Talbot Gateway is the £220m scheme which began the redevelopment of the area around Talbot Road. When complete, it will comprise 85,000 square metres of new office and business space, hotels, shops, cafes and restaurants. Transforming Blackpool town centre around Talbot Road, Cookson Street and Larkhill Street.
Blackpool Council and Muse Developments have been working in partnership to develop the Central Business District since entering into a Development Agreement back in March 2009.
A project in two phases
Planning consent for phase one was granted in October 2011. It included the new council office building, remodelled multi-storey car park and Sainsbury’s store.
The first phase of the project began in 2012 with the clearance of buildings on land which is now Bickerstaffe Square. Instead of derelict buildings and wasteland (see below), it’s now the Sainsbury’s supermarket and Blackpool Council offices. More than 1,000 public and private sector employees now work there. The buildings were designed by Aedas Architects and built by Eric Wright Construction.
The second phase of the project began with the construction of the rails for the tramway on Talbot Road in 2018/19. After various delays, the demolition of Wilkinson’s to enable the construction of the new transport interchange, hotel and associated buildings was due to get underway in Spring 2020.
Then the coronavirus pandemic unfortunately took hold…
The photos on this page are all copyright to Live Blackpool/Visit Fylde Coast unless stated otherwise.
Phase 2 Works at Talbot Gateway to Begin
On 13 March 2020 Blackpool Council announced that approval is being sought for the next phase of the Talbot Gateway Regeneration Scheme. Works could be underway within a matter of weeks.
A funding proposal went before Blackpool Council’s Executive on March 23. It will facilitate the demolition of the existing Wilko store as well as the completion of the new tramway interchange at Blackpool North Station. Works will also include a new underpass, four-star Holiday Inn and restaurant, and new retail and leisure facilities.
The above photo is an artist’s impression looking from Bickerstaffe Square towards the sea along Talbot Road. The new buildings replace this corner that we see today –
Closure of Wilkinson’s
Wilko was due to close at the end of March 2020. Subject to the Executive agreeing a revised budget of £34.6m, demolition was due to start on site within weeks. The revised budget reflects inflationary increases in the construction programme and additional works including more rooms in the hotel.
Building a Holiday Inn
Blackpool Council has entered into a franchise agreement with International Hotel Group (IHG) for the 144-bedroom Holiday Inn. It is due to open in 2022, creating up to 50 full-time jobs.
Phase Two of Talbot Gateway will continue to transform an important entrance to the town, and highlights the excellent commercial opportunities that this town has to offer. After welcoming The Holiday Inn brand to Blackpool, more internationally successful, recognised brands will follow in their wake.
Phase 2 Development
This next phase of the development will offer:
- brand new retail locations,
- an improved leisure offer to boost the night-time economy,
- more high-quality accommodation choice for leisure and business visitors
- promote a more integrated and connected use of our transport system.
Residents, businesses and visitors will be able to enjoy and benefit from the radical improvements being made not just at Talbot Gateway, but right across the town.
Phase 1 of Talbot Gateway
Phase 1 includes the new Sainsbury’s store and multi storey car park plus petrol filling station. New offices were built, for both public and private use, and the new plaza, now known as Bickerstaffe Square.
There’s improved access to the railway station, along with improvements to highways, infrastructure, public realm and car parking.
It was back in November 2011 when Sainsbury’s was officially named as the supermarket to occupy the new flagship food store. Back then the redevelopment was known as Blackpool’s new Central Business District.
The store is 120,000 sq ft with 600 parking spaces, and employs around 300 people – 70% of which are full time. The partners involved in this project worked with Blackpool Build Up to give local residents an opportunity to work there during the construction phase. After a 12 week fit out, it opened on 23 July 2013.
The store complements the style of the adjacent new office building. The main facade has a stunning sweeping glass frontage, facing onto Talbot Road and the railway station.
More than 800 Blackpool Council staff occupy the offices at Number One Bickerstaffe Square. It’s a 125,000 sq ft building that’s not only modern and attractive, but also extremely energy efficient.
Talbot Road Car Park
Talbot Road Car Park has an extensively refurbished interior and exterior. It has 650 parking spaces and retail units on the ground floor.
Blackpool Council ran a competition to name the public space in the main area of the Central Business District. Students from Blackpool Sixth Form College and Unity College came up with the name ‘Bickerstaffe Square’.
John Bickerstaffe was the man who commissioned the building of The Blackpool Tower in 1891. To name this new public space after him is a fitting way to immortalise the name for future generations.
Phase one construction work at Talbot Road Gateway was completed in 2014.
The tramway extension at Talbot Road is now completed from the promenade at North Pier to the front door of Wilkinson’s!
Demolition of the current store makes way for a transport interchange and new hotel accommodation.
How the Development of Talbot Gateway Happened
It’s amazing how quickly you forget the way that things once looked. So in this next section we’ve gathered together some information and photos from the very beginning of the Talbot Gateway project, and it’s construction phase. Here’s what the land looked like then. Wasteland and old buildings.
The plan at the outset was to create a new, £220 million Talbot Gateway Central Business District. With new retail, commercial and community space for Blackpool, in addition to town centre parking and transport facilities.
The masterplan included a new public square, offices, restaurant and retail units, a new supermarket which was pre-sold to Sainsbury’s and three hotels.
In the beginning…
This information was published before building work began at Talbot Gateway. See that the vision in the original master plan is now (2019) close to being realised. Take a look at the artists impressions –
Breaking the Ground
A special ground breaking ceremony took place in Blackpool to mark the start of construction on the Talbot Gateway Central Business District (CBD) scheme. Pictured below:
- Muse Developments regional director, Mike Horner
- Cllr Gary Coleman, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Development, Blackpool Council
- John Wilson, managing director, Eric Wright Construction
Mike Horner said: “Today is the first step towards realising the transformation of this part of central Blackpool into a vibrant commercial district. This is the first phase of a comprehensive scheme which will revitalise this important gateway to the town’s Blackpool North Station.
“We are looking forward to working closely with our partners at Blackpool Council to bring about this much needed change for the benefit of all visitors but particularly local residents and businesses.”
The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) invested £7.5m in the scheme.
Construction Photos from Talbot Gateway Phase One
Visit Fylde Coast took lots of photos at various points during the construction work. Take a look at some of them below.
They begin with the area at what was once the traffic lights outside Wilkinson’s before work began. It’s now the little roundabout between Talbot Road Car park and Bickerstaffe Square.
Take a look through sequential phases of construction. Enjoy!
Construction Work in early 2013
By now work on Number 1 Bickerstaffe Square (the offices) is well underway. Work at Talbot Road Car Park (left of shot) is ongoing.
By now, the buildings are well and truly taking shape. We can see how the finished development will eventually look.
In the next aerial photo, you can see the large roof of the supermarket on the left and the distinctive architecture of the offices in the centre. Right of shot is the car park.