A section of the Grade II listed building’s ceiling collapsed earlier this year and repairs are needed
An iconic Blackpool hotel which suffered a ceiling collapse is set to be repaired after permission was granted to fix the listed building.
Structural engineers visited the Imperial Hotel in January after part of the ceiling at the Palm Court restaurant collapsed.
The hotel, which is Grade II listed, was built in 1866/1867 but the north extension which houses the restaurant was built later in 1904 when a ground floor, basement and three upper floors were added.
The ground floor and basement projects forward of the main façade, and currently contains the larger part of the hotel restaurant on the ground floor, with a swimming pool under, which forms part of the hotel leisure club.
Remedial works are now needed to be carried out at the hotel which has been “exposed to the full force of storms from the Irish Sea” resulting in damage to the reinforced joists.
The plans reveal that without the work the “integrity of the structure” is threatened by the strong winds and salt spray.
Documents submitted with the application state: “The Imperial Hotel has occupied its prominent but exposed position on the sea front for over 150 years, and during that time has weathered storms, gales, high winds, salt spray and other issues that have over time caused both specfic damage to roofs and the more exposed elements of the building, plus a general level of disruption and deterioration which has meant that maintenance is a constant and ongoing problem and necessity to maintain the standards and appearance expected in such a prominent hotel.
“Some specific elements of the building appear more susceptible to weather conditions than others, and this is the case with the 1904 extension that forms the restaurant, where the more elaborate decorative elevations, closer proximity to the sea, and use of concrete floor and roof slabs with steel reinforced filler joists that are prone to corrosion in a damp and salty atmosphere has lead to severe rusting and expansion of the steel, with resultant cracking in the slabs and supporting brickwork.
“These cracks then admit more water, and the process and the deterioration accelerate, to the extent that it threatens the integrity of the structure.”
The repairs will stabilise and seal the rusting steelwork by “pressure injecting and encapsulating the rusting filler joists with a chemical sealant”.
It offers a three-tier traditional afternoon tea with all the trimmings and more.
Each tier is filled with scones, tarts, profiteroles, sandwiches and soups all made to delight the taste buds.
You’ll be spoilt for choice on what to pick to eat first.
East Lancashire Railway
What better way to enjoy afternoon tea than while travelling through the scenic Lancashire countryside.
Aboard a steam train, passengers can enjoy a beautiful 90 minute steam train ride through the Irwell Valley whilst drinking fizz alongside a selection of sandwiches, savouries, scones and cakes with unlimited tea and coffee.
An afternoon of refinery and sophistication is definitely on the cards aboard the Pullman-style carriages.
The Hop Inn in Blackpool is set for a new future costing millions of pounds
Work has started on converting part of the historic Hop Inn pub in Blackpool in to a dental surgery at a cost of £3.5m, with the historic frontage of the former watering hole retained.
The scheme is part of a bigger £100million investment to build a seven storey office block on land between East Topping Street, Cookson Street, King Street and Deansgate.
It is hoped to begin construction of the offices in March or April 2022 as part of the third phase of the Talbot Gateway masterplan.
The King Street dental practice is among buildings earmarked for demolition to make way for the redevelopment and will be relocated to what was the Hop Inn; and what was The Veevers Arms Hotel before it was known as that.
Blackpool Council chiefs have appointed the Blackpool Local Education Partnership, set up to handle real estate, as its strategic partnership contractor to undertake the detailed design and construction required to convert the Hop Inn.
Arrangements are also being made to provide a temporary relocation site for the dental practice if necessary while work is underway.
A council report says: “In order to secure the Talbot Gateway phase three development it is imperative that the council has vacant possession of the land as detailed in the planning application.”
It adds the dental surgery “must be relocated in the next eight months in order to deliver the new office building in sufficient time to meet the prospective tenant’s lease expiry deadlines”.
The report says it “is anticipated that the work on the new office block will start in March /April 2022”.
It adds: “The total estimated cost to undertake the enabling work, detailed design and construction work required to convert part of the old Hop Inn into a dental surgery is £3.5m.”
Planning permission was granted in March for the conversion of the locally listed Hop Inn.
The front facade of the building in its three storey form will be retained as a focal point for the public realm areas between it and the new offices.
A two to three storey extension will be built on the back of the building, with other parts of the back of the former pub demolished to make way for a surface-level car park.
Work stalled on the Foxhall Village housing development in Blackpool when contractor Hollinwood Homes went into administration
The £50m stalled Foxhall Village housing development has now formally been put into the ownership of Blackpool Council after a year of wrangling with the administrators.
Work stopped in October 2019 when contractor Hollinwood Homes went into administration with just 193 of the planned 410 homes built.
Now the council, which is the landlord of the site, has agreed to work exclusively with Great Places Housing Group to find a way to kickstart the development after securing it from administrators Price Waterhouse Cooper earlier in August.
The exclusivity agreement will be in place for a year while the complexities of the site are unravelled which includes checking the quality of the work done on partially finished properties.
A council report says: “The complexities have meant that the administrator has exhausted the options to dispose and has agreed to surrender the leases, thereby returning control back to the council.”
The report warns the administration “has left an information vacuum meaning it has not been possible to secure technical information in relation to the work undertaken”.
This means there is some uncertainty over the “proven quality for work to recommence. ”
It could mean some of the work already done “being condemned or require further undertakings to provide the necessary satisfaction to support the progression of the scheme.”
Foxhall Village is considered a flaship regeneration project by the council which assembled the site with the help of a £2.7m government grant, with work beginning in 2014.
Failed guesthouses were demolished to make way for the estate on two parcels of land between Central Drive, Rigby Road and Tyldesley Road where roads are named after Blackpool FC’s famous 1953 FA Cup winning team.
