How Blackpool could look in 2030 with exciting projects on horizon

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Blackpool is set to change dramatically by the time the £300m rated Blackpool Central entertainment complex opens its doors to the public

 

An artist's impression of Blackpool Central's 'heritage quarter'
An artist’s impression of Blackpool Central’s ‘heritage quarter’

By the end of the decade, Blackpool should be home to an extra £75million of annual spend and 1,000 new jobs thanks to the town’s looming £300million rated entertainment complex.

Dubbed Blackpool Central, the attraction is estimated to bring an extra 600,000 people to the seaside resort every single year.

Nikal Ltd and Media Invest Entertainment are behind the plans, working closely with Blackpool Council to make their ambitions a reality.

With a completion date of 2030 on the cards, the complex is expected to be home to major live events, a hotel, restaurants, leisure facilities, hospitality venues, and three entertainment centres.

“We have taken a major step towards creating one of the UK’s most exciting destinations with this application submission,” Norbert Reichart, chief executive of Media Invest Entertainment, said.

“The scheme has a crucial role to play in enhancing Blackpool’s tourism offer and attracting more visitors to the town, and we have been spurred on by the strong show of support for our plans.

“The consultation has also given us lots of food for thought for how we shape the future phases of Blackpool Central and maximise its pulling power.”

Lynn Williams, Blackpool Council leader, said the complex is “vitally important” to creating new jobs and boosting town tourism and the local economy.

But how might Blackpool look by the time the complex is built?

We’re still nine years away from seeing Blackpool Central in all its true glory – and it certainly isn’t the only thing planned for the town in that time.

With that in mind, LancsLive has looked at the many ways Blackpool is set to change up until 2030. The list is not exhaustive but merely an indication of what we can expect:

Less congestion

Work has started on the new M55 Heyhouses Link Road
Work has started on the new M55 Heyhouses Link Road (Image: Tim Bradley Photography / Lancashire County Council)

It is hoped a new £27million M55 link road to Lytham St Annes will see less traffic backing up as people head into Blackpool.

Dubbed the M55 Heyshoues Link Road, it is expected to be open to traffic in early 2024.

Lancashire County Council says it will relieve congestion on smaller roads on the Fylde coast and promote business and housing in the area.

County Councillor Charlie Edwards, Lancashire County Council cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “I know that residents and businesses have been anticipating this moment for many years, and I’m very pleased to be able to say that we’re getting on with delivering those better journey times and reduced congestion which the link road will bring.

Kristian Marsh, Highways England’s route manager for the M55, said the link road will “see a reduction in congestion locally, improve access and provide better facilities for pedestrians and cyclists”.

As well as this, the Preston Western Distributor will open in 2023 linking the M55 with southern Fylde and Preston in a move that will free up roads around Blackpool and the Fylde coast.

Talbot Gateway masterplan

What the Holiday Inn as part of the Talbot Gateway masterplan is set to look like
What the Holiday Inn as part of the Talbot Gateway masterplan is set to look like (Image: Blackpool Council)

Blackpool said goodbye to Wilkos and its neighbouring car park in September 2020 as part of the ongoing Talbot Gateway masterplan.

With demolition work complete, June 2021 saw steel framework erected for a new 4 star Holiday Inn on the same site.

A Marco Pierre White restaurant is also set for the same location with a modern underpass under construction linking to Blackpool North railway station.

The restaurant – run by Black and White Hospitality – will be Marco’s New York Italian, reflecting the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple as well as Marco’s passion for classic, simple, authentic food.

Nick Taplin, Chairman and CEO of Black and White Hospitality said: “This New York Italian is perfect for Blackpool.

“It represents friendly, casual dining and will give locals and visitors a great new place to go out and eat. It’s not pretentious, it’s just good food, served in a great environment.”

From Monday, July 5 High Street will be closed for 26 weeks to allow the underpass works to be carried out.

The site is set to be finished by the summer of 2022.

Andrew Robb, Chief Business Development Officer at hotel management company RBH, said: “It has been great to work with the team at Blackpool Council over the past few years, seeing first-hand the passion and dedication they have for their town.

“As the flagship commercial development for Blackpool, Holiday Inn will form the centrepiece of the Talbot Gateway development’s second phase, transforming an important gateway to the town.

“We are delighted to be working with our partners at IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) on this project and can’t wait to get started.”

A better looking town centre

A revamped Samaritans in Topping Street, Blackpool
A revamped Samaritans in Topping Street, Blackpool (Image: Blackpool Council)

Blackpool Council has already been giving shops in the town a facelift through its Quality Corridors project.

