Blackpool Council has made a bid to turn around the city’s fortunes by unveiling plans for a new Winter Gardens conference centre.
Next week, council executives will consider plans for the new facility at the famous Winter Gardens site and, if approved, will submit formal bids for external funding for the construction of a new conference venue on Leopold Grove, a former split level car park site.
The proposed new building will be home to catering facilities, a 130,000 sq ft exhibition hall with break-out space and a conference hall for 2,000 delegates.
The new site will be linked directly to both the Opera House and the Empress Ballroom to form a flexible venue which will have joint capacities of up to 7,000.
It is hoped that the scheme will put Blackpool back near the top of the major league conference market, although it is unlikely that all the spaces will be in use for conference purposes at any given time.
The outline scheme was worked out by architect Bissett Adams and the outlines have now been submitted for the planning stage.
The materials needed for construction will be agreed at a later date but the architect is currently looking at options around cast terracotta and ceramic finished which are in line with the materials used in the rest of the complex.
Leader of Blackpool Council, Cllr Simon Blackburn, said that the recent demolition of the Winter Gardens car park has given an unlikely chance to build on land which is already owned by the Council and connects two of the city’s most iconic venues directly.
“Much of the detail is yet to be resolved – but behind the scenes we have been talking to agencies like Historic England to make sure the development of designs protects the historic significance of the building whilst delivering the biggest economic impact possible,” Cllr Blackburn explained.