Blackpool Central Masterplan
Nikal chairman Richard Fee leads on the delivery of Blackpool Central

Contractor chosen for first phase of £300m Blackpool attraction 

Dan Whelan

Dutch firm Ballast Nedam has been selected to deliver the 1,300-space multistorey car park at Blackpool Central, part of the enabling phase for Nikal and Media Invest’s 17-acre leisure development. 

Speaking to Place North WestNikal chairman Richard Fee said a hybrid planning application for the project is to go live on Friday and, subject to approval, Ballast will start the 15-month car park build in November. 

Nikal and Media Invest Entertainment are to seek full approval to remediate the map pinBlackpool Central site, build the seven-storey car park, which has an end value of around £36m, and create the heritage quarter, while also seeking outline approval for future phases of the development. 

The car park has to be delivered first so that neighbouring businesses such as SeaLife and Madame Tussauds don’t suffer a loss of parking provision during the redevelopment of the site, which is currently used as a surface car park. 

“Delivering the car park first is designed to protect the town centre,” Fee said. 

The 127,000 sq ft branded indoor theme park that will house Blackpool Central’s anchor tenant, the Chariots of The Gods Entertainment Park, forms the main part of the outline portion of the application. 

The Chariots of The Gods Entertainment Park, which is to include a ‘flying cinema’, is inspired by the 1968 bestselling book, The Chariots of The Gods, to which Media Invest Entertainment owns and controls the global media rights.  

Two smaller indoor theme parks, a 200-bedroom hotel, several bars and restaurants, and a 70,000 sq ft public square, also feature in future phases. The developers will seek full consent for these elements in the coming years. 

The hybrid application is being drawn up by masterplanner Spawforths and its submission follows the end of a period of public consultation, which saw the project receive 90% positive responses, according to Fee. 

“To submit a very, very large application after lockdown with a team scattered across the North of England using Zoom is heroic,” Fee said. 

Blackpool Civil Service Hub

Blackpool is close to signing a £100m funding deal for the civil service hub

Elsewhere in Blackpool, the council is awaiting final confirmation from the Government that it will relocate departments to a purpose-built 215,000 sq ft hub in the town centre before the authority signs off a £100m funding agreement. 

Blackpool Council’s executive committee approved the £100m funding deal for the scheme earlier this month but the council’s chief executive is awaiting the green light from Whitehall before the agreement is given final approval. 

Under the terms of the funding deal the council would contribute £82.25m and the tenant is to contribute £17.5m. 

It is understood the office would be occupied by Government departments already based in Blackpool, such as the Department for Work and Pensions and the Ministry of Defence.  

Leases on sites around the Fylde coast currently occupied by the DWP and MoD are due to expire soon.  

Speaking in the House of Lords in 2019, Baroness Jo Valentine said the departments “could be combined in a proposed civil service hub for thousands of jobs, which would provide year-round footfall for the local high street”. 

Designed by Make Architects, the office could house up to 2,500 civil servants. 

The scheme forms part of the Talbot Gateway masterplan, being delivered for the council by development partner Muse. 

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Too much, too late. Blackpool has needed investment for years. The council has made millions from the resort in the 80s, 90s and early noughties. Can’t see anything arresting the slide.

By Peter sutton

I think we have enough hotels in Blackpool why do we more when alot are run down need better shops to bring people into the town

By Will pickles

Fantastic looking development… can’t wait to see it built and in use.

By Doug Ward

I have only lived here for 6 years, however, I have learned from friends and family that Blackpool used to be “The” place to come to. From my experience of the B, it is quite tired looking pretty much everywhere. Example: you have a store on the prom, at a traffic light that has been going out of business for 6 years at least (and it smells). Also, The Metro… Hotel which by any stretch of the imagination is somewhat of a dump. Sprucing up the outside of a building doesn’t change how bad the interior is. Bringing in the “new” while doing nothing to eliminate the “old” is quite irresponsible.

By Rita Lamy

If the civil service moves to the town centre, more jobs will be created to support their needs. Such as cafes and hopefully then clothing and groceries will sprout up. They will use the gyms aswell. Cant be a bad thing as there are so many empty business’s around that site.

By Liz

I am hoping the artisan food market they are planning at the central site will be like the ones you find in European cities with bars/seating to sample products, drink wine/beer and tapas. It would be great if it encourages local farmers, bakeries etc to set up shops rather than bulk selling cheap clothes and handbags like Abingdon Street. Infact why can’t that market do this aswell. Especially if the post office next door is getting developed into a boutique hotel/restaurant?

By Liz

I worked for Ballast re-building Blackpool Football Club in 2001. They pulled out of the UK construction market in 2003.

By Mark Burns

Both the hoilday accommodation on the prom and behind need attention and some new attractions to bring hoilday makers back to the resort ❓also a fantastic job with the sea water

By Derek

I hope this project goes through in good time, last time I looked at the site there’s so much money to be made with this 12 month all year round project I hope it saves us from ‘Oblivion’ .In a recent survey Blackpool was voted ‘Worst Place’ In yhe country to live, which I have to concur with that fact.We have £300 million pounds to change that stastic, Thank You!

By Robert Rigby