The Department for Work and Pensions will relocate more than 3,000 civil servants to a new £100m office block in the middle of Blackpool, after signing a 25-year lease.
DWP staff will move from Warbreck House and Ryscar House, both north of the town, to the Blackpool Hub and Centre for Health and Disability Assessment following its completion in autumn 2024. The development will be part of Talbot Gateway, an ongoing regeneration project which already includes Blackpool Council’s headquarters and a large Sainsbury’s supermarket, with work under way on a four-star hotel with a Marco Pierre White restaurant.
The DWP’s purpose-built, seven-storey building will be within a few minutes’ walk of the main railway station Blackpool North and a new tram interchange which will open in 2022. It will have storage for more than 100 bicycles, showers and changing rooms to encourage cycling to work, as well as accessible tea points and flexible activity spaces. It will be constructed to high environmental standards including demand-driven ventilation with its design drawing on Blackpool’s art deco architecture.
Civil servants will find themselves working within a few hundred yards of Blackpool’s promenade, North Pier and Tower. The site is also close to the Winter Gardens conference centre, which used to host major party political conferences but has not done so since 2007. However, last July the Conservative party said it will hold its 2022 spring forum at the venue, following the completion of new facilities.
“Moving more than 3,000 DWP staff into this state of the art sustainable building in Talbot Gateway will drive footfall in the town centre and support Blackpool’s economic growth as the country builds back better from the pandemic,” work and pensions secretary Thérèse Coffey said.
“I'm optimistic the town will see significant economic benefits with a new flagship town centre office space driving footfall and breathing new life into the economy,” added Cabinet Office minister Steve Barclay.
The leader of Blackpool Council, which is co-developing Talbot Gateway with private sector partner Muse, said it was “an historic moment” for the town.
“The relocation of just over 3,000 DWP employees will bring considerably more footfall into the area, with a massive boost to local businesses, retailers, restaurants, cafes and leisure facilities, but also bringing new, high quality job opportunities for local residents,” Cllr Lynn Williams said.