Phase two of Talbot Gateway to kick off in June

Work on the second phase of Blackpool’s £100m town centre regeneration will commence in the first week of June, the council said, around a month after the initial planned start date due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Robertson Construction Group was appointed main contractor to the project earlier this year by Blackpool Council and its development partner Muse Developments.

The second phase of work will see Robertson demolish Blackpool’s Wilko store, which stopped trading at the end of March, and car park, followed by the completion of a new tramway interchange at Blackpool North Station, underpass, a four-star 144-bedroom Holiday Inn hotel designed by Leach Rhodes Walker and operated by International Hotel Group, a restaurant and new retail outlets.

The work is expected to take around two years and the hotel is targeted to open in 2022, Blackpool Council said in a statement this week.

The first phase of Talbot Gateway, which completed in 2014, comprised the opening of a 120,000 sq ft council office building, 125,000 sq ft Sainsbury’s supermarket, and a refurbished 650-space multistorey carpark, as well as improvements to Bickerstaffe Square.

The car park features 20,000 sq ft of retail space on the ground floor and there is a further 10,000 sq ft on the ground floor of the council office building.

Cllr Simon Blackburn, leader of Blackpool Council, said: “This next phase of the development will offer brand new retail locations, an improved leisure offer to boost the night-time economy, offer more high-quality accommodation choice for leisure and business visitors alike and promote a more integrated and connected use of our transport system.

“We hope that all residents, businesses and visitors can benefit from the radical improvements being made not just at Talbot Gateway, but right across the town.”

The scheme is part of the wider £1bn regeneration of Blackpool, which includes the Houndshill extension, Blackpool Central, the Winter Gardens conference centre and the Airport Enterprise Zone.

The revised schedule of works for Phase Two of Talbot Gateway comes after Blackpool’s executive committee signed off additional funding for the scheme in March. At the time, the works were due to start in April, but demolition and construction activity had to be postponed because of the lockdown restrictions.

The proposed schedule, subject to any further delays due to the coronavirus crisis, includes:

  • Demolition of Wilko’s building, Talbot Road – June to December 2020
  • Construction of the high street underpass – November 2020 to 30th April 2021
  • Construction of the Holiday Inn Hotel – October 2020 to April 2022
  • Tram extension and track completion – January to May 2021

“As we emerge out of the current emergency crisis and into a period of recovery and rebuilding, it is important that we stay focused and committed to the delivery of ongoing regeneration projects throughout the town, to ensure the town is in the best possible place it can be to achieve economic recovery, improve long term resilience, create new opportunities and secure long-term jobs for the people of Blackpool,” Cllr Blackburn added.

Blackpool Council and Muse entered into a development agreement to regenerate Blackpool’s central business district in 2009.

Muse’s development director Mike Horner said: “It’s a proud moment for everyone involved at Talbot Gateway, as we take the next step on the journey to transform and re-energise the town centre, by delivering a landmark hotel and high-quality brand to strengthen the hotel offering in the town, and create a number of much-needed jobs in the process.”

Heightened health and safety measures will be enforced at the construction site amid the ongoing pandemic.

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