Blackpool £1bn Regeneration
Blackpool sees the digital infrastructure investment as part of its £1bn growth plan. Image: Our Studio

COMMENT | Blackpool’s £1bn renaissance masterplan

Comments (49)

Nick Gerrard BlackpoolBlackpool is the new North West place for business says Nick Gerrard, growth and prosperity programme director at Blackpool Council. A bold statement, but the tourist town is changing for the better and in some parts beyond all recognition.

Blackpool needs little introduction with its sweeping promenade, the world famous Blackpool Tower, three Victorian Piers and the Illuminations. Retaining its title as the UK’s most popular seaside destination with more than 18 million visits a year and a tourist economy of £1.58bn, what is much less known is an extensive investment and redevelopment programme that’s underway to revitalise the town, boost the economy and create jobs.

This was vital before the massive economic shock caused by the coronavirus pandemic and as we look to the future and drive forward Blackpool’s economic recovery, its importance has only grown. Blackpool Council remains fully committed to further investment and development and 2020/21 will remain pivotal for some key development sites across the town – during the lockdown the team has continued to work hard to keep momentum going in very challenging circumstances to ensure we hit the ground running when we come out of the current crisis.

The £1bn+ Growth & Prosperity programme is about building long-term resilience, driving forward a wide range of improvements that aim to give visitors new reasons to visit the resort and residents a renewed pride in their town. The activity is twofold, a broad range of strategic regeneration projects to achieve economic growth and opportunity for residents, visitors and to attract investment, and a property investment programme to increase income generation across the town, enabling the council to support the delivery of a wide range of services for Blackpool residents.

Blackpool Council is supporting some ambitious plans that will transform the town with already over £750m spent on a number of key investments. Pivotal schemes include Talbot Gateway, Blackpool Central and Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone with supporting investment including:

  • New conference and exhibition centre, £26m extension of the Winter Gardens catering for over 7,000 delegates
  • Sands Venue Resort Hotel, the resort’s first 5* £20m hotel
  • Showtown, £13m project and the resort’s first museum
  • £7.8m spent on the Quality Corridor Scheme to improve shops, streets and public realm spaces
  • Public realm improvements to the promenade, strengthening sea defence systems and 17km of new tramway at a cost of £285m

Talbot Gateway

Phase one of this high profile development was completed in 2014, worth £80m and so far has included the successful delivery of 1.1msq ft of development, BREEAM excellent Grade A offices anchored by a flagship 120,000 sq ft Sainsbury’s foodstore, 40,000 sq ft retail/leisure space, 17,000 sq ft fitness centre, award-winning 650-space refurbished multi-storey car park, £6m highways works, new roundabout, upgrades to Blackpool North train station and new interchange and attractive public realm. Phase two of Talbot Gateway is already underway to improve transport links with a £23.4m tramway extension connecting directly with the train station via a new underpass, the promenade and visitor leisure attractions. A 144-bedroom 4-star Holiday Inn and restaurant will be built following the relocation of the Wilko store, employing more than 100 people.

Blackpool Central

In December 2018 Blackpool announced a map pin£300m development that will sit in the heart of Blackpool representing the biggest single investment in Blackpool for more than a century. Inspired by the Chariot of the Gods, the site will feature a range of indoor attractions including the UK’s first flying theatre, virtual reality experience, new hotels, restaurants, food market, event square, apartments and multi-storey parking. The land sale of the current site is based on a 250-year agreement between Blackpool Council and developer Nikal and Media Invest Entertainment. The legal agreement has now been signed and work can begin on the enabling phase of the project. A planning application for a new car park, the first important stage of works on the 17-acre site, is being drafted. The development is expected to attract 600,000 additional visitors a year with a combined annual spend of £75m. The project will also create 1,000 jobs for people in Blackpool.

Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone

Credit: Our Studio

Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone

map pinBlackpool Airport Enterprise Zone is one of the largest in the UK and over its 25-year lifespan it will transform the Fylde Coast’s economic base, positioning itself as a premier business location in the North West.

