Syndicate nightclub demolition delays cost Blackpool Council £116k

The Syndicate building
The Syndicate building
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Delays in demolishing the former Syndicate nightclub have cost Blackpool Council the best part of £116,000 in the last financial year.

The sum represents the revenue lost due to the site’s failure to be converted into an income-generating car park.

Tony Williams

Tony Williams

A treasury report to the council’s executive last month says for the last financial year (2014/15) there is a shortfall in the authority’s investment portfolio of £116,000 which “is primarily due to the costs of a delay in the demolition of the Syndicate.”

The scheme had been held up due to legal issues surrounding a telecoms mast on the building on Church Street.

These have now been resolved and for the last few weeks demolition has been moving ahead, and is expected to be completed in about two months time.

An electricity sub-station has also been removed from East Topping Street car park as part of the work.

The reason is that the site was not operating as a car park as soon as we had anticipated

Alan Cavill, assistant chief executive at Blackpool Council, said: “The overspend is not on the cost of the demolition.

“The reason is that the site was not operating as a car park as soon as we had anticipated.

“Work is now continuing and should be completed in a couple of months time.”

Mr Cavill added the council had had to wait for Electricity North West to remove the sub-station.

Around £200,000 has been saved from the cost of demolition because the contractor is recycling the materials it is removing from the building which is also why the process has been slower.

The building, which was formerly the ABC cinema, was bought by the council in April 2013 for £635,000.

It is proposed to create a 59-space car park on the site.

The full cost of the project is around £1.1m.

Council chiefs borrowed the money over 50 years at a repayment rate of £93,000 a year due to be paid out of the car park revenue.

A lease was in place to Hutchinson 3G UK Ltd for use of a telecoms mast on the club until December 31 2021.

Coun Tony Williams, leader of the Conservatives on Blackpool Council, has criticised the purchase of the property.

He said: “The Syndicate saga has been dragging on for far too long. It was a bad buy in the first place with very little thought or assessment being made of the problems before the council stuck its hand up at auction.

“The council always underplays overspends so my guess is that this whole project will become a money pit and ultimately a white elephant.”

The building dates back to the 1890s when it opened as the Empire before the new owner renamed it the Hippodrome.

It was rebuilt in 1963 and opened as the ABC before various name changes prior to shutting in 2000.

It was re-opened in 2002 as The Syndicate nightclub before closing for seemingly the final time in 2010.