Blackpool Central Aerial CGI Nikal p.Font Comms

The development features three indoor theme parks. Credit: via Font Comms

Govt pledges cash to unlock £300m Blackpool regen 

In his first major intervention since being reappointed as Levelling Up Secretary, Michael Gove has promised to provide £40m to relocate the town’s Magistrates’ and County Court, clearing the path for Nikal’s £300m leisure development. 

Plans for Blackpool Central were approved in October 2021 and feature a 127,000 sq ft flying theatre plus two smaller indoor theme parks.  

While work to build a 1,300-space car park as part of the first phase is underway, public sector investment and collaboration were required to relocate the courts from the 17-acre town centre site so later phases could be built. 

£40m will be transferred from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, to the Home Office and will pay for the relocation of the facility to “a new state-of-the-art complex in the Blackpool town centre”, according to a government statement. 

The cash is not part of the Levelling Up Fund, from which North West councils have bid in excess of £800m.

Cllr Lynn Williams, leader of Blackpool Council, said the £40m funding package was the result of “joined-up government at its very best”. 

“The funding will enable this huge development in the heart of Blackpool to bring jobs, investment and visitors to our town. When finished, the scheme will be an amazing future-proofed attraction for all to enjoy for many years to come.” 

Blackpool Central MSCP

Construction of the car park as part of the first phase is underway. Credit: via Font Comms

The funding deal will enable Nikal to press ahead with the Blackpool Central regeneration scheme, creating an estimated 1,000 jobs and attracting around 600,000 additional visitors to the resort every year. 

“Blackpool is a town full of life, energy, and immense potential but for too long it has been overlooked and its communities undervalued,” Gove said. 

“Our £40m Levelling Up investment will revitalise this great town by delivering much-needed homes, more jobs and new opportunities for local people.” 

As well as the theme parks, Blackpool Central will feature a 200-bedroom hotel, heritage quarter and 70,000 sq ft public square on the site of the former train station of the same name. 

Regeneration company Nikal signed a deal in 2018 to deliver a £300m mixed-use scheme for the site. In 2020, the JV signed a 250-year lease on the site.

Richard Fee, chief executive at Nikal said: “It’s fantastic that the government has stepped in to support what is undeniably one of the most important levelling up projects in the UK.

“It will enable us to move forward with certainty, accelerate our vision for Blackpool Central and unlock the wider regeneration of the area.”

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