The new development which includes an ‘artisan food hall’, a hotel, restaurants, three indoor entertainment centres and public square for live events has been described as the UK’s most ‘exciting’ tourism attraction
Exciting new images of Blackpool Central’s £300m ‘heritage quarter’ scheme have been revealed as the scheme hits a ‘major milestone’.
The proposals, which form part of the town’s post-Covid comeback, include a new 1,306 space multi-storey car park, a major public events square for live events, three indoor entertainment centres, a hotel, restaurants and additional leisure and hospitality space.
This includes a detailed planning application for the initial phases, including the car park and outline plans for the ambitious entertainment and leisure facilities.
The application for Blackpool Central also proposes to restore the site’s existing heritage buildings to create a thriving new Heritage Quarter.
The Grade II Listed former King Edward VII Picture House will be transformed into a new ‘Artisan Food Hall’, which spills out onto new outdoor space for ‘al fresco’ dining.
The locally listed King Edward VII pub will be refurbished into a new pub and hotel, creating what has been described as a ‘modern, family friendly environment’ offering food and beverages. The King Edward VII apartment building will be renovated into a ‘high-quality Aparthotel’ keeping its original character.
The developers say that the plans come with significant economic benefits and will boost Blackpool’s tourism sector, offering new attractions for visitors.
The vast majority of feedback welcomed plans for the new Heritage Quarter and highlighted that it will help boost footfall and breathe new life into the buildings. Many residents also shared their aspiration that the scheme will be a catalyst for improving and regenerating the surrounding area and Central Drive.
As one of the UK’s most important regeneration projects, the £300m scheme will be the largest single investment in Blackpool for over a century and is expected to create around 1,000 new jobs, bring an estimated 600,000 additional visitors each year, and boost annual spend in the town by around £75m.
Richard Fee, chairman of Nikal said: “This is a watershed moment for Blackpool Central. The overwhelmingly positive response to our consultation shows the level of excitement and enthusiasm around the scheme.
“We’d like to thank everyone for getting involved and sharing their ideas for how we can make the most of this exciting opportunity.
“The initial phases, including the Multi Storey Car Park and Heritage Quarter, will create a springboard for delivering our vision for the Blackpool Central project. In the short term, the early delivery of the car park will ensure that we protect and enhance the town centre’s current car parking provision.”
Norbert Reichart, CEO of Media Invest Entertainment said that this is a ‘major step’ towards creating one of the most ‘exciting developments’ in the UK.
“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,” added Mr Reichart.
“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.”
The plans have been welcomed by council leader Coun Lynn Williams, who said it will breathe ‘new life’ into the town.
Coun Williams, who is also cabinet member for tourism and culture said: “Blackpool Central is vitally important in creating new jobs, boosting the town’s tourism and supporting the local economy. The new Multi Storey Car Park is a key part to enabling the future phased stages of the development to take place, whilst protecting the car parking spaces needed for our visitors throughout the development.
“The plans for the new Heritage Quarter are an extremely welcome feature as they will breathe new life into neglected properties, reviving the Central Drive area for the benefit of surrounding businesses and residents.”
The scheme is a key part of the Blackpool Town Deal – a vision to drive the regeneration of the town and post-Covid economic recovery. The Town Deal is supported by £39.5m of government funding from the £3.6bn Towns Fund.
Nikal and Media Invest Entertainment are working closely with Blackpool Council to unlock the Blackpool Central redevelopment opportunity.
Once the world’s busiest train station, Blackpool Central Railway Station closed in 1964 and has since been used for car parking and outdoor events.
The wider site has seen a number of uses over the years, including as a police station and law courts. The law courts will be relocated by Blackpool Council in an unrelated project.
A decision on the planning application is expected from Blackpool Council later this year.