Blackpool Council commissioned Ellis Williams to develop concept designs and seek planning approval for the proposed changes. These include an extensive refurbishment to Central Library and a new extension for The Grundy.
Funding is in place for the initial development plans from UK Shared Prosperity Fund and Blackpool Council. Once the full scheme is drawn up and planning permission is approved, Blackpool Council will be able to apply to various funding streams for the funding to enable the works to be carried out.
The project will create reimagined and additional space to provide a range of cultural activities, events and exhibitions. It will make the building complex more accessible and comfortable for different people’s needs when visiting and people will be able to move between the library and the gallery through an internal connecting link.
Overall the refurbishment of both buildings and a major new extension to the Grundy aim to be a major catalyst in transforming Queen Street into a vibrant and thriving part of Blackpool’s town centre.
The key changes for Central Library are a redesigned Showtown History Centre on the upper floor where the public can access the varied heritage collections; together with flexible multi-use space downstairs for public talks, workshops, events, and seminars, with kitchen and changing room facilities. The option of a café, permanent or pop-up, is also being considered.
The key changes for the Grundy Art Gallery are the provision of a major new gallery space to facilitate a wider range of exhibitions of national and international status, new spaces for school and community groups to take part in workshops, and a shop and toilet/cloakroom facilities.
Concept designs also include proposed enhancements to Queen Street and Abingdon Street, including public realm improvements, to enable a culture-led identity to be formed in the area.
The scheme aligns with the emerging ‘Be Who You Want To Be’ action plan for Claremont, and a desire to improve and enhance existing cultural facilities in the area.
It is estimated the project would bring 59,000 additional visitors to the site per year by increasing and diversifying the engagement in culture, learning, creativity and heritage of Blackpool residents and raising the contemporary cultural profile of Blackpool as a destination.
Invitation to give your views on proposed plans for Central Library and Grundy Art Gallery
Local residents and businesses are invited to attend a public information session to find out more about this exciting project and share their views. Two public information events will be taking place at Blackpool Central Library on Thursday 8 February 2024, with presentations at 3pm and 6pm.
The Blackpool Central Library and Grundy Art Gallery extension feasibility project has received £178,500 from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. Following the events, the proposals will be submitted to Blackpool Council’s planning department for consideration.
The proposed scheme is estimated to cost £9.8 million and funding opportunities will be sought.
For those unable to attend the public information event a survey will be available to give your views on the scheme from Thursday 8 February.