Blackpool seeks £35m of govt cash for Multiversity
A £70m town centre skills campus that could accommodate 3,600 students has been identified as the council’s priority project ahead of the submission of a second Levelling Up Fund bid.
Blackpool Council is preparing to bid for £35m from the government’s £4bn regeneration pot to progress the Multiversity scheme, which is to be delivered in conjunction with Fylde College and Lancaster University.
The 190,000 sq ft education facility, designed by Hawkins\Brown, is intended to support skills growth in Lancashire through the provision of a technical and professional curriculum.
The project will see the relocation of Fylde College’s Park Road campus into the town centre, close to Blackpool North train station.
Blackpool Council has already secured £9m from the Towns Fund for the education project and is now hoping to bag a further £35m from the second round of the Levelling Up Fund.
The council’s executive will meet next week to discuss the next steps of the bidding process.
Blackpool, which has two parliamentary constituencies, is eligible for a total of £40m from the second round of the Levelling Up Fund.
While the majority of the cash from a successful bid would go towards the Multiversity project, Blackpool is mulling over which other schemes to include in the bid.
One project that could feature is the conversion of the Abingdon Street post office into a 148-bedroom hotel.
The council bid for £7m in the first round of Levelling Up awards but was unsuccessful. This failure has made the authority wary of resubmitting the same projects for consideration in round two.
A report to the council’s executive claims the feedback from the government on Blackpool’s unsuccessful first round bid was “not as helpful as it might have [been]”. The council added that the government did not provide enough information on why the bid was unsuccessful in order to “shape a successful bid in the next round”.
“Although resubmission of improved projects in round two is possible, it is still unclear as to whether any or all of these bids would be successful if resubmitted,” the report said.
Additional community projects in deprived areas to the north and south of the town centre could also feature in the bid, it is understood.
The deadline for bids for the second round of the Levelling Up Fund is early July. Blackpool can also qualify for a third, transport-specific bid of up to £20m.