Regional director of the Government office for the North West, Liz Meek, has announced the results of the latest report into the progress of the Blackpool resort masterplan.
Commissioned by Communities Secretary Hazel Blears, the report measures progress of the masterplan against the recommendations made by the Blackpool Task Force.
Following a request from the Government to assess the long-term regeneration plans into the town after its failed casino bid, the Task Force was set up.
Leader of Manchester City Council, Sir Howard Bernstein was appointed as chairman for the urban regeneration company, ReBlackpool, which is delivering the masterplan.
Commenting on the results into the new report, Meek, said: "Sir Howard has instigated a strategic review of the Blackpool resort masterplan which will look into all activity currently under way. This will set a clear direction for spatial and investment prioritisation for the Urban Regeneration Company and align a role and function of the housing intervention programme in contributing to comprehensive regeneration in Blackpool."
The latest report said progress had been made since the first one in July, and included:
- Discussions have taken place between the trustees of the Victoria and Albert re the creation of a theatre museum in Blackpool.
- £4m funding was secured from Department for Culture, Media and Sport's Sea Change programme. Delivered through CABE, the funding will go towards a £14m scheme for the creation of the Tower Festival Headland in the town.
- Blackpool has successfully bid with Preston for Housing Growth Point status and the proposals are now being developed.
- Projects in both North and South Beach are currently being looked at by English Partnerships and the Housing Corporation for the New Homes and Community Agency.
- Blackpool and Fylde College is looking at a further expansion of the Higher Education provision beyond that currently being delivered.
- A Multi-Area Agreement – contract between central and local government – will focus on reducing the number of benefit claimants in Blackpool.
Transport and Infrastructure:
- Discussions continue with Balfour Beatty – the new owners of Blackpool Airport – about potential investment to provide quality well paid jobs at the airport.
Cllr Peter Callow, leader of Blackpool Council, said: "The first phase of Hounds Hill Shopping Centre has opened very successfully, exceeding expectations and creating a real buzz in the town centre. With more interventions we are confident we can establish Blackpool as a real heart of the Fylde Coast and a vibrant town centre accessed by the whole of Lancashire in addition to our existing tourism economy."
Doug Garrett, chief executive of ReBlackpool, added: "The strategic review is crucial as we move from planning into the delivery and implementation stage. As with any long-term plan, it is essential to review activity and our goals to make sure what we planned to deliver is still feasible and relevant. Sir Howard has a proven record in delivering major regeneration projects and his skills and experience will now be used to lead and push forward development in Blackpool."