Blackpool Central Masterplan
Pipeline schemes include a £300m leisure and entertainment complex at Blackpool Central

Blackpool vies for share of £3.6bn govt towns pot

Sarah Townsend

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 map pinBlackpool 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.

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A shot of £25m and a £100m plan cannot be a once in a generation plan for any reasonable sized town. Serious cash and attention needs to be spent on remodelling the UK’s urban areas to make them fit for the 21st century.

“Once in a generation” should be the language used for renewal of all problem areas along the waterfront, moving a government department to Talbot Road, and a high speed railway line linking the town to Liverpool and HS2 under the Ribble via Southport.

Time will tell whether this government has the intellectual muscle to dig us out of a COVID slump. Their efforts so far, the work of the same civil servants that gave us permitted development rights, HS2, and this, doesn’t instill much confidence. Their lack of interest seems to have beaten down any sense of ambition on the part of local politicos.

By Mike

They should try to clean progress way up as you come into Blackpool it is a disgrace full of of bottles Cannes and disposable nappies

By Bryan

Blackpool – an utterly tragic place.

I know that places bounce back and rise like a phoenix…but I think Blackpool is too far gone.

By North by North-West