BWB Consulting has been appointed to carry out preliminary transport highway assessments as Blackpool Council begins the planning process for its proposed eastern access road and the remodelling of the adjacent Common Edge Road Playing Fields.
BWB’s appointment by the Enterprise Zone delivery team follows the erection of marketing boards around the site at South Shore.
The firm is tasked with traffic assessments including traffic counts at key junctions, providing initial concept designs for the road layout, and addressing any transport issues, including those around parking, walking and cycling, that might arise from future development.
The eastern road is to provide a second access point to the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone and help to ease congestion during peak commuter hours in the immediate area and surrounding feeder routes to junction 4 of the M55. The council hopes that the road can unlock development sites by 2020.
Cllr Mark Smith, cabinet member for regeneration, enterprise and economic development, said: “This is a crucial first step towards securing planning permission and releasing much needed development land. There is a high local demand for more quality employment space and Blackpool Council are keen to unlock development plots to meet this need.
“We want local businesses to stay on the Fylde coast and create sustainable jobs for the local community and not be forced to look elsewhere.”
Rob Green, head of enterprise zones, said: “Since the marketing boards were erected, the team has seen an upsurge in property and land enquiries for the site which is very encouraging for the development, and testimony that the delivery of the masterplan is moving in the right direction.”
The council said that since being granted its status in April 2016, the Enterprise Zone has already attracted over 50 businesses that have located to the area and created to date more than 700 jobs.
Blackpool recently allocated £28.8m for an initial three-year infrastructure programme to help secure early investment in the site and kickstart development.
The council hopes that over the next 23 years the 356-acre site can lever in £300m private investment, with up to 5,000 jobs and up to 140 new businesses on site by 2030. It hopes to oversee the development, conversion or repurposing of 2.8m sq ft of floorspace at the former airport site and its surrounds.