The council is building a strategy for how it would invest up to £25m from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Towns Fund intended to ‘level up’ the regions, and is seeking input from businesses and residents.
The fund aims to invest £3.6bn into more than 100 towns across the country, including Blackpool, to address economic growth constraints and support regeneration plans post Covid-19.
The 100 towns must each agree a ‘town deal’ with the Government – the Blackpool Town Investment Plan in Blackpool’s case –to access a share of up to £25m from the pot.
Blackpool Council proposes a five-pronged strategy to promote and secure the town’s long-term economic growth.
The strategy includes making physical improvements to the town and finding the best ways of using land; revitalising the visitor and retail offer; upgrading transport to improve connectivity; developing skills and supporting businesses with better broadband and other measures, and developing Blackpool as a tourist and cultural destination.
Members of the public are being invited to contribute ideas to help shape the town deal via special portal, Have your Say, on the council’s website. The portal will be live until the end of June.
Participants can also sign to take part in more in-depth research by telephone interview if they would like to become more involved.
Cllr Simon Blackburn, executive leader of Blackpool Council, said: “The Town Deal is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to secure major investment for our town, to tackle some of the challenges we face, build on our strengths and to help us in our economic recovery from the damaging effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The initiative is the latest proposal for Blackpool, which already has a £100m town centre regeneration plan in progress and other large-scale schemes on the drawing board.
Work on the second phase of the mixed-use Talbot Gateway started this month, led by the council’s development partner Muse Developments and Robertson Construction Group as the main contractor.
Earlier this year, the council sold a 17-acre plot of land at Blackpool Central to a joint venture between regeneration company Nikal and Media Invest Entertainment, enabling work to start on a £300m leisure masterplan for the area to include the UK’s first “flying theatre”, a virtual reality entertainment zone.