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Great Britain

Blackpool Wilko store to shut - but could return in future years

Blackpool's Wilko's store will close next spring and efforts to find temporary new premises have failed - meaning the retailer is pulling out of the town for the timebeing at least.

Staff at the Dickson Road store have been told they will be made redundant from March 31 next year.

Wilko's is due to be demolished

Wilko's is due to be demolished

The Wilko's building is due to be demolished in early 2020 to make way for a new Holiday Inn hotel and tram terminal as part of the next phase of the council's Talbot Gateway regeneration project.

It had been hoped Wilko's would have moved to new premises on Tower Street, as part of the Houndshill extension, before then.

But uncertainty over ownership of the Houndshill led to delays and work on the extension has yet to start.

Meanwhile efforts to find temporary premises have failed.

A spokesperson for Wilko's said: “We have been looking at our options, but the reality is that we have been unable to find a suitable, centrally located store like Dickson Road to give our customers the shopping experience they need and expect from wilko.

“We’ve loved serving our customers in Blackpool but our presence in the town centre will come to an end.

"We’ll be doing everything we can to support our team members who will be offered any available positions in nearby stores.

"We apologise to our loyal customers in Blackpool and will continue to offer them everything they need for an amazing Christmas plus great choice, value and quality until the last day of trading in the town or via wilko.com".

Temporary units such as the empty former Argos store on Albert Road had been considered but had ultimately proved unsuitable.

It is believed around 40 jobs will be lost.

The council bought the Houndshill in November in a move which has now kick-started the extension project, but Wilko's has run out of time to relocate.

Alan Cavill, director of regeneration at Blackpool Council, said negotiations were still ongoing to bring Wilko's back to Blackpool when the Houndshill extension is built, which is expected to be in autumn 2021.

Mr Cavill said: "We tried very hard to find alternative premises but a solution could not be found, and the lease on the current building runs out on April 15 and is not renewable.

"We are working together to make sure Wilko's will still be in the town, and they will be moving into the extension of the Houndshill which is expected to be ready by September or October 2021."

The Houndshill extension will be partly funded through up to £25m Blackpool is to receive through the Government's Future High Streets Fund.

But distribution of the fund has been held up by the General Election.

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