Talbot Gateway plans approved

Michael Hunt

Blackpool Council's planning committee last night passed Muse Development's £220m scheme.

The proposals include 330,000 sq ft of offices alongside a 90,000 sq ft supermarket, four hotels, shops, cafes and restaurants around Blackpool North Station and Talbot Road. There will also be residential units and a doctor's surgery.

The scheme will be anchored by new 85,000 sq ft headquarters offices for Blackpool Council which is seeking to centralise many of its services and move 1,200 staff to the Talbot Gateway site.

Muse hopes to start on site in 2011. Phase one will consist of the supermarket and council offices together with new public realm and infrastructure works.

Mike Horner, regional director at Muse, said: "The Talbot Gateway development is a key component of the new era which Blackpool is facing and we are delighted that the application has been recommended for approval. The development will completely transform this part of Blackpool, providing a much needed catalyst for the ongoing regeneration of the town centre.

"The creation of a vibrant new commercial district around the train station with supporting retail and leisure facilities, as well as huge improvements to the public realm, will create hundreds of new jobs and retain many successful businesses in the town centre. It will also help attract new investment, and new occupiers and visitors to the town."

Doug Garrett, chief executive of ReBlackpool, said: "It's great news for the town that the planning application for the Talbot Gateway scheme has progressed positively. The £220m regeneration project will deliver an impressive arrival experience for those coming into Blackpool by rail and ultimately will create employment and further opportunities for investment in the local economy."

The developer was appointed for the 35-acre project in April 2007 and submitted planning applications in December last year.

Gary Halman, partner at HOW Planning which submitted the planning application on behalf of Muse, said: "It's a high quality scheme which ticks all the boxes in terms of large regeneration projects; mixed-use, brownfield land and exceptionally well served by public transport; one which will transform this rather unloved part of the town centre."

The scheme is being delivered in partnership with Blackpool Council, ReBlackpool and the North West Development Agency.

In January, significant grant funding believed to be in excess of £20m was approved by the NWDA.

The project will be delivered in phases and the NWDA will review each phase to ensure value for money. The agency and Muse have agreed an employment policy that ensures local people will benefit from the construction phases as much as possible.

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