Blackpool approves DWP office and £25m Abingdon Street hotel 

The 215,000 sq ft civil service hub, as well as Ashall Projects’ plan to convert an 111-year-old post office into a 148-bedroom Indigo hotel were both granted planning consent on Tuesday. 

DWP’s Talbot Gateway hub 

Talbot Gateway 2, Muse, P Muse

More than 3,000 staff are to move into the office. Credit: via Muse Developments

Developer: Muse Developments in partnership with Blackpool Council  

Architect: Make Architects 

Planner: Avison Young  

Last week, Muse Developments and Blackpool Council finally agreed a deal with the Department for Work and Pensions to relocate 3,000 civil servants into the £50m Talbot Gateway building.  

The 215,000 sq ft building has long been earmarked for a government occupier, but the council had declined to confirm rumours that the office would house civil servants relocating from offices in and around Blackpool.  

Leases on sites around the Fylde coast currently occupied by the DWP are due to expire soon, prompting the need for a new hub in line with government’s desire to streamline its UK administrative functions.  

The seven-storey civil service hub is to be constructed on a 2.4-acre site bounded by Deansgate, King Street, Cookson Street, Charles Street and East Topping Street. 

The project is the latest element of the £350m Talbot Gateway to come forward. The scheme aims to create a new 1.1m sq ft central business district and civic quarter in Blackpool town centre.  

So far, a 125,000 sq ft Sainsbury’s supermarket close to Blackpool North train station has been delivered, along with a 120,000 sq ft office development, No1 Bickerstaffe Square.     

In addition, contractor Robertson is on site delivering a 144-bedroom Holiday Inn hotel on the site of the former Wilko store. Nearby, John Sisk & Son is working to link up the promenade tramway with Blackpool North train station, creating an interchange building and terminus.  

Indigo Hotel 

Old Post Office, Blackpool, Ashall's Property

The project could benefit from £7m from the Levelling Up Fund. Credit: Newsmaker PR

Developer: Ashall Projects  

Architect/planner: Franklin Ellis Architects   

Cheshire-based Ashall Projects is to convert the grade two-listed post office building on Abingdon Street into a 148-bedroom hotel.    

The developer is working in partnership with Blackpool Council and Indigo Hotels Group to deliver the scheme, which is the subject of a Levelling Up Fund bid.  

The council is waiting for the outcome of that bid, which, if successful, could help plug a £7m viability gap identified by CBRE. 

The post office opened in 1910 and closed in 2007.  Many of its original features, including its marble floors, would be retained under Ashall’s plans, designed by Franklin Ellis Architects.   

Ashall Projects has previous experience developing hotels, including the £18m Aloft in Liverpool; the former Royal Insurance building on North John Street was converted into a 116-bedroom hotel in 2013.   

The Blackpool hotel will employ around 70 staff once complete, according to Ashall.

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