Multi-million pound bids approved to regenerate Blackpool – including cash for Illuminations and Airport

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Seven projects are earmarked to benefit from a share of a £39.5m Town Deal

 

Blackpool looking stunning in the sunshine
It’s part of a multi-million pound regeneration project (Image: LancsLive)

A combination of multi-million pound bids have been approved to regenerate Blackpool – including more cash for the Illuminations and Blackpool Airport.

Seven projects are earmarked to benefit from a share of a £39.5m Town Deal – the largest award in the UK – from the Government’s £3.6bn Town’s Fund.

Blackpool was one of the first 101 towns to secure funding, and the Council’s Executive Committee is awaiting final sign off from the Government to get started.

The funding will aim to strengthen the local economy and revitalise the town as it builds for the future post Covid-19. This funding will help to increase economic growth with a focus on regeneration, improved transport, better broadband connectivity, skills and culture. The £39.5m will look to catalyse an additional £450m in public and private investment as part of the Council’s £1bn + Growth and Prosperity Programme.

The projects already signed off by the Town Deal Board and approved for submission are:

Blackpool Central Courts Relocation – allocated £6.95m

Supporting the relocation of Blackpool’s County and Magistrates Courts by opening up space to support the £300m private sector investment at Blackpool Central. This will provide a brand new, world-class, visitor attraction, open year-round providing a major boost to the visitor economy including major job creation.

Blackpool Multiversity – allocated £9m

Land assembly to enable the relocation of the Blackpool & The Fylde College’s Palatine Road campus to enable the creation of a world class university learning environment in the town centre. It will help to address local skills needs, working with local employers and in partnership with Lancaster University. The new Multiversity Campus has been designed to accommodate over 3,600 learners.

Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone – allocated £7.5m

Creating a new road to open up development sites to attract jobs and investment at the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone (EZ). Through the creation of new highways, the scheme will support business and jobs growth, opening up 10.5 hectares of previously inaccessible development land.

Revoe Community Sports Village – allocated £6.5m

This project will aid the regeneration of the Revoe area, creating new sports pitches and facilities for communitywide use. It will create investment within the Blackpool FC Bloomfield Road ground and surrounding area. The overall project aim is to provide a sports village with leisure, education, and residential uses and attract further private investment to the area.

The Edge – allocated £4.5m

Redevelopment of the existing town centre Stanley Buildings to create modern office space for new start-ups and growing businesses, and providing business advice for growth-ambitious small businesses. The Edge is the name given to the new extended managed workspace that will bring into use large parts of the upper floors of the building to create a vibrant business hub with a choice of offices, meeting rooms, co-working and breakout spaces.

Blackpool Illuminations – allocated £4.5m

The project will provide investment to upgrade the world famous Blackpool Illuminations to attract new visitors by developing new features and lighting technology. A number of new centrepiece attractions will be designed alongside new lighting infrastructure improvements and essential technical equipment needed to deliver the illuminations in a greener, more sustainable way.

Youth Hub – allocated £0.5m

The development of a physical space to support young people in the town to access jobs and training and to make the jump from school or unemployment into work, smoother and easier. The Youth Hub will provide a ‘one place base’ providing quality advice for young jobseekers aged 16-24. The service will be located in a vacant town centre unit within Bickerstaffe House, a Council owned building.

Leader of Blackpool Council Cllr Lynn Williams has described the progress made on the town’s ambitious redevelopment programme as “game-changing”.

“Our Town Deal proposals move another crucial step forward to turning our ambitions into reality and the team has made excellent progress on this major part of the Council’s Growth and Prosperity Programme designed to secure long term benefits for Blackpool’s residents and the economy. An incredible amount of work has already been done to get the projects to this stage since being awarded the £39.5m and agreeing final allocations and Heads of Terms with Government in November 2020, including finalising the scheme proposals to develop Treasury compliant business cases for each scheme, appraising them with the benefit of the expertise of partners and independent appraisers, and then putting them through the approval process.

“All the hard work means that we now have seven deliverable, game-changing schemes that will make a huge difference to the town and for our residents, and will help to enable Blackpool to have a strong and thriving coastal community by 2030.”

The seven business cases have been submitted to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) and a response is anticipated early in 2022. Towns have until the end of the 2025/26 financial year to spend the money.

Paul Smith, Chair of the Town Deal Board said: “Investment in our town is needed more than ever as we move to the next stage of the economic recovery from Covid-19 and the Town Deal funding will play an important part in kick-starting our economic recovery. The Town Deal Board welcomes the opportunity to develop a long-term strategic partnership with Government that will further develop the economy, tackling some of Blackpool’s historical challenges, leading to a healthier and happier lifestyle for all residents and reduced pressure on the public purse.”