What’s Happening at Blackpool Enterprise Zone

Blackpool Enterprise Zone is a 144 hectare site that includes Blackpool Airport, Blackpool Retail Park, Blackpool Business Park and surrounding land up to the border of Common Edge Road. They’re part of the Government’s wider Industrial Strategy to support businesses and enable local economic growth. Blackpool Airport was awarded enterprise status in 2016 until 2041.

The 144 hectare site is much larger than many of the other UK enterprise zones and straddles the boundary between the Borough of Fylde (55%) and Blackpool (45%). It’s easy to get to from Junction 4 of the M55 motorway (10 minute drive) and Blackpool South train station (5 minute walk).

Much of the site sits within designated greenbelt and has multiple stakeholders, There’s up to 20 freehold and long leasehold property interests and over 200 occupiers.

What and Where is Blackpool Enterprise Zone?

It’s one of the four enterprise zones in Lancashire that make up the Lancashire Advanced Manufacturing and Energy Cluster. A dynamic, world-class investment destination.

Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone is a 144 hectare site off Squires Gate Lane. It includes the business park around the back of the retail estate at Morrison’s supermarket. Plus the existing Category 3 airport and surrounding commercial areas. The Aldi supermarket chain is on site with a floor space of 1,740 sq m employing around 40 people.

Blackpool Enterprise Zone

Hillhouse Technology Enterprise Zone is Blackpool’s sister site located in Thornton Cleveleys.

A range of commercial premises are already on the site, along with a range of plots for development. Prospective occupiers can take advantage of land sales, design and build and units for rent. Target sectors include:

  • the energy industry,
  • aviation,
  • advanced engineering and manufacturing sector,
  • food and drink manufacturing,
  • digital, technology and creative sectors.

The purpose of Enterprise Zone Status

  • attract new business to the area, create jobs and long term sustainable growth
  • unlock development sites
  • build new roads, utilities and supporting housing and schools

The Enterprise Zone offers local businesses financial help to get started. By moving to the Enterprise Zone, businesses can benefit from Enhanced Capital Allowances if a company decides to design and build their own building.

All the money collected through the new business rates generated on the EZ, over the 25 year lifespan, is kept by Blackpool Council as the accountable body to re-invest in local economic growth. In addition, the Government is working actively with Enterprise Zones to help to unblock any barriers to delivery, such as support with transport infrastructure, environmental issues and providing advice on marketing zones to international investors.  

Developing Blackpool Enterprise Zone

Blackpool Council is driving forward the site development to achieve the vision of making Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone a premier business location in the North West.

Blackpool Enterprise Zone, aerial view
Blackpool Enterprise Zone, aerial view, marked out in red
Blackpool Enterprise Zone, character areas

Opening up Access

Blackpool Enterprise Zone development started with a transport assessment for a new road. This will create access to 235,000 sq ft of development plots for growing or relