Houndshill Phase Two CGI
A nine-screen cinema and a Wilko store are included in the second phase. Credit: via Blackpool Council

Graham starts work on Blackpool’s Houndshill expansion

Neil Tague

Ground has been broken by the contractor at the Tower Street car park to mark the start of the shopping centre’s phase two extension.

Graham’s start on site was enabled by three deals signed in February: the council’s acquisition of the car park, a lease agreement for a new 22,500 sq ft Wilko store and a deal with MMC Cinemas for a nine-screen, 40,500 sq ft multimedia cinema complex.

The phase two extension will also include two restaurants totalling 3,760 sq ft.

Blackpool Council acquired Houndshill for £47.6m in November 2019 as it sought to gain greater control of the town centre’s regeneration. Phase one, a 200,000 sq ft expansion including Debenham’s, New Look and Next, was completed by Modus in 2008.

CBRE is project manager and cost consultant on the phase two project. Enabling works will involve initial utilities diversion and site preparation.

Cllr Lynn Williams, leader of Blackpool Council said, “We are committed to diversifying and modernising the town centre to encourage residents and visitors to choose Blackpool as their main shopping centre of choice.”

HOUNDSHILL PHASE TWO START ON SITE

Members of the development team mark the start of enabling works. Credit: Martin Bostock

Williams added that the new facilities will “complement the existing shops at the Houndshill, boost both day and night time business, and increase the amount of time and money spent in the town centre.”

The overall scheme has been facilitated by £5m of funding from the Government’s Covid-19 Getting Building Fund, following formal approval by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership in October last year. Blackpool Council will fund the balance of the scheme through prudential borrowing.

MMC Cinemas is a start-up independent cinema brand founded by industry veteran John Sullivan, whose career includes time developing brands including Vue and founding UK cinema group The Light.

Sullivan said: “We’re not bringing a ready-made cinema brand to Blackpool; Blackpool will help to shape this flexible arts and community space.

“We’re already in discussions with local interest groups and we want to hear from more. This will be a place where people can come together and make use of this flexible space for education, leisure, shopping, entertainment, workspaces and so much more.”

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I do wish that this council would see through to the end of each new ‘improvement’ to our town. It has been obvious from the very start of this re-build of our town, that there is a distinctive lack of skilled builders who can work to plans and, move these buildings along. Long enough now our town has resembled one massive and disruptive builders yard! Little wonder people of Blackpool go out of the town for their ‘ shopping experience’! Come on, get the cement mixer and get those bricks made into a real shopping experience like the Blackpool l used to know.

By Anonymous

Regeneration of the area around and including the Central Drive area would be a better use of the money.This area is run down and neglected ,a disgrace to the town.Have the town planners ignored this area so close to the holiday area.

By A Gladwin.

A Gladwin. Funnily enough the Central Drive area – Revoe – haven’t ignored this area. The Southern Quarter/Revoe Community Sports Village is a project currently in its early stages – and it actually looks very promising. But there’s no harm in getting the new multimedia cinema underway.

By SW