A SPARKLING new look for the New Year!
As the town gets ready for another massive year plans for a dazzling new frontage have been unveiled for Blackpool’s iconic Tower.
Stained glass and terracotta tiling will be restored and a glass-fronted canopy put in place at the Promenade entrance to the landmark after planning permission was granted last week.
The work is expected to be completed over the next 12 months and windows have already been replaced in the upper floors of the Tower building.
Iain Hawkins, head of the Blackpool cluster for Tower operator Merlin, said: “We hope to start work as soon as possible.
“The stained glass and terracotta tiles all need to be individually made so there is a terrific amount of work to do.
“After taking off the old canopy, whatever we put on the front we wanted to make sure people would see the amazing heritage behind which is why we have gone for a more contemporary feel for the new canopy using glass.
“It will make the front of the Tower look fantastic and will complement the work done by the council in creating the Comedy Carpet and the new headland.”
And the headland will this year be home to the Illuminations Switch On ceremony which is celebrating its centenary year.
Richard Ryan, head of Illuminations, believes the return to its spiritual home combined with its anniversary year will lead to a spectacular event.
He said: “We are very excited about the centenary, it is a massive year for Blackpool with all the investment coming together on the Promenade.
“We have planned one or two big surprises for the year, I cannot say too much now, but I am very positive and think the new location for the Switch On is the perfect place.
“It will showcase the work to the Tower and we will once again excite visitors with a mix of old and new Illuminations, with it being our 100th birthday we can really embrace nostalgia I think.”
Work on a major regeneration scheme in the town centre will also start in 2012 and Blackpool bosses believe the ambitious plans will create a real buzz.
Sainsbury’s supermarket, along with the construction of new council offices, the refurbishment of Talbot Road multi-storey car park, and the resurfacing of the Banks Street car park, make up phase one of the £220m new Central Business District.
Town centre manager Eileen Ormond, said: “Although we are only talking about the very early stages of the redevelopment, work will start next year.
“The difference Sainsbury’s will make to the town will be phenomenal as it will increase footfall and we hope basing the council offices on the site will boost the early evening economy.”