The new conference centre, plans for which were released earlier this year, will increase the capacity of the Winter Gardens, allowing it to host over 7,000 conference delegates at any one time and potentially bringing major conferences back to the resort as well as creating jobs and boosting the local economy.
A planning application submitted earlier this month by architects Bisset Adams has unveiled the scale of the development, including how the new centre will link up with the existing complex and how the style of the new construction will complement the heritage of the current buildings.
lThe new centre, to be built on the site of the former car park on Leopold Grove, is hoped to start construction in winter 2017, with a view to welcoming conferences by spring 2019. The project, which is expected to cost around £25m, is subject to successful funding bids to the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership and the Coastal Communities Fund.
Cllr Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, said: "This is a really exciting step forward in upgrading the Winter Gardens to a conference venue fit for the 21st century. We already know that the Empress Ballroom and the Opera House provide perfect venues for keynote speakers and housing delegates, but to have a proper exhibition and welcoming space is exactly what is needed to try and bring major league conferencing back to the resort."
Campbell added that while the design for the new centre is contemporary, it still remains in keeping with the historical and heritage aspects of the rest of the Winter Gardens. Talks have been held with heritage experts to ensure that the beauty of the Winter Gardens building is retained within the new build.
Blackpool Council has commissioned the plans from architects Bisset Adams, who previously worked on designing the refurbishment of Central Library in Blackpool, along with Max Fordham Mechanical and Electrical Engineers, Morgan Tucker Civil and Structural Engineers and Right Solution conference consultants.
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