Blackpool Central Station Masterplan December 2018 2
The money could go towards a youth hub to help the unemployed

Blackpool goes for additional £50m support 

Dan Whelan

The council has lodged a bid for £50m from the Towns Fund to revitalise the town having already asked Government for £25m for nine town centre projects and received £8.6m from the Getting Building Fund to revamp Abingdon Street Market and extend Houndshill Shopping Centre. 

Individual projects that could benefit from the funding include the relocation of the law courts to the site of the former Devonshire Road Hospital, in order to free up space for developer Nikal’s £300m leisure complex at map pinBlackpool Central.

Also proposed as part of the bid are road and access improvements at Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone, a youth hub to help the unemployed, a town centre-based co-working development for start-ups and small businesses, and a scheme to upgrade and modernise the illuminations.

Paul Smith, chair of Blackpool’s 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.

“The Town Deal funding will play an important part in the kick-starting of our economic recovery, bringing forward key projects that will help the growth of the town in both the short and long term.” 

Houndshill Extension

Extension of Houndshill shopping centre is part of ongoing development of Blackpool

Alongside the £50m bid, a series of further asks have been outlined to government to further develop the economy and tackle some of the complex patterns of deprivation in the town, according to a statement from the council. 

The council has set a target of investing £500m through its Town Deal to “turbo charge” the economy. Projects include: 

  • The creation of a civil service hub in the town centre
  • Support of the potential of Blackpool’s high speed fibre connection to the North Atlantic Loop
  • Invest in building a new university campus in the town centre  
  • Invest and support the Fylde Coast Tram Loop

Last month Blackpool put forward a list of schemes as part of a bid for £25m of Future High Streets funding. 

The 11 schemes that would benefit from the funding, according to the council, are:   

  • Redevelopment of the Old Post Office into a hotel  
  • Acquisition of a property on King Street to bring forward an office development   
  • Acquisition and refurbishment of three vacant retail units to create a hub for small businesses   
  • Improvements to Adelaide Street Transport Hub and access improvements  
  • Developing an innovation partnership working with a specialist consumer retail investment and innovation firm to pilot digital retail technologies in high street businesses to improve understanding of customers  
  • The upgrading of digital infrastructure across the town 
  • The development of a monitoring system to better understand visitor footfall, how people move around and the places they visit, to help businesses adapt and identify new opportunities  
  • Commissioning of a study to assess the possibility of extending the Blackpool to Fleetwood railway line  
  • The launch of a gift card and loyalty programme to stimulate the local economy 

The Houndshill and Abingdon Street Market projects were originally on the list but have since been removed having been allocated money from the Getting Building Fund. 

Your Comments

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Completely agree with everything proposed. The wheels should have been in motion for all of this 10 years ago but better late than never! I really hope the Nikal development goes ahead as I think that could be a real game changer for the town.

By Scott D

Totally agree, things are really looking up for Blackpool and about time. I have reservations about the Nikal development in terms of what is proposed and whether it’s entirely suitable for the town, but it is certainly not something to be ‘sniffed at’ and the investment has to be a good thing for the town centre.

By Junior

Sadly I think it’s all “hard talk” and too ambitious. Though I do wish all these plans every success for the future of Blackpool. Personally I much prefer the Blackpool of the bustling 1970s. The future is very questionable!

By Anonymous