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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Blackpool's Progress in 2023

John Woodman

Contractors at work today adding Holiday Inn branding to the nearly completed hotel structure adjoining Blackpool North (and the North Station tram terminus hidden behind the building).

A leading global hospitality brand adds its corporate name and logo to the Talbot Gateway hotel which is in the final stages of completion, together with a world class restaurant to be inserted at ground level with its main entrance just behind the Service 14 BTS bus heading east on Talbot Road.

This is just one of several new investments taking place around the former Talbot Road Bus Station site with a major government office structure to begin construction in the new year.This will consolidate several government operations spread around Blackpool into a single building bringing over a thousand jobs into the town centre economy - and easing transport access for most of the office staffers. Blackpool's bespoke conference centre is now open a few minutes away to provide much needed modern facilities for small and mid size events - and giving emphasis to rail connectivity via Blackpool North.

Meanwhile the massive leisure development scheme approved for the former Central Station site and its later car parking area is beginning initial phase of work with a large multi level car park being constructed close to the King Edward public house and classic Picture House facade on Chapel Street and Central Drive. The latter two buildings being part of a conservation quarter which also takes in the former LMS railwaymen's hostel and apartment building erected in the 1930s.

Perhaps less attractive but nonetheless critical investment has seen the old Palatine building location transformed into a glass fronted restaurant and new museum of Blackpool's diverse entertainment past. With the excellent anchor hotel building on the old Yates Wine Lodge location - Talbot Square is beginning to regain a semblance of its earlier civic space, complete with trams traversing pass the Town Hall and along Talbot Road to the railway station terminus via a three way track junction across the Promenade. Of course there is still a long way to go before the town centre captures the hustle and bustle of its past decades and much needs to be done to clear away the tatt and downmarket tenants on Talbot Road's retail properties - but an important start has been made this year - with more compelling changes still to come. Certainly the town's planners have good reason to be proud of emerging quality investment taking up business opportunities in the town centre, throwing off the cheap and cheerful? image of the resort in favour of higher quality leisure and hospitality offer. With the tram extension finally becoming a reality (and all the traffic consequences this will bring on the Promenade and Dickson Road junction) we can visualise a much improved look to the town centre favouring even more investment takeup.

Thank you Holiday Inn for cementing your corporate logo on this component of the town;'s renaissance.


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