Blackpool Council, as the accountable body and the majority landowner, has allocated £28.8m over the first four years to deliver essential infrastructure to help unlock sites, kick start development and attract investment to meet increasing occupier demand. This ambitious project will host 5,000 new jobs and attract in excess of £300m private sector investment over its lifetime. A detailed planning application is being prepared for phase one development including improved sports facilities, commercial development and new highways and the first element to relocate and improve the sports facilities at the eastern gateway has been lodged. The site has already attracted investment with eight new developments completed, 73 new companies brought to the site more than 1,520 jobs created.

@blackpool_biz | The Team at Blackpool – The Place for Business

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What are the plans for Central Drive maybe the shops that are empty could at least be given a coat of paint and the rest that are open could tidy up a bit also what about church Street that needs a face lift too but otherwise the ideas sound pretty good.

By Yvonne Threlfall


By John

Bulldoze. Central drive .Return airport back to commercial flights

By John

Greatly appreciated. Thousands of low paid zero hour contract jobs that will be seasonal. Sainsbury’s at the Talbot Gateway in massive debt and the aforementioned office space practically empty. Well played Blackpool Council.
Bought anymore cheap property recently?

By Darren Lowe

Town centre back streets are a disgrace. Shop owners and empty hotels left to rot. Owners should be made accountable for this. Properties seized and investment put into revitalising these buildings for future vebtures

By Tony

Never heard so much rubbish as a resident this place is tired and old (obviously I’ve sugar coated that comment) These people cannot half waste money. Any project completed on time and within budget? No town centre to attract shoppers. What is this gateway? Planting 10k a tree near the red light district for pollution mmm we live by the sea and you contribute to the pollution cos Blackpool is one big car park, you can’t even drive cos the traffic system is pathetic

By Roger

Come on Blackpool!

We need our local holiday destination back.

By Anonymous

It’s not so much blackpool town that needs to change it’s the riff raff and opportunists that come to live here also many smack heads . Night life only hens and stag parties youd do well not to see a fight kick off while out drinking in town .
Who knows how many peodos they’ve housed here under the spot light
Problem is that blackpool council waiste millions using the cheapest quotes contractors who are not supervised so they end up doing the work all again .
Nothing wrong with blackpool and sandgrownians it’s the scum that come to live here who have been run out of there previous locations .

By New world order

Why are people so negative? The reason why the airport closed in the first place was because it wasn’t profitable enough. If it was, it would still be operational. I think the enterprise zone is a great long term initiative that has the potential to deliver thousands of jobs. I completely agree that Central Drive needs some kind of grant scheme for the shop fronts as it is one the main arteries into the town centre, but the blame needs to lie with the people who own the buildings for the lack of up keep they have carried out over the years! Going back to your comments Darren, your opinions seem to be completely unfounded. The whole idea of the Central Development is that it will be a year round attraction with most of the attractions being indoors, yes there will be seasonal jobs but what leisure attraction doesn’t require seasonal workers? May I also add this is a completely private investment which has the potential to drastically change a part of Blackpool Town Centre that has been untouched since the 1960’s, so why you would would moan about that is beyond me? Another point you have made about the Talbot Road offices being practically empty, this is incorrect. The building houses mostly council staff, which is what it was built for. More recently an insurance company has re-located there, alongside an office hub for the Grand Central rail team connecting Blackpool to London. Also your comments about the Sainsbury’s being in debt? Do you have any actual proof of this or is it just something you have heard? There were four bids by supermarkets for that store, with Sainsbury’s coming out on top. Ever since it has opened there have been rumours about it closing and not making enough money, yet it still remains open…

By Scott D

As a minimum bulldoze Central Drive, Dickson Road, and Cookson Street.

Protect remaining green space without handing it over to some David Lloyd-fronted company and finish the admittedly egregious housing development near the football ground, left abandoned by the previous, now defunct developer.

Whilst there is though not enough money in the world to remedy Blackpool’s ills it would at least be better spent there than on Fleetwood.

By Indrek Zelinski

Same old boring and comfortable negativity I see in some of the comments here. We moved to Blackpool from London and bought a B&B on Dickson Rd. Yes Blackpool has its problems (which town doesn’t) but it’s turning a corner. It’s a great place with plenty of promise. It’s been over a year now and I wouldn’t move back to London. The plans are exciting and I’m glad I can say we were here to watch them being delivered as the place find its feet again.

