Blackpool hunts for architect for Talbot Gateway campus

Blackpool Council is looking to appoint a design practice to draw up a masterplan for a higher education facility next to Blackpool North train station, as part of the ongoing regeneration of Talbot Gateway. 

The council has launched a tender for a £120,000 contract to draw up the masterplan and delivery programme for the Multiversity Campus to be built in conjunction with Fylde College, which has six sites across the Fylde coast. 

A firm is expected to be appointed in October and the contract will last for 12 months. 

Speaking to Place North West, Blackpool Council’s head of regeneration, Alan Cavill said the multiversity concept was based around collaboration between the institution and local businesses to ensure that students are being given the skills they need to prepare them for work once they graduate.

He said it would help to address the “shortfall in skills in the area” so that local businesses can attract the skills they need.

While no fixed figure for the scheme has been calculated, its is expected to cost “tens of millions of pounds”, according to Cavill.

The plan forms part of the Talbot Gateway redevelopment being carried out by urban regeneration specialist Muse Developments. 

The first phase of the scheme, which completed in 2014, included the opening of a 120,000 sq ft council office building, 125,000 sq ft Sainsbury’s supermarket, and a refurbished 650-space multistorey car park, as well as improvements to Bickerstaffe Square.  

The second phase will see the demolition of the former Wilko store and creation of a 144-bed hotel in its place, designed by architects Leach Rhodes Walker and operated by International Hotel Group. 

A new tramway interchange at Blackpool North Station, as well as a restaurant and new retail outlets, are also included in the plans. 

Contractor Robertson won the £21m contact to build the second phase and work is due to complete in April 2022.

Phase three of the scheme includes a “large scale office development”, according to the council.

Blackpool this week received £8m for two town centre projects – the extension of Houndshill Shopping Centre and the refurbishment of Abingdon Street Market, from the Government’s Getting Building Fund. 

The council followed this win with a £50m bid to Whitehall’s Towns Fund, intended to speed up delivery of developer Nikal’s £300m leisure scheme in the town centre by funding the relocation of the Magistrates’ Court that currently occupies the development site. 

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