Blackpool Central 768x511
The £300m Blackpool Central features a flying theatre. Credit: via Font Comms

Blackpool makes its Towns Fund case

Neil Tague

Each of the seven projects put forward for funding has been cleared at local level and submitted to government, with decisions on the first three expected in December.

The Town Deal board has shuffled the deck slightly in allocating funds from Blackpool’s £39.5m Towns Fund allocation, as the amount of support required climbed in some cases and fell in others.

Each project has been through six stages, from business case submission to examination and independent evaluation.

Over the last two month, each of the projects were then submitted to the Department for Levelling-Up, Homes & Communities, with the first three – Illuminations, Youth Hub and Enterprise Zone – lodged in October.

The remaining four – The Edge, Central Courts relocation scheme, Multiversity and Revoe Community Sports Village – were all filed ahead of the 17 November deadline after approval by the Town Deal board. Verdicts from DLUHC are expected on these schemes by March.

The cash was awarded from the government’s £3.6bn Towns Fund in October 2020, with Blackpool opening up consultation on its preferred list of projects this February.

A report for Blackpool’s executive, which meets on 6 December, spells out the progress of the various projects.

Final Town Deal allocations:

  • £9m for land acquisition for Multiversity, the training-focused college campus within Talbot Gateway, in partnership with Lancaster University.
  • £7.5m for Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone
  • £7m for Blackpool Central Courts relocation: a sum that has been twice reduced from the £10m it was initially thought was required from the Towns Fund. The court move creates space for Nikal’s £300m Blackpool Central attraction. An extra sum of £1m was made available this year to buy land at Devonshire Road
  • £6.5m for Revoe Community Sports Village: funding for this had been cut to £5.5m before higher property acquisition costs and the scoping of public realm works
  • £4.5m for The Edge (Stanley Buildings), a modern office scheme targeting start-ups
  • £4.5m for the upgrade of Blackpool Illuminations
  • £500,000 for a youth hub

Blackpool was allocated around £240,000 to support business case development in late 2020/early 2021.

Amion Consulting was engaged to provide business case advice, while Avison Young led on the sports village project. CBRE and Hawkins\Brown worked with Amion on developing the case for Multiversity.

Seven consultancies were appointed to a framework panel to provide support where necessary: Capita Business Services, Ekosgen, Genecon, Global City Futures, Stantec UK, Steer ans Arcadis.

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