The council plans to exercise compulsory purchase powers to acquire land around King Street, close to Blackpool North train station, to pave the way for a 215,000 sq ft office scheme for an unnamed potential occupier.
A spokesperson for Blackpool Council said: “An organisation is currently expressing interest in a new large grade A town centre office accommodation. Within the King Street area, the council has identified an area [for the development] but negotiations to date have failed to achieve the voluntary acquisition of all the interests in the land required.”
Blackpool Council owns around 91% of the development site, including East Topping Street Car Park and the Hop Inn Public House, having acquired the majority of the properties and land over the last four years.
However, an additional acre outside the previously agreed boundary, comprising properties on King Street and Cookson Street, is required to bring forward the office building.
Discussions with landowners are ongoing but the council said “there is no reasonable prospect that the site can be assembled, in a timely fashion, without resorting to powers of compulsory acquisition”.
Originally earmarked for a car park, the site has now been identified by the council and regeneration specialist Muse Developments, the council’s development partner, as being suitable for commercial scheme.
This rethink followed the refurbishment of Talbot Road multistorey car park during the first phase of the £100m Talbot Gateway town centre regeneration project, which negated the need for another car park in the area.
“There is a compelling case in the public interest for the compulsory acquisition of interests in the land in order to facilitate the redevelopment of the King Street area, and it is considered that the rights enjoyed by existing landowners are outweighed by the public interest,” a report to Blackpool Council’s executive committee said.
An application for outline consent for the office scheme will be submitted before the end of the year, the report added.
The Talbot Gateway masterplan outlines provision for around 322,000 sq ft of office space, of which just over 100,000 sq ft was delivered as part of phase one of the scheme, comprising council offices at Bickerstaffe Square.
The proposed commercial development on King Street would deliver the remaining space.
The second phase of Talbot Gateway is currently underway and involves the demolition of the former Wilko store to make way for a 144-bedroom Holiday Inn.