By Anonymous

We have not long left, Blackpool, to retire to Cumbria. We bought a Guest House there in 2005, The first few years were great, And would say one of the best streets, Bairstow, but as all over these past years, some of the so called owners just let anyone rent them, and then the scanks, start arriving and the streets turn to shit, because they have mates who in turn up and so on. As long as they are getting their money? And then the place turns into a s*** hole because they don’t care about how it looks, and the sad thing is those who do there best to keep their Guest House to a good standard suffer. And as for the council Spending this and that, well that has been going on for years, I agree with one thing and that is the Promenade is fantastic, l do hope that what has been said about investing does happen. But I agree with bulldozing central.

By Jack

Need an airport

By Lynda dyson

What about the rundown back streets.

By John Lennon

Well, we have yet to see it, just like the ‘Casino’ idea some years ago, it comes to nothing. Blackpool town centre is like a war zone, and the central drive area a complete dump. Nothing short of bulldozing the whole area can work, but if we rt rely on the fantasists in the council, then as usual, all talk and no action

By Dr Malcolm Lewis

The council should spend money on Stanley Park and bring it up to it’s former glory. The park maintained properly could attract thousands of visitors which it doesn’t do, but did in the past. People want to visit places that don’t cost so much but can still have a good time as well as going to well known attractions. You have to compliment what you want to gain in revenue with alternatives that will increase volume of visitors. Has anyone pointed this out to the clowncil. As for developing East park drive … Further congestion in an already busy road, loss of green space going against overwhelming concensus that it benefits public wellbeing, more low paid employment and most significantly the biggest undemocratic decision I have ever seen going against public’s overwhelming views and opinions for it not to go a head. Shocking but the next elections will be interesting.

By Chris

The airport is a symbol of prosperity unfortunately it’s fortunes were managed by the clowncil and it has ended up as it is. Look at Carlisle airport, not long ago there was nothing there now it’s got a new runway terminal and a hub for freight by air invested in by Stobbarts. That could have been Blackpool and created well paid jobs that people need not more zero hour contracts in tourism employment. Short sightedness and business acumen again by the council . The news story above is of a mere sticking plaster on the problems of Blackpool. The town need proper businessmen who know what they are doing otherwise we will see millions more money go down the sewer. While I’m at it look at Church St. Expensively paved twice now and guess what parts of it have already begun to get tarmacked over. Say no more

By Chris

Whose tax is that coming out of then

By Kam

No for tram

By Anonymous

Dont send letters to people and make them more scared than they have to be

By Jo wood

May be give Grange park a big up lift and tidy up make it a place where people want to live not looking scruffy and rundown. I live on Grange it needs big overhaul

By Taz

All positive news and very much welcomed. How much of the proposed developments will have to be postponed or scrapped because funding is no longer forthcoming remains to be seen though.
To answer the question posted regarding Central Drive properties and their current state of disrepair, this is entirely the responsibility of the owners, but the council should seek to order their refurbishment or carry out the work themselves and put a charge on the property. This area is one that visitors to the resort first see, particularly if coming by road, and for far too long now the unscrupulous owners of the properties along there have been allowed to let them blight the area. If Blackpool is to improve aesthetically too, then action must be taken sooner rather than later.

By William Eadie

Please spend some money on the airport and get commercial flights form northern Ireland back on again. We miss them badly .

By James

Central Drive up to park rd needs clearing.Cant see why airport wasn’t making money it was full everytime I went .And I thought JET2were thinking of putting another plane on.We need an airport if we are going to progress with flights from London and other major cities.

By Ralph

I have to say Blackpool is a mess it used to be lovely place to shop. Plenty going on all that has gone now the front is fine money well sent you would be better to put up flats in the town people would pay money to look over the sea as for the airport it needs money spent on it and someone to run it that has the knowledge of how to bring the planes back as you are selling land on the outskirts of Blackpool and building all these new house am sure all these new people would use the airport also you could have a great shopping centre by the m55 there plenty of land there for the people of Blackpool to shop and it would bring people here like Manchester and Liverpool have done x

By Jenny t

Don’t miss this great opportunity to revitalise the resort improve some of the hotels and b&bs and give local people any new jobs and with the clean sea people will flock back

By Derek

Clean the resort like the sea is being cleaned and improve some of the hotels and guest houses and employ local people

By Derek

Lots of good ideas that are Unfortunately never likely to be completed due to the overreaction of the government over the coronavirus pandemic totally wreaking the economy.

