Blackpool’s huge boost as thousands move back into town centre office

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It is hoped the move will boost the economy as a result of the added footfall

 

A general view of Blackpool from above
A general view of Blackpool from above (Image: Getty)

The relocation of thousands of office workers back into Blackpool town centre has been hailed as a major milestone in the resort’s regeneration.

A deal to transfer more than 3,000 civil servants from Warbreck House in North Shore and Ryscar House in Bispham to a seven-storey office block which will be built in King Street was announced by the council last Wednesday.

It is hoped the investment, which represents phase three of the Talbot Gateway regeneration scheme, will boost the economy by increasing footfall.

Michael Williams, chairman of the Blackpool Business Improvement District (BID), said: “This is great news for Blackpool town centre as the offices will create additional footfall to support businesses on the high street and the early evening economy.

“Blackpool BID is committed to supporting this initiative and welcome the investment that will regenerate the area around King Street.”

Martin Long, chairman of the Blackpool Business Leadership Group which represents town centre traders including retailers and hospitality, said: “This is going to contribute substantially to the regeneration of the town centre.

“In the past we have seen an exodus of office workers out of the town centre but this is a step back in the right direction.

“With all the other regeneration projects which are part of the Talbot Gateway, it is another important piece of the jigsaw.”

Coun Tony Williams, leader of the Conservative group on the council, welcomed the investment but said he was concerned about the lack of parking.

He said: “It’s great we are getting the extra office space, but my worry is the parking.

“As much as we want people to use the tram or train, that’s not feasible for everyone.

“I understand the reasons for bringing workers into the town centre, but it doesn’t necessarily improve retail or the night time economy because people eat in the office canteen, and go home at night.”

The deal has also been welcomed by government chiefs including Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Thérèse Coffey, who said: “Moving more than 3,000 DWP staff into this state of the art sustainable building in Talbot Gateway will drive footfall in the town centre and support Blackpool’s economic growth as the country builds back better from the pandemic.”

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Cabinet Office Minister Steve Barclay said: “We’re getting on with the job of levelling up across the whole country and it’s fantastic to see this new hub in Blackpool consolidating jobs under one roof and making the public estate more efficient.

“I know Blackpool well, having grown up in Lancashire, and I’m optimistic the town will see significant economic benefits with a new flagship town centre office space driving footfall and breathing new life into the economy.”