Nine-screen cinema in place of hotel plan for Blackpool town centre
Plans have been revealed to build a nine-screen cinema in Blackpool town centre which would include an IMAX movie theatre.
The Light Cinemas group is set to operate the new attraction which would be part of phase two of the Houndshill Centre.
The proposals are included in a fresh planning application for land between Tower Street and Coronation Street opposite the Winter Gardens.
Previously the site has been earmarked for a hotel, with a Wilko’s store on the ground floor. But a new application has seen the hotel plan ditched in favour of a cinema on the first and second floor of the proposed building.
Wilko’s would occupy the ground floor, along with a restaurant opening onto Coronation Street.
Hector Black, a director of Edinburgh-based architect Covell Matthews which has designed the scheme, said developers hoped the investment would add to the vibrancy of the town centre.
He said: “We are looking to bring a high quality development to Blackpool which will complement the neighbouring Winter Gardens and conservation area. It is quite a bold approach but the planners and Historic England have been very supportive.
“A cinema operator has been lined up and this will be an important attraction which will help the vibrancy of the centre of the town.”
The new building would be clad in polished ceramic tiles which would reflect their surroundings, including the architecture of the Winter Gardens.
The entrance corner would be fully glazed with features including ceramic ‘fins’ to soften the flat surfaces.
Inside, a mezzanine first floor would boast three screens, with another five screens on the second floor. The IMAX cinema would span the first and second floors.
Film-goers could use existing parking at the Houndshill Centre, although many customers are expected to be holiday-makers staying in nearby hotels.
A design statement accompanying the application says: “The site represents an excellent opportunity to redevelop a complementary retail, cinema and restaurant extension to the existing Houndshill Shopping Centre.”
Buildings on the Tower Street site were demolished in 2010, and the car park currently operating on the land was opened. Outline planning permission for a four storey mixed use building including retail, food and leisure use was granted in March 2016.
In October 2016, detailed plans were submitted proposing a 56-bedroom hotel for the upper floors of the building, with Wilko’s beneath.
That application was withdrawn and superseded by the current application which no longer includes a hotel.
It is expected to go before Blackpool Council’s planning committee in September.
Houndshill phase two has been on the cards for more than a decade
Wilko’s is set to move from its current base in Talbot Road after the council acquired that site for the second phase of the Talbot Gateway business district.
Detailed plans to replace Wilko’s with a six storey four-star hotel with 142 bedrooms were approved by the council earlier this month.
Phase two of the Houndshill Centre has been on the cards since 2006 when plans, now lapsed, including shops and a 63-bedroom hotel were approved.
The latest scheme aims to ‘provide a new anchor use to the Houndshill Centre’ as well as ‘revitalise Coronation Street’ according to the application documents.
Covell Matthew Architects is working for the applicant which is BCC Eiffel Ltd.