Leading urban regenerator, Muse Developments and partner, Blackpool Council has agreed a deal with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), to take the highly sustainable 215,000 sq ft office building at Talbot Gateway, which will become its latest regional hub in the North West.

The BREEAM ‘Excellent’ building – designed by renowned architects, Make – has been designed to be ultra-low energy, promoting sustainable development and wellbeing.

An inclusive approach to sustainability was taken to make sure the building will be as energy-efficient as possible, have high levels of insulation, along with air source heat pumps to provide low-carbon heating and cooling. Demand driven ventilation will improve indoor air quality while allowing energy savings during periods of reduced occupancy.

During the scheme’s inception, partners completed early-stage whole life and upfront embodied carbon assessments, to eliminate inefficiencies where possible and reduce the building’s whole carbon footprint. This results in the scheme aiming to reduce its upfront embodied carbon intensity to 800 kgCO2e/m2. compared with 1100kgCO2e/m2 for a typical office development.

Development is already progressing well on phase two of Talbot Gateway, with construction of a new 144-bedroom Holiday Inn hotel which is due for completion in 2022 and will bring over 50 new full-time jobs to the town. The scheme also includes a new tram terminus on Talbot Road.

Talbot Gateway is the innovative £350m scheme currently being delivered by Muse in partnership with Blackpool Council, which will see the creation of a 1.1m sq ft central business district and civic quarter. In addition to the hotel, the team has also delivered the 125,000 sq ft Number One Bickerstaffe Square, a Sainsburys supermarket and a refurbished 650-space multi-storey car park, alongside extensive public space.

Mike Horner, development director at Muse, said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming the DWP to Talbot Gateway with our latest sustainable building becoming its new home. This  is a resounding endorsement of our collective commitment to bringing forward developments that offer tangible environmental and social outputs to benefit local communities.

“We’ve got some real forward momentum here at Talbot Gateway, as we work hard to build back better and further drive inward investment and opportunities right into the heart of the town.

“We’re focused with partners, as we repurpose and re-energise the town centre, by delivering developments that blend the town’s rich history with its aspirations for the future. We’re delighted to be playing an important role with the council in delivering the vision for building a better, more attractive and resilient Blackpool for the future.”

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Thérèse Coffey, said: “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.”

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Cabinet Office Minister, Steve Barclay, said: “We’re getting on with the job of levelling up across the whole country and it’s fantastic to see this new hub in Blackpool consolidating jobs under one roof and making the public estate more efficient.

“I know Blackpool well, having grown up in Lancashire, and 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.”

Leader of Blackpool Council Cllr Lynn Williams, said: “We have been working on our collective vision with partners Muse to introduce a new Fylde Coast Civil Service Hub for several years and we are thrilled that DWP share our vision and are committed to this long term investment. The relocation of just over 3,000 employees will bring considerably more footfall into the area, with a massive boost to local businesses, retailers, restaurants and cafes, but also bringing new, high quality job opportunities for local residents.

“The Civil Service has been looking to combine and streamline its UK administrative functions into more modern, efficient, sustainable and fit-for-purpose Hubs, in line with the principles of their own 2020 Vision. Talbot Gateway, Blackpool’s Central Business District, offers an ideal location, being highly accessible, well located and supported by excellent transport links. The highly sustainable location and the long list of environmental credentials and innovative design associated with this building, will also have a positive contribution to our climate energy agenda and promote employee wellbeing.” 

Muse Developments is one of the UK’s best regenerators of towns and cities, delivering innovative spaces and places to directly benefit communities, through long-term partnerships with both the public and private sector. Muse is part of Morgan Sindall Group plc – the leading construction and regeneration group.

Avison Young’s team in Manchester acted as planning agent for the proposed new development, and also co-ordinated and delivered the Environmental Impact Assessment.