begin in the new year to build the three storey extension to the Houndshill with a Wilko store and restaurant on the ground floor and part first floor, and a nine-screen cinema complex on the upper floors including an IMAX cinema.

Hector Black, a director of Edinburgh-based architect Covell Matthews which has designed the scheme, said: “The aim is to commence on site with the project as quickly as possible, with the main works commencing probably in the new year.

“The Light is the cinema operator and the IMAX will be an exciting unique new addition to all the leisure attractions in Blackpool.

“It will complement the shopping centre and provide a significant number of jobs both during construction and upon completion.

“So the local economy with benefit largely as a result of this decision to grant planning permission.”

The complex is earmarked for land currently used as the Tower Street car park, and will link directly into the existing Houndshill Centre.

A report by planners says: “The proposed mix of uses would have numerous economic benefits for the town as well as bringing a prime town centre site back into a long term sustainable use.”

The report adds the nearest IMAX cinemas are at Liverpool One, the Trafford Centre and Manchester Printworks “so having one in Blackpool will be a big attraction for cinema goers and a valuable leisure asset in the town centre.”

The development would provide 30 full time and 60 part time jobs.

Coun Mark Smith, cabinet member for regeneration, enterprise and economic development, said: “This is a major step forward in the plans to create a better town centre for Blackpool.

“Not only will this development add to the Houndshill’s shopping offer but it will also result in more jobs for local Blackpool people and importantly unlock a key part of our larger regeneration plan.

“This is another private company investing in the resort, which is great to see, and in turn it will open up the opportunity for the new tramway extension, terminal and hotel by Blackpool North Railway station to improve that area and create even more jobs for Blackpool locals.”

On the move

Wilko is set to relocate from Talbot Road to the new development, freeing up that land for a new hotel and tram station as part of the Central Business District.