£6m scheme approved for art deco building in Blackpool town centre

Plans for the £6.3m refurbishment of an art deco landmark in Blackpool town centre have been approved despite the designs meaning the loss of some historic features.

Blackpool Council’s planning committee unanimously agreed the scheme to renovate the Stanley Buildings between Church Street and Caunce Street.

Councillors were warned without intervention, the council-owned building would fall into further disrepair.

Work will now begin to convert part of the building to a business start-up hub called The Edge, with existing shops on the ground floor being retained.

Funding includes £4.5m of government cash from Blackpool’s Town Deal and match funding of £1.8m.

The committee heard the renovations would mean the loss of some of the faience tiling and some original windows on the building which is locally listed.

But Alban Cassidy, representing architects Cassidy & Ashton, told the meeting: “The building as a whole is in very poor condition and without remedial action it will unfortunately continue to deteriorate and become an eyesore.”

He added: “There will be some loss of historic fabric but it is considered the overall benefits of restoring the building to viable use, and a return to a more attractive appearance will outweigh the minimal harm that will result.”

Objections had been received from the four retailers currently occupying the building – Mankind, Hermosa Boutique, Flute Hairdressing and Lingerie Lounge.

They said they had all heavily invested in their shopfronts and wanted to retain their individual appearances, rather than move to the uniform approach proposed.

But Carl Carrington, head of conservation at the council, said the designs would “retain the overall look of an art deco building” and had not “compromised the historic pattern” of the building.

The scheme will include office space, meeting rooms, a courtyard, cafe and a roof terrace with external alterations to the windows, replacement shop fronts.

The build of the building dates back to 1935 when it was designed by the borough architect J.C. Robinson, while the frontage facing towards St John’s Square is older and is a former Midland Bank.

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