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Houndshill Phase 2 development set to commence from early September

Written by on 27/08/2021

The much-anticipated second phase of the Houndshill development is set to begin in September as Blackpool Council’s plans for town centre regeneration move forward. 

The council acquired the Houndshill Shopping Centre in November 2019 as part of its strategy for regeneration in the town centre. In February 2021, it was revealed that a trio of deals had been signed relating to the second phase of the development project. This included the completion of the purchase by the council of the Tower Street Car Park Site, enabling the development of (and lease agreements with): 

  • Tower Cinemas (Blackpool) Ltd, trading as MMC Cinemas, for a unique cinema/conferencing and entertainment centre providing an 850 seat venue, with nine state-of-the-art digital screens, including a giant PLF (Premium Large Screen Format) IMAX-ready central screen, set to be the largest in the North West, within a 40,500 sq ft unit. Designs also include flexible seating to allow screens to double as conference venue spaces, designated incubator space for the region’s digital and media start-up businesses, and an e-sports café. 

  • Wilko, for the return of the hardware and household retailer on the site of Tower Street Car Park. Wilko, formerly located at the old Fine Fare building on Talbot Road, will take a 15-year lease with the council on the new, purpose-built 22,500 sq ft unit 

The overall scheme, which will also include two new restaurants, has been facilitated by £5m of funding from the government’s COVID-19 Getting Building Fund, following formal approval by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) in October 2020. Blackpool Council is funding the remaining balance of the scheme. 

From 6 September, main contractor Grahams is set to begin construction on the site of Tower Street Car Park, which will close at the end of August to allow the project to progress. Hoardings are to be installed prior to construction commencing and, as work starts, there will be some changes to the road layout. 

As of Monday 6 September: 

  • The section of the northbound carriageway of Coronation Street which runs adjacent to the development site at Tower Street Car Park will be closed to traffic 

  • A temporary three-way signal system around the junction of Coronation Street and Adelaide Street will control traffic past the site, ensuring that access to and from Houndshill Car Park, the M&S collection point and the staff entrance to the Winter Gardens is maintained 

The new measures are expected to remain in place until December 2022, after which point the main hoardings will either be removed or moved back so that the highway is safe to fully reopen. Ahead of the anticipated start date, the council is working closely with Houndshill Shopping Centre to advise residents and visitors to be mindful of the changes and plan their travel accordingly, including parking arrangements. 

Houndshill Car Park sees an increased volume of visitors during seasonal periods such as Christmas, as well as when major events take place in and around the town centre. As a result of the temporary changes, anyone using the car park or accessing nearby areas (including the M&S collection point and Winter Gardens staff entrance) may experience increased congestion on entry and exit. 

Both Blackpool Council and Houndshill Shopping Centre will continue to monitor the situation and advise town centre visitors that there may be some delays in the area, particularly during the busier periods. Reminders will also be in place inside the shopping centre, including at all entry and exit points as well as on the large internal screen. Retail tenants will be notified of the temporary measures, as will delivery services who need access to the nearby area. 

  • Alternative short-stay and long-stay car parks are available across the town, including pay and display on-street parking in the vicinity and nearby open-air car parks at East Topping Street, Bonny Street and Central, as well as West Street multi-storey 

  • There is also a Park and Ride weekend offer, provided by the council and Blackpool Transport Services, which will to run until 19 September. Operating from Blackpool Airport, the Park and Ride offers all day parking and unlimited use of Blackpool Transport buses and trams. Tickets are £15 per car and available via the BTS app.  

Cllr Lynn Williams, Leader of Blackpool Council, said: “Construction is soon set to start on this key development, which will help to transform the town centre, create jobs and improve our retail and leisure output. 

In order for work to be carried out safely, the site and access to it requires that half of the carriageway must be closed. We will be installing temporary smart lights which are very effective at detecting congestion and keeping traffic flowing as efficiently as possible, but we want people to be aware that there’s a major project taking place here, which means access might be affected at busier times. 

Naturally, there will be some occasions where there’s a build-up of vehicles, so please plan your journeys and consider alternate parking where appropriate.  

We thank everyone for their patience and can’t wait to see these much-anticipated plans become a reality over the coming months. 

Debbs Lancelott, Centre Manager at Houndshill Shopping Centre, added: “Ever since the detailed plans were revealed, we’ve been excited to see the project progress. 

 “We remain open as normal and have a fantastic selection of more than 50 national and independent retailers who are all looking forward to welcoming shoppers and diners over the coming months. 

 “After a challenging 18 months, we’re delighted to see an increase of families visiting Blackpool for both shopping and entertainment and it’s heartening to see the town effectively coming back to life. The Houndshill car park is a popular choice not just for shoppers, but for theatregoers and visitors to the Illuminations too. With that in mind, we expect that there may be some delays when exiting the car park at peak times as the sheer volume can sometimes cause delays. 

“Our staff are on hand to assist shoppers during these times, ensuring that we maintain our services to the highest standard possible.” 

For more information on car parking in Blackpool town centre, visit www.blackpool.gov.uk/CarParks  

Find out more about Blackpool’s regeneration plans by visiting www.blackpool.gov.uk/BetterBlackpool