EDC outlines Fylde Coast priorities

Michael Hunt

The new economic development company set up to deliver inward investment and regeneration across the Fylde Coast has unveiled its key initial priorities.

The Blackpool Fylde and Wyre Economic Development Company said it is bringing forward and supporting schemes in Blackpool town centre, particularly Talbot Gateway and Central Station, work around the M55 and Airport Corridor, and also development and regeneration in Fleetwood and St Anne's town centres.

The new economic development company, which has the full backing of council leaders and chief executives in Blackpool, Fylde, Wyre and Lancashire County Councils, is also strongly supported by both the North West Development Agency and the Homes & Communities Agency.

The new organisation has also taken on the responsibilities of the urban regeneration company ReBlackpool.

The economic development company said it will continue to push ahead with the existing range of ReBlackpool projects currently underway, particularly around Blackpool's seafront. There will also be an economic strategy drawn up by August and an initial investment programme for the North West Development Agency and Homes & Communities Agency drafted by September.

The economic development company's board is chaired by Mike Appleton with Graham Haywood as interim chief executive and has an initial staff complement of around 40 people and a revenue budget of approximately £2m with a capital programme in 2010/11 of around £13m.

Graham Haywood, interim chief executive, said: "The new EDC has commenced a detailed series of discussions with partner authorities and major funders to prepare a Joint Investment Programme for 2011/12 onwards.

"There are great opportunities to bring forward strategic schemes across the whole of the Fylde Coast addressing the need to boost local economic activity, create more jobs, improve existing housing and provide new housing for the benefit of all sectors of the community.

"It will work with all agencies to create a "One Coast" approach to the development of a programme of schemes aimed to increasingly promote the Fylde Coast as a very special place to visit with a wide variety of different but complimentary attractions."

A photo blog, which features exclusive images of the regeneration that has taken place in Blackpool, has also been launched by regeneration chiefs to help illustrate the changes which have happened over the past decade.

New images and commentary are also going to be added as the ongoing regeneration projects are completed and new projects begin under the remit of the new economic development company.

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