Lancashire

Date set for Blackpool Winter Gardens refurbishment

Blackpool Winter Gardens
Image caption The complex first opened in 1878

Work on restoring Blackpool's Grade-II listed Winter Gardens will start in November, the council has said.

Teams will concentrate on repairs to the Floral Hall and refurbishing the entrance under the first phase, which is due to be completed in February.

Blackpool Council, which brought the famous site into public ownership in March, said the work would also create new exhibition spaces.

Maxine Callow, member for tourism, said the project was "very exciting".

The authority has appointed architects specialising in historic buildings conservation to lead the project.

Tony Barton, of Donald Insall Associates, said: "Although we have worked on some of the country's most important historic buildings, nothing prepares you for the splendour of the Winter Gardens."

The council bought the Winter Gardens along with Blackpool Tower, Louis Tussauds and the Golden Mile Centre with the help of European and government grants.

'Magnificent building'

Although the overall restoration project will take a number of years, the council wants to complete repairs to open up the building for public use all year round.

Mrs Callow said: "We want Blackpool residents and visitors to start using it more regularly so it's our job to work closely with the architects and English Heritage to ensure that we make the best possible use of the building.

"This is a magnificent building, full of hidden treasures.

"It's a hugely exciting time for one of Blackpool's most famous landmarks and I'm delighted that we have been able to purchase the building to bring about this much needed change."

The Winter Gardens complex, which includes Blackpool Opera House and Empress Ballroom, officially opened in July 1878 as a place to create a pleasant space during inclement days.

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