Work to start on £400K bar revamp project

The former Tower Lounge entrance
The former Tower Lounge entrance
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Work is expected to begin soon to strip out the former Tower Lounge bar in preparation for a new operator.

An application for listed building consent has been submitted to Blackpool Council in preparation for the work to go ahead.

Experts believe there is nothing of historic value left in the interior of the venue which closed last November.

The council is borrowing £400,000 for the revamp of the premises which is leaving its party bar past behind to re-open as a family venue although the new operator is yet to be announced.

Joan Humble, chairman of Blackpool Civic Trust, said the application had been discussed at their meeting this week.

She said: “The present proposal to take out the panelling is not removing anything of historic value.

“This is a first step to look at the condition of the area.

“But as a Civic Trust, we will be looking very carefully at what proposals come forward for the Tower Lounge as Blackpool Tower is a Grade I listed building and we want to make sure any future use is in keeping with the historic nature of this icon of Blackpool.”

The work will include removing features including marble, mirrors and teacup lights and it is hoped these can be reclaimed for re-use.

Internal cladding will be removed from the ceilings and walls to bring the space back to its shell, and any asbestos will be removed.

Anything of architectural merit which is uncovered will be identified and protected.

The Tower Lounge was created in 1956 but the current interior dates predominantly from the 1980s, while the original interior which dates back to around 1900 – when the venue opened as the Tower Restaurant – was removed after being damaged in a fire.

A report submitted by contractor cds-wilman with the application, says “the strip out works are necessary for all involved to carefully assess what best way to protect the integrity of the building and make sure new proposals fully understand the existing context.”

It adds: “The addition of a landmark restaurant in this currently vacant, high profile location will provide a much needed boost to the locality”.

Since the bar called time last November, the council and Tower complex operator Merlin have been working to bring the site into a use considered more “appropriate” to the rest of The Tower.