Plans for 266-room Blackpool Winter Gardens set to get seal of approval

Proposals to build a new hotel primarily to serve the Winter Gardens Conference Centre look set to get the go-ahead.

The five-storey building with 266 bedrooms is earmarked for land between Alfred Street, Adelaide Street and Leopold Grove, which is currently used as a car park. Blackpool Council owns the site and is working on the development with C1 Capital, which manages hotels including three in London.

The plans are seen as key to Blackpool winning back the big party political conferences because it would enable a secure zone to be created encompassing the Winter Gardens and the hotel.

Outline planning permission is already in place for a 160-room hotel on the site, but the council’s Planning Committee is being recommended to approve a variation to allow the revised scheme to proceed.

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A council planning report says “for the larger political conferences where security is paramount, Leopold Grove can be closed to the public so delegates would not have to leave a secure zone”.

A footbridge connecting the hotel to the conference centre has been removed from the revised blueprint, and the number of parking spaces has been reduced to just 10 due to the bigger size of the hotel. But planners say this is acceptable because a new 600-space multi-storey car park is expected to be built on the site of the former Syndicate nightclub on nearby Church Street.

The report adds there is a need to provide a wider range of overnight accommodation for delegates and visitors to the conference centre. It says: “Whilst there are many hotels in the area, some with a very high-quality accommodation offer, most are smaller hotels and guest houses, and the town centre would benefit from a more diverse range of hotel accommodation to serve the conference centre.

“Politicians or people attending a conference on a business trip, for example, are likely to have differing accommodation and security requirements than a tourist. Being directly opposite the entrance to the conference centre, the application site is well located to serve the accommodation needs of conference delegates, who may, for example, require a suite with a desk so that they can work and attend virtual meetings from their accommodation etc.”

Blackpool Council bought the site for an undisclosed sum after it had been marketed for sale with a £3m price tag.

The application (reference 24/0131) is due to go before the Planning Committee on June 4.