By Alan Sandford

If the council was smart, and I know for a fact they are not, they would stop spending stupid amounts of money on stuff that is not wanted, needed, or profitable. Even worse, more funds trying to defend stupid opinions they think they can win, if it ever went to court. They could save hundreds of millions of pounds, and that’s just legal fees. If they spent half as much listening to residents concerns, we all would have a great place to live. In return, the people would gladly help the council, pay bills on time, mabee even talk to the council instead of complain. Who knows, miracles do happen.

By Stephen. C

Blackpool is beautiful and is on the way to becoming
the new Las Vegas and world class international holiday destination.

By Helen Gordon

All of these plans sound great for Blackpool, however I live off Whitegate drive.the streets are a mess , the alleyways full of rubbish that has been fly tipped. Litter and weeds all over streets. Un wanted furniture in front gardens from people renting who don’t care about their space as they have no loyalty to the home or neighbours.
So in all the entrance roads to the amazing town such as Whitegate Drive the streets are plagued on a weekend by a free for all on parking as residents have no rights people will see the mess, see the way it’s okay to litter, dog fowl and fly tip and mirror the behaviour .
Please start with some basics look at the streets we have to live in, before the vision of Vegas is upon us.

By Margaret Murray

What about Blackpool airport it should be open again definitely a money spinner

By Anonymous

I can see both sides here having some good points, but I think there is a middle ground on blame. But being a “sandgrownun”, I LOVE this town and the council has done some excellent work but there’s certainly more to do. So I’d prefer to suggest some potentially missed opportunities are revisited.

Airport closed because of how it was run and by whom, which MADE it unprofitable. Now council.owned again so revisit it. Can now take larger aircraft, it was and is, ideal to challenge Liverpool and Manchester Airports head on. It had FREE car parking, rail connected, so just reinvest in a new terminal. Build it and they will come.

Scrap the multi story idea at Central. Have some car parking fine, but It’s built ON an old railway line. Extend rail line from South station and have a tram, train, bus/ coach interchange into the center of it.

The Bickerstaffe Square council offices are a mixed blessing. Not stonking success on the renting out I admit, but bringing all staff into town center to boost town center economy was clever, as against disperate set of portakabins all over the place.

And I have to disagree about spending money on Blackpool as against Fleetwood. New railway back to the town will greatly help but still needs pump priming first. If gov. can somehow find enough money almost overnight 80 per cent of everyone’s wages, when lockdown is over, they can fund BOTH areas instead, I’d suggest.

And one last minor personal point to whoever wrote the article.
We are British. It’s a RAILWAY station. We invented them. Train station is an “Americanism”.

Thank you.

By R Evans

Being regular walkers on the prom we have noticed that between south and central piers our lovely sandy beach is being covered in mud from the bottom of the steps extending several yards out, no doubt a result of messing with the tidal flow caused by the prom rebuild. When the tourists are allowed to return I don’t think families will be happy wading through sticky mud to get onto the beach. You also can’t miss the missing sealant from between the concrete slabs and the patchy repair work that has been done to steps. I suspect that the council tax payers of our great town will have to find millions in years to come to stop the headlands ect sliding into the sea in future storms unless action is taken now to divert cash from dubious value developments into protecting our beach and prom. Whilst having this rant we also think, for example, the beach and promenade should be a family zone with pubs/bars having prom access and seating being told to remove said seating and close off prom access doors where possible.


Gosh, Blackpool, where to I start. Here’s the thing. You’re focusing on being a beach resort with a horrible beach and even more horrible weather. It’s not 1920 any more. It’s 2020. People go to Spain for the beach.

All that rusty, failed tack along the concreted waterfront. It looks horrible.

Instead, try focusing on being a city. A nice city that just happens to have a (potentially nice) waterfront. Get rid of all that tack, all those arcades and all that concrete. Replace with a more natural beach (like Formby) with dunes and park areas around the beach (blue and green instead of concrete grey) and yes, it is possible to return dunes to an area. This has been done successfully before. So you have a natural, lovely waterfront.

