Grundy Art Gallery extension, Blackpool Council, p planning

Blackpool Council wants to enhance the culture offering on the site of the library and Grundy Art Gallery - which sits at the corner of Abingdon Street and Queen Street. Credit: via planning documents

Blackpool firms up details on £10m cultural hub

Designs by Ellis Williams Architects flesh out the council’s proposals to reconfigure the central library, linking it to Grundy Art Gallery via a new two-storey extension.

The goal for Blackpool Council’s plans, submitted earlier this month, is to boost visitor numbers to the gallery and library, increase storage space for art and artefacts, add more public toilets, and expand activity space – as well as to provide needed repairs the buildings.

In order to accomplish this, the council is getting rid of the 38-space Queen Street car park that sits next to the two buildings. That is where the 5,700 sq ft extension will be built. Within its doors will be a visitor shop, gallery spaces, flex spaces for events and workshops, exhibition storage, toilets, and a lift to the first floor.

This extension would connect to the groundfloor of the Grundy and Central Library. This would see the Central Library’s ground floor adjusted to have self-contained toilets and changing spaces, a quiet room, a café, study areas, and a flexible workshop and event space. The mezzanine of the library would have its office space tweaked while the first floor will receive a series of acoustic improvements.

Blackpool Council has listed the entire project as having a price tag of £10m – funding for the scheme had not been fully secured as of January.

Lambert Smith Hampton is handling the planning process for the council, while Curtins is on board as structural engineer. RPS is the services engineer, Ridge is the lighting consultant, and Hydrock is the fire engineer. AEC is leading on acoustics while I-Transport is, as its name implies, in charge of the transport strategy.

You can learn more about the project by searching application reference number 24/0135 on Blackpool Council’s planning portal.

Blackpool’s cultural scene has received another boost recently – with the opening of The Backlot Cinema & Diner at Houndshill Shopping Centre earlier this month. The cinema, which has an IMAX screen, is part of the council’s £2bn growth and prosperity initiative. This programme also includes the £65m Blackpool Multiversity at Talbot Gateway and the 20-acre Silicon Sands data cluster.

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