Blackpool is bidding for £20m from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund for schemes including investment in the Winter Gardens and former Abingdon Street Post Office.
A third element of the bid is for town centre road improvements including to ease congestion and improve the public realm between the Winter Gardens, the Houndshill extension and the Blackpool Central leisure development.
But hopes of including a scheme to regenerate the Bond Street/Waterloo Road area of South Shore were dashed because plans could not be worked up in time for the deadline.
The former Post Office
However the council has said it hopes to include the neighbourhood in a future bid for funding.
Blackpool South MP Scott Benton welcomed the £20m bid but called for priorities to include areas other than the town centre.
He said: “As far as I’m concerned, the obvious place in need of capital spending on regeneration is South Shore, and specifically Bond Street/Waterloo Road.
He said it was “incredibly disappointing” there was not enough time to prepare a bid for South Shore before the June deadline.
Mr Benton added: “However, to ensure we can put forward the area in any future bids for capital investment, the council are bidding for Government money so they can draw up comprehensive proposals for regenerating the area and consult with residents on this.
“This will ensure that a ready-made scheme can be worked up and discussed with local residents and traders, and that money could be brought in to deliver this scheme in the future.”
Blackpool Council said schemes for the first round of the Levelling Up fund had to be ready to start by next March, and be linked to the themes of transport, regeneration and town centre investment, and culture investment.
A spokesperson added: “We are delighted Scott Benton has supported the bid and we fully understand his concerns about the limitations of the fund criteria.
“Having said that, we have included in our submission for the Community Renewal Fund a bid to prepare a masterplan/feasibility study for the Waterloo area to support the regeneration of the Waterloo ward, determining local needs, the priorities for intervention and potential solutions to support commercial and residential development, as well as creating green and safe community spaces.
“If successful, the project will fund a consultancy team, a website, pop-up events and a ‘week of action’ to engage with the community about the plans for the area.
“Together with the Revoe and Claremont Masterplans which are already in place, we will aim to seek funding through future opportunities that we hope will be presented by a second Levelling Up Fund bid and the Shared Prosperity Fund, the criteria for which we anticipate will be published by the Government later this year.”
The three schemes included in the initial Levelling Up Fund bid are
* The refurbishment and conversion of the Post Office for a branded boutique hotel, which missed out on support from the Future High Streets Fund.
* Redevelopment work and creation of a new convention space with retail within the Olympia area of the Winter Gardens, including facade improvements directly opposite the £21 m Houndshill extension.
* An active travel/town centre access scheme to reduce congestion on the approaches into town centre while reducing carbon emissions. The scheme also includes Adelaide Street public transport improvements, new public realm from Adelaide Street to Hull Road to support an enhanced entrance from the forthcoming Blackpool Central development. Also public realm works along Coronation Street down to Albert Road, with provision of new cycle ways whilst framing the Houndshill extension and the Winter Gardens.