New £7m bingo hall plans are set for pub site in Blackpool

The Swift Hound pub could be demolished and replaced with a bingo hall and drive-through restaurant in a £6.8m project.

Saturday, 21st April 2018, 12:30 pm
Updated Saturday, 21st April 2018, 12:31 pm
The Swift Hound is set to close and could now be demolished, papers said

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Plans lodged with Blackpool Council said the Flaming Grills eatery is ‘performing poorly’ and set to close down – with Club 3000 Bingo now set to move into a new 2,585sqm building.

Despite rumours of a Nando’s opening up on the Festival Retail Park, off Rigby Road, no name has yet been attached to the proposed cafe or restaurant.

Coun Tony Williams

Coun Tony Williams, opposition leader at the town hall, said: “I’m sorry we are losing another pub in the town, but the investment into improving the site is very welcome.”

The retail park is already home to an Odeon cinema, a Bannatyne’s gym, a McDonald’s with drive-through, and, across the road from the Swift Hound, a Frankie & Benny’s Italian-American diner.

With the Foxhall Village development being built nearby, Coun Williams said he believes the proposed development is in the right spot.

“It’s where the old Mecca used to be,” he added. “It’s in a good place.”

Coun Tony Williams

If the scheme is approved by planners, Club 3000 Bingo will spend £4m fitting out the new building after an almost two-year search of the resort for a suitable venue.

The building itself will cost £2.8m, an expense covered by the Cromwell Property Group, documents filed by applicant, Valad European Diversified Fund (Jersey) 14 Limited, showed.

A total of 55 full-time jobs would be made, while the number of car parking spaces at the site would be cut from 604 to 453 – though 45 new cycle spots, 18 new motorbike spaces, and an extra 21 disabled parking spaces are planned.

Other sites considered but deemed unsuitable were the former postal delivery office in Abingdon Street in the town centre, the old BHS store in Church Street, and offices in Bickerstaffe Square.

The Layton Institute and Empire Bingo Hall in Haweside Lane were also considered.

Around 50 residents and businesses were sent letters about the plans, as were ward councillors Jim Hobson and Graham Cain.

Coun Hobson raised concerns about anti-social behaviour, asking what will be done to stop it.

Pub to close

Greene King, which runs the Swift Hound under its Flaming Grills banner, said that no closing date has yet been decided.

The pub was named after the greyhound track that used to run round the edge of Blackpool Borough Rugby League Club’s Borough Park stadium.

Rugby was held there until 1987 when the now folded club moved to Wigan, but races were hosted until 1998, when the ground was flattened.