Blackpool seeks approval for £28m EZ investment

Blackpool Council’s executive committee will be asked this month to approve a £28.8m investment over three years that will deliver infrastructure for the town’s Airport Enterprise Zone masterplan.

The council is the accountable body for the scheme, in which it is partnering with Fylde Council and Lancashire LEP and proposes to use its ability to borrow at preferential rates.

The masterplan was approved in February and maps out a 25-year vision that includes close to 3m sq ft of commercial floorspace, levering in £300m of private sector investment to an area the council estimates can support up to 280 businesses and provide a £2bn GVA boost to the local economy.

The masterplan is broken down into three broad phases of infrastructure activity which will open up development plots. Phase one will include:

  1. A new eastern access road and gateway entrance linking Common Edge Road to Amy Johnson Way, relieving congestion at existing single point of entry to Blackpool Business Park
  2. Unlocking large serviced development plots providing development opportunity from 2020,subject to planning approval
  3. Provision of essential infrastructure such as water and utilities and associated supporting costs to provide developer-ready plots
  4. Construction of several bespoke design and build developments at Common Edge Road
  5. Common Edge sports pitches will be fully relocated and new state-of-the-art facilities including 2 x floodlit 3G pitches, indoor tennis facility, modern changing complex/community facility, café and additional commercial facilities, subject to planning
  6. Purchase of strategic sites to facilitate the delivery of the masterplan
  7. Release of a site suitable for residential development of up to 30 houses, subject to planning
  8. Supporting development of third party serviced plots within the existing Blackpool Business Park
  9. Phased refurbishment and redevelopment of the 1.3m sq ft former Wellington Bomber factory, to meet market demand and bring forward new roadside development potential
  10. Reconfiguration of Blackpool Airport infrastructure and relocation of the existing offshore helicopter terminal to support operational sustainability for the next decade
  11. New airport hangers built and occupied releasing land for development along Squires Gate Lane frontage
  12. New airport navigational aids and control tower to support ongoing operations and provision of new aviation facilities for Phase 2 of the Enterprise Zone.

Cllr Mark Smith, cabinet member for regeneration, enterprise and economic development at Blackpool Council said: “The Enterprise Zone has the potential to dramatically change the economic landscape of the Fylde Coast, and Blackpool Council are committed to delivering a premier business location that will sustain long term economic growth and investment.

“Blackpool Council is sending a strong signal by its firm commitment to prudential borrowing to deliver and secure a sound economic future for the citizens of the Fylde coast.

“Development within the Enterprise Zone will be undertaken as a series of individual projects throughout the course of its life. The Council as the accountable body will explore various options for securing additional private sector investment to help deliver the overall Masterplan objectives.”

The area has had enterprise zone status since April 2016, since when 50 businesses have moved in, the council said. Developments already completed there include Lancashire Energy HQ, Dakota Court, Enterprise Court, Lockheed Court and an Aldi superstore.

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