Blackpool Central Masterplan
The site was previously earmarked to house the North West super-casino

Timeline firmed up for £300m Blackpool Central

Dan Whelan

Developers Nikal and Media Invest Entertainment aim to submit a planning application for the first phase of the leisure project in April. Proposals include a 1,300-space multistorey car park and a heritage quarter.

“We’re looking to create something never seen before, with world-class rides and family entertainment, Blackpool Central will provide year-round attractions that will complement and future proof the town’s tourism offer,” said Norbert Reichart, chief executive of Media Invest. 

A public consultation on the proposals for the £300m map pinBlackpool Central project is due to be launched in the coming weeks.

Following the consultation period, Nikal and Media Invest are to submit a hybrid planning application to Blackpool Council for the redevelopment of the former Blackpool Central train station close to Central Pier.

The developers are to seek full approval to remediate the site, build the seven-storey car park and create the heritage quarter, while also seeking outline approval for future phases of the development.

The heritage quarter features the reuse of several listed buildings; the former King Edward VII Cinema building is to be converted for use as a food and beverage unit, as is the King Edward pub. 

Blackpool Central Site

The 17-acre site is located close to Central Pier

The King Edward VII Apartment Building is earmarked to be revamped for use as serviced apartments and is to include a ground floor retail and food and drink offer, according to a document by planning consultant Spawforths that has been submitted to the council.

Meanwhile a 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.

Subject to planning approval, the car park is due to be operational by Q3 of 2022 and the heritage quarter is scheduled to complete by Q1 of 2024. 

Blackpool Central Station Masterplan December 2018 2

The £300m scheme features a flying theatre

Construction of the Chariots of The Gods Entertainment Park is planned to begin at the start of 2023 and last for two years. 

The entire project, which will also see Blackpool Magistrate’s’ court relocate, is scheduled to complete in the second quarter of 2029, as outlined by Spawforths.  

In order for the project to start on site, the council needs to acquire the land needed to deliver the first three phases of the scheme and plans to do so by exercising compulsory purchase powers.

Cllr Lynn Williams, leader of Blackpool Council, said: “We can’t underestimate the difference that this high-profile, game-changing development will make to Blackpool’s tourism offer and the boost it will provide to the town’s economy.”  

The council had previously earmarked the Blackpool Central site for a super-casino, putting forward a bid in 2006 to the Labour Government at the time. However, the town lost out to Manchester’s bid, which had proposed building a super-casino in Eastlands, although this was never progressed. 

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Good luck Nikal, Blackpool really needs developments and developers like this. Could be transformational.

By Simon