Blackpool Central Masterplan
Nikal is delivering the scheme in joint venture with Media Invest Entertainment

Blackpool moves to progress £300m leisure scheme

Dan Whelan

The council is preparing to exercise compulsory purchase powers to acquire 10 acres off Central Drive to pave the way for developer Nikal’s map pinBlackpool Central entertainment complex. 

Last year, Blackpool Council signed an exclusivity agreement with developer Nikal and Media Invest Entertainment to redevelop the site into a £300m leisure venue featuring the UK’s first “flying theatre”.

The development would include a number of other attractions as well as apartments, a multistorey car park, and two hotels totalling 400 bedrooms. 

The project’s anchor tenant will be a Chariots of The Gods Entertainment Park, an indoor theme and adventure park inspired by the 1968 bestselling book, The Chariots of The Gods, to which Media Invest Entertainment owns and controls the global media rights. 

In order for the project to start on site, the council needs to acquire the land needed to deliver the first three phases of the project.

The land that falls within the proposed compulsory purchase order is bounded to the north by New Bonny Street, to the west by Bonny Street, the south by Chapel Street, and the east by Central Drive and is earmarked to house the majority of the scheme.

Phase one features the flying theatre, a virtual reality experience centre, Greatest Mysteries-themed multimedia exhibition space, an Adventureland gaming park, alien-themed diner, food hall, events square and a 150-bedroom hotel.

The second phase includes apartments, food and drink outlets and an additional 250-bedroom hotel. The multistorey car park forms part of the third phase.

Blackpool Central Station Masterplan December 2018 2

The £300m scheme features a flying theatre, hotels and apartments

The council is in negotiations with various parties that have interests in the land, including telecommunications firm BT, energy company Norweb and public toilet operator Danfo UK, as well as the leaseholders of private properties on Central Drive. 

At present, the majority of the site, previously occupied by the former Blackpool Central station which closed in 1964, is given over to a surface car park but also includes numbers 13 to 39 Central Drive, a former cinema, a pub, and several retail units. 

To date it has not been possible to acquire all these interests and the council is satisfied that there is a compelling case in the public interest for resorting to powers of compulsory acquisition. Otherwise the comprehensive redevelopment will not be able to be completed within a reasonable timeframe,” the council said. 

The wider development site also includes the law courts on Chapel Street, subject to leases held by Her Majesty Justice’s Service, and several units that front the promenade including Madame Tussauds, SeaLife Blackpool and Golden Mile Amusements. 

This part of the site will form phases three and four of the development and the buildings in question are not subject to the compulsory purchase order. 

Speaking to Place North West in July, Alan Cavill, Blackpool Council’s head of regeneration, said he anticipated a planning application would be submitted within the next 12 months with a view to starting on site in the same timeframe. 

The masterplan is expected to take around nine years to deliver.

The council had previously earmarked the Blackpool Central site for a super-casino, putting forward a bid in 2006 to the Labour Government at the time. However, the town lost out to Manchester’s bid, which had proposed building a super-casino in Eastlands, although this was never progressed. 

Your Comments

Read our comments policy here

The cinema and pub are both beautiful early 20th Century buildings which are of high quality. Demolishing them will be a massive mistake but Blackpool never learns.

By Observer

Ahh yes that 1968 classic that all the kids and every family talks about, Chariots of the Gods… good old Blackpool.

By Katie

We don’t need more hotels !
Maybe definitely a car park and housing

By Bambi

The King Edward Pub has been there for years. To pull another historic pub down is an absolute travesty to Blackpool. People understand growth but we as a town still believe that we need a some sort of history. It saddens me to think that one of our landmarks is going to be pulled down for holiday makers. Nice to see the clowncil sneaking in the back door again for a listed building. We have enough carparks and hotels now to last a lifetime when is enough enough.

By k

Another fail let’s face it BC wastes money hand over fist and this job will need to be done 3 times to be correct.

The council is failing residents with pie-high quests in mu mu land, try sorting out the basics getting rid of rogue landlords, sorting out compulsory purchase of houses and putting working families in them after all BPC say we are a family resort , getting fibre into the whole of the town and bringing blackpool into the new century and even sorting the bloody potholes out.

By BigDog JB

Blackpool needs something massive to put it back on the map just as the tower did years ago.

By Anonymous

It all sounds brilliant for Blackpool apart from the bit about pulling down the old pub and cinema on Central Drive. They should stay and be incorporated into the new development.

By Anonymous

I came here 6 years ago from America. I do love the buildings here. The town of Blackpool just don’t ‘get it’. Bigger and newer is not better. A lick of paint on the south promenade buildings and stores would greatly improve the tired look. Also, getting rid of the eyesore ‘going out of business sale ‘ (for the past 6 years I have been here) on the corner near Madame Tussaud would greatly improve and welcome families. C’mon Council do something right for a change.

By Rita

I’d like to think that just because these have been acquired by the council doesn’t mean that they will be torn down. The pub and old cinema are heritage assets and unless there’s something wrong with them structurally I doubt they will be torn down. If you looks at the original plans for the development as well, they are being retained. Blackpool so desperately needs this development, just a shame it’s going to take such a long time.

By Scott D

But is the pub going to be pulled down though? I don’t see any specific mention that they plan to do this in this place. Plus, if you look carefully in the headline picture on the left, the pub is still there. Nevertheless, here’s hoping it stays – and that the old cinema building is weaved into the fabric of the new development, which if this element is a hotel, should be fairly straightforward.

By Steve W

Blackpool council has always had no creative thinking and this scheme is one of the biggest white elephants in the UK. It’s flying cinema the first in the UK ( I wonder why?) Is now an outdated piece of tech that other countries around the world are now getting rid of as it’s been around for nearly a decade.. it’s probably going to be even worse than Mr blobby land in neighbouring Morecambe that went bust as soon as it’s opened 3O years ago. Meanwhile Morecambe is looking at bringing the northern equivalent of the eden project bringing in millions.of visitors.. just think of this area of 10 acres was the eden project bringing in different people to the resort by millions not just for the rides and beers. However the council has agree on prime Blackpool land an alien restaurant, hotels , car parks and a flying cinema that nobody will use!! It’s going to end very badly for Blackpool I’m afraid with this council in charge of regeneration.

By Phil d.

I’m still waiting for the council’s investment that will benefit the people that live in Blackpool and not more low paid jobs and green spaces built on. Blackpool council goes build build build and the the world goes green green green. You couldn’t make it up. And when the poorly specified buildings get a dose of the west coast weather and start looking tired and battered , who will pay for the up keep, it won’t be the operators it will be the council and the local people. I could go on….

By Local lad

Please see plans for those commenting on the old cinema and King G, they aren’t in the plans to be demolished. The plans are for them to stay

By Colin