Blackpool Civil Service Hub
The seven-storey office is designed by Make Architects

Muse eyes approval for Blackpool civil service hub  

Dan Whelan

Blackpool Council’s development partner is seeking consent for a 215,000 sq ft office on King Street, to be occupied by an unnamed Government department. 

It is not yet known whether the £50m office would be occupied by a Government department relocating to the North from London, or if the end-users would be divisions already based in Blackpool, including the Department for Work and Pensions and the Ministry of Defence. 

When approached by Place North West, the council declined to comment on the potential occupier and said talks were ongoing.

The office, part of Muse Development’s Talbot Gateway masterplan, will not be built speculatively and construction would only start if an agreement had already been signed with an occupier, according to the council.

Muse Developments submitted outline plans for the office building last December and is in the process of appointing a lead contractor for the project.

Under proposals designed by Make Architects, a 2.4-acre site bounded by Deansgate, King Street, Cookson Street, Charles Street and East Topping Street, would be redeveloped into a seven-storey office block. 

If approved, the scheme could house up to 1,735 staff, according to a planning statement prepared by consultancy Avison Young. 

A medical centre and a dental surgery also feature in Muse’s plans. The latter, for which full approval is sought, would be located within the refurbished Hop Inn public house fronting Cookson Street. 

Architect Cassidy + Ashton is lined up to design the redevelopment of the Hop Inn and Eric Wright Construction is attached as contractor.

An area of public realm would dissect the Hop Inn building and the office development.

The King Street site was originally earmarked for a car park under the Talbot Gateway masterplan, but the refurbishment of Talbot Road multistorey car park during the first phase of the scheme prompted a rethink and the site was subsequently identified as being suitable for commercial development. 

The council owns the vast majority of the site but announced its intention to exercise compulsory purchase powers to acquire additional properties on King Street and Cookson Street that would be demolished under the proposals.

Blackpool Council’s planning committee will discuss the plans on 16 March.

The office project is the latest in Muse and Blackpool Council’s Talbot Gateway scheme, which has already seen the construction of a 125,000 sq ft Sainsbury’s supermarket close to Blackpool North train station, and a 120,000 sq ft office development, No1 Bickerstaffe Square.  

The second phase of Talbot Gateway is currently underway and involves the demolition of the former Wilko store opposite the train station to make way for a 144-bedroom Holiday Inn hotel. 

 

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Why does Blackpool, an entertainment and holiday area, need offices. What it does need is easy access to CAR PARKING and plenty of it. Some decent restaurant’s and a good old clean up and some modernisation

By Brenda

I don’t know much about this so do forgive my ignorance, but is the grey box the massing for it? Is that the tower in-front of it? Surely not…

By The Squirrel's Nuts

@Brenda. Blackpool needs offices (and other alternative employment sites) for a mixed local economy, especially out-of-season. To Blackpool Council’s credit, it has been pretty good at keeping, growing and modernising its non-hospitality sites. It has also improved its hotel and dining scene, though I agree this could be potentially even better. Still, the town is generally heading in the right direction overall. There will be a new multi-story built in the centre very soon. Now, just to extend the tram system to other parts of the Fylde Coast.

@The Squirrel’s Nuts. Yes, that CGI did make me laugh with the Tower apparently appearing in front of the mass! I suspect we will have the full CGI details of the building’s skin before long.

By Steve Webberley

Brenda, have you ever been into Blackpool during the winter months when it’s out of season? Blackpool needs to diversify and not just rely on dwindling tourism. It needs a mix of workers, students and tourism all keeping the town centre afloat. Offices like this should have been built years ago but it’s all about funding. Completely agree with you about a clean up and more restaurants though, hopefully by building offices like the above that will create a bit of a demand.

By Scott D

Dear Brenda
Dont you think that people want jobs that last a whole year, and not just the season. Isnt Blackpool one of the most deprived towns ?

By Anon

Considering they have started to demolish part of Cookson street, and surrounding area, despite what the Clowncil state it looks like a done deal, And why move people from perfectly good office accommodation (ie works and pensions) in to the town centre, with no onsite parking.. leaving more empty office space abandoned, like Mexford house, and prudential house, The general consensus is this and other developments, are not what the town needs…

By pete

The ‘what do we need anything new attitude’ is one reason why Blackpool hasnt moved forwards for 50 years. Do you seriously think any one is going to let either of these hideous ancient buildings. Blackpool needs everything anyone will offer it.

By Anon

I think it’s great if they are relocating a government department to Blackpool to create more jobs but
surely an office building like this would have been better sited on the old Devonshire Road Hospital site where there are car parking facilities plus it’s still near the train station and the town . I agree with Brenda Blackpool generally is a holiday destination and should keep that identity.

By Joe