Great Places Housing Association already owns 79 homes on the site and is committed to a further 40 homes in the stalled phase three.
Police, paramedics, coastguard and the RNLI were called to the incident
A person has been pulled from the sea in a rescue operation at Blackpool.
Police, paramedics, a lifeboat crew, and coastguard officals were called to the incident near Central Pier at around 6.15am today.
It was reported that there was a person in the water.
RNLI Blackpool launched their D-Class lifeboat and managed to recover the person from the water and took them back to shore.
They were then passed into the care of awaiting paramedics from North West Ambulance Service.
HM Coastguard Lytham said: “We were called out at 06.17 to reports of a person in the water around the Central Pier area. We quickly arrived on scene and located the person, RNLI Blackpool launched one D-Class lifeboat and we conned them onto the person, the casualty was then recovered from the water and taken back to shore. They were then passed into the care of North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust. If you see a coastal emergency, dial and ask for the Coastguard!”
RNLI Blackpool added: “Our RNLI volunteers were called out at 6.15am this morning to a person in the sea at Central Pier. One D class lifeboat launched, found the person and brought them back to safety ashore. @NWAmbulance Blackpool Police & @HMCoastguard units also attended.”
As the Taliban continues its takeover of Afghanistan, thousands of citizens have been forced to flee their homes, and Blackpool, Wyre, and Fylde are among the places called on to provide a safe haven to those in desperate need.
A young Afghan refugee in Kabul
The Taliban seized power in the country two weeks before America was set to complete its withdrawal of troops following a war which spanned two decades.
Britain has opened its borders to Afghan people most at risk of persecution by the Taliban, and councils all over the country are being urged to provide shelter to such refugees.
Prime minister Boris Johnson promised around 20,000 Afghans who aided the British army are to be welcomed to the UK in coming years, with 5,000 of these expected to arrive in 2021.
He said: “We owe a debt of gratitude to all those who have worked with us to make Afghanistan a better place over the last 20 years.
“Many of them, particularly women, are now in urgent need of our help. I am proud that the UK has been able to put in place this route to help them and their families live safely in the UK.”
Armed fighters swept into Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital city, on Sunday. In a press conference two days later, the group looked forward to good relations with other countries, saying ‘animosities have come to an end and we would like to live peacefully’.
However, experts have warned that the country could again become a hotbed for terrorism.
Fears have also been raised about the future rights of Afghan women, as the Taliban promised to uphold such rights only ‘within the framework of Sharia’. Between 1996 and 2001, when the group controlled the country, strict rules were put in place in line with its interpretation of Sharia law, which included mandatory full-body burkas for women and a lack of education for girls over 10.
The new Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme will target women, children, and others under threat of persecution.
They will join other refugees from the Middle East and Northern Africa seeking sanctuary under the UK Resettlement Scheme, who could find new homes in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre.
Both Blackpool and Wyre Councils welcomed the prospect of helping incoming Afghan people.
A Blackpool Council spokesman said: “We work in partnership with our neighbouring authority, Lancashire, to support the resettlement of refugees across the region and to ensure that they have the support they need on arrival and while they settle in to their new community. We are working with the refugee team to assist in any way we can the additional pressure that the recent call to action has highlighted.”
A Wyre Council spokesman said: “Over the last four years Wyre Council has been pleased to offer support to 11 Syrian refugee families who we’ve helped to resettle in the borough. We are currently looking to extend our support of the Government’s UK Resettlement scheme and provide support for up to five further Syrian households every two years. Additionally we are now looking to see how we can support Government Afghan relocation schemes as the situation develops.
“Our priority is to ensure that any relocated families are safe and settled and do what we can to help them become part of the local community.”
Fylde Council was approached but declined to comment.
The temporary accommodation will contain office, refreshment facilities, training and meeting rooms and locker and changing facilities
NHS bosses have been given permission to build a temporary ambulance station in Blackpool while a new state-of-the-art hub is under construction.
Permission has already been granted for a new ambulance hub to be built on land in Wellington Road following the demolition of the existing station which is no longer fit for purpose.
While the new station is being built a temporary site will be required.
Documents submitted by the North West Ambulance Service with the planning application to Blackpool Council state: “The trust currently operates from five ambulance stations in the Blackpool area and provides both Paramedic Emergency Service and Patient Transport Services.
“This results in a number of challenges in the operational management of a dispersed workforce and provides significant duplication in stores, admin functions and estate provision.
“The trust’s property portfolio in the Blackpool area ages between the early 1950s to the mid 1980s and is currently in a poor state of repair.”
The North West Ambulance NHS trust is one of the largest ambulance trusts in England and provides services to a population of around seven million people across a geographical area of approximately 5,400 square miles.
The trust headquarters is in Bolton, and there are three area offices in Cheshire and Merseyside (Liverpool), Cumbria (Carlisle) and Lancashire (Preston) and there are 109 ambulance stations distributed across the region, three emergency operations centres (EOCs), one support centre, two PTS control centres, and two Hazard Area Response Team (HART) buildings (one being shared with Merseyside Fire and Rescue).
The plans reveal that in order to achieve its objectives the trust wants to move from a traditional ambulance station model to the more modern concept of a hub and all the benefits that this brings with it.
The trust also wants improved modern facilities for its staff and believes that this model will deliver best value for money and maximum efficiency.
The proposed development of the new Ambulance Hub will require the existing building to be vacated to a temporary ‘decant village’ on the former hospital site at Devonshire Road.
The temporary accommodation will contain office, refreshment facilities, training and meeting rooms and locker and changing facilities. There will also be a store of consumables with the main building and a separate external cage for gas bottle storage.