Blackpool’s Wilko store is due to be demolished in April to make way for an £18m extension to the tram network as part of Muse Developments and the council’s Talbot Gateway regeneration project.
There was uncertainty over the scheme for some time after negotiations over a new home for Wilko stalled when the owners of Houndshill Shopping Centre, the proposed site of the store, went into receivership. The future of the shopping centre was secured in November 2019 when the council acquired it for £47m from BCC Eiffel.
Speaking at Place North West’s Lancashire Development Update event, Blackpool Council’s growth and prosperity programme director, Nick Gerrard, announced the start date after what he described as a “difficult time not being able to tell people about what we were doing”.
A four-star, 144-bedroom Holiday Inn, designed by Leach Rhodes Walker, will be built as part of the £100m redevelopment of the area, while Wilko is to take up space in the Houndshill extension.
The demolition of Wilko, which sits close to Blackpool North train station, will facilitate the construction of a tram terminal joining the existing route along the promenade with the train station.
Improvements to the station will also form part of the project with an underpass and new restaurant also proposed.
An announcement on the contractor for the £17m hotel is expected this month. Work on the tramway is already underway.
The first phase of the development, which completed in 2014, saw the construction of a 125,000 sq ft council office building, a 120,000 sq ft Sainsbury’s and a refurbished 650 space multi-storey carpark as well as improvements to Bickerstaffe Square.
There is 20,000 sq ft of retail space on the ground floor of the car park and a further 10,000 sq ft on the ground floor of the council office building.
The scheme is part of the wider £1bn regeneration of the town which includes the Houndshill extension, Blackpool Central, the Winter Gardens conference centre and the Airport Enterprise Zone.