Then concentrate on the city. Focus on your location, close proximity to Manchester, Liverpool and the Lake District to the Nth with coasts. Turn Blackpool around. It is possible


Here’s some more , the winter gardens is a beautiful building of long-standing heritage. Whilst it received much needed investment I noticed the Spanish hall that was designed by Hollywood set designers was also maintained. However the once painted ceiling depicting clouds and blue sky has now just got blue sky and the clowncil have emulsioned over it. Disgrace

By Chris

Well done Blackpool Council. Carry on the good work.

By Michael Knight.

Well Blackpool was the place we all went to as kids, was great back then…sorry to say but it’s a bit of a dump nowadays. Last time I went to Blackpool was about 4 years ago with my wife, my best friend and his wife for a northern soul night. I was attacked by a drunk in a takeaway when we stopped for a bite to eat on our way back to the hotel from the venue. Kind of sums the place up…not in a hurry to go back.

By Manc Man

Born and raised Blackpool, once proud to be Sandgrown, now completely ashamed to admit I live here. Filthy depressing town, over run with riff raff, vicious seagulls, and more dogs in Stanley park than people. Re open the Airport!!!

By T Field

This sounds great but I agree with others about sprucing up the shops on Central. The promenade looks great in good weather but you look across the road and it’s like you’re on the border of a third world country.

By MrManchester

Well done to everyone who is making Blackpool the No 1 tourist attraction again. As a sandgrown person and retired Hotelier i believe we can attract millions of holiday makers to come to our resort once we get out of this terrible situation we are in at present.Q

By Anonymous

I really enjoyed my few months working with ReBlackpool URC.

By Kevin T

In the week that the Tax Payers Alliance told us that the top management at the council paid themselves over 1million pounds in combined wages in 2018/19, plus pension contributions you could be excused for expecting a town that is bristling with business, and a vibrant economy.
Reading through lots of the previous comments, its sad to say they are in main all very negative, and that’s with good reason.
Having lived and worked in Blackpool most of my life the evidence is before your eyes, the town is dying a slow and painful death.
The projects outlined are significant and should make very positive contribution, but the flip side is plain to see, at present there are more retail shops closed than are open. Individual business’s need support, business rate holidays, start up loans, and encouragement to produce a unique retail offering, a town centre initiative that makes Blackpool worth visiting. People need a reason to visit, and then to come back again and again.
The Council are between a rock and a hard place, every other town and city in the UK has similar problems, and the big ticket items are welcome, but it needs clear insight and leadership to demonstrate how Blackpool can combine what is still an attractive tourism offer alongside making Blackpool an inspirational place to live and work.
However if your looking to point the finger of blame at someone, then that someone will be us.
Who’s to blame?
We are in May 2019, we voted to keep these people in place, in most cases casting our vote without any knowledge of who, or more importantly what we were voting for.
Result we are currently getting exactly what we deserve!
The 1 million pound management team need to be accountable, and the Councillor’s should hold them to account, and if they don’t deliver they should be replaced.

By Tom Barlow

Lack of investment for locals, look at the town centre, it’s terrible, empty, run down, business rates are horrific, this town needs grass root investment.

By Dave

Blackpool council are the reason that Blackpool is in the dire straits that it’s in. Too many properties (b&b’s guest houses) are lying empty for far to long. Do something about it. The council blabbing on about 18m visitors!!!! Mostly one night stayers or day trippers. Blackpool would be just like morcambe if it didn’t have the pleasure beach. The council are putting a tram station at the train station to take money off the already struggling taxi drivers. They’re the gaffers and they’re letting us know.

By Blackpool cabbie

Bring back Blackpool Airport.

By William Hawthorne

The biggest mistake Blackpool made was was closing Blackpool central railway station. It was not on Beechings closure list as it was well used but was a Blackpool council decision on the back of other railway closures, so they could redevelope railway land and keep Blackpool north station open

By Peter bell

Went along Blackpool front last Sunday 19th April. Was quite void of the usual crowds and detritus due to Covid so got quite a unique perspective on the place.

It still looked forlorn and a lot of it needs levelling. The development proposals currently mooted in this article are a bit uninspiring.

By North by North-West

I love Blackpool and have been coming for years.
The regeneration plan looks amazing.
However, visitors inevitably find themselves walking along the ‘back streets’ which are full of unoccupied and/or unmaintained properties which really let the town down. Are there any plans to revitalise these areas.

By Paul Whitmore