A total of £7.84m has been set aside to make the town’s shop fronts look more appealing.

So far, Church Street, Talbot Road, Dickson Road, Cookson Street and Bispham Village have all been visited.

Tree planting, public art, fresh street furniture and resurfacing footpaths and roads have also been included in the scheme.

The work is set to finish in 2021, meaning the impact should already have been seen in many areas of the town.

Levelling Up Fund

View of Blackpool including Winter Gardens and Houndshill Shopping Centre
View of Blackpool including Winter Gardens and Houndshill Shopping Centre (Image: Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)

Blackpool Council has bid for £20million from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund.

If successful, money would be spent on investment including in the Winter Gardens and former Abingdon Street Post Office.

The money would also go towards easing congestion and improving the public realm between the Winter Gardens, the Houndshill extension and Blackpool Central.

Blackpool South MP Scott Benton has welcomed the bid but called for areas outside of the town centre to also be included in the spending.

“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,” Mr Benton said.

“I live not far from this area and regularly use the shops and facilities there.

“The decline in the area over many decades has been noticeable and it’s in urgent need of investment.”

Higher costs for those without electric cars

An electric car being charged
An electric car being charged

Plans are in place to create an ultra-low emissions zone in Blackpool town centre.

The Blackpool Climate Assembly is calling on Blackpool Council to bring this in by 2027; and in doing so charge vehicles that aren’t electric for access.

Coun Gary Coleman said it is a “very difficult balancing act” with the council hesitant to “put people off by them thinking Blackpool’s got this charge now so I’m not going to go to Blackpool”.

Scott Butterfield, strategy policy and research manager at the council, has said such zones will work in some places in Blackpool but that further investigation is needed before any plans can be brought in.

North West’s largest IMAX screen

A CGI of a multi-functional auditorium
A CGI of a multi-functional auditorium

A unique multimedia IMAX cinema is being built in the Houndshill Shopping Centre as part of a new entertainment centre with eight other cinema screens and conference rooms.

A total of 850 seats will be available at the venue.

The work at the Tower Street site is due to be completed by Spring 2022 and is set to create 30 full time jobs.

The IMAX screen will be the largest in the North West, with council leader Lynn Williams confidence the site can be a success.

“We are delighted that all parties are now on board and we can move forward to an early start onsite date, bringing new jobs and opportunities,” she said.

Ticketless buses
Blackpool's sole surviving No. 346 last carried passengers in 1974
Blackpool’s sole surviving No. 346 last carried passengers in 1974 (Image: Fylde Transport Trust)

A £550,000 loan has been granted to Blackpool Transport from the council to help fund a new contactless ticketing system.

The technology has been fitted on all Blackpool Transport’s fleet of around 115 buses with plans to install it on the trams this summer.

There is also a ‘Tap & Go’ facility, similar to London’s Oyster card, whereby people tap their card or contactless device when boarding, tap with the same device when exiting, and they will be automatically charged the correct fare for their journey.

Flooding

Climate Central forecasts for Lancashire by 2050
Climate Central forecasts for Lancashire by 2050

Rising sea levels are set to cause huge damage to Blackpool and the wider Fylde coast.

Rising temperatures are causing loss of sea ice, rising sea levels, longer and more intense heat waves, and shifts in plant and animal habitats

Climate Central, a non-profit news organisation focused on climate science, has revealed the severity of this threat locally.

By 2050, areas of Blackpool, Lytham, Fleetwood and Morecambe could be underwater, with damage expected to be seen by 2030.

Most of the area south of Central Pier could be lost by 2050 including Pleasure Beach and Blackpool Airport.

Inland areas including Common Edge, South Shore, Little Marton, Marton Fold and Squires Gate would also be impact along with parts of Blackpool & Fylde Industrial Estate, Blackpool Zoo and Marton Mere Local Nature Reserve.

Blackpool’s first museum

Stan Laurel bowler hat signed to Cyril Critchlow in 1947 courtesy of the Blackpool Museum Trust
Stan Laurel bowler hat signed to Cyril Critchlow in 1947 courtesy of the Blackpool Museum Trust (Image: Blackpool Museum Trust)

Blackpool is readying for its first ever museum celebrating the town’s history.

The £13million project will be feature permanent displays in a public museum on circus, magic, variety, and ballroom dance.

Moe than 800 objects from Blackpool’s extensive collections will be on show along with items loaned from national partners including the Victoria and Albert Museum.

It is set to open in 2022 on Blackpool’s famous Golden Mile in the Sands Building, next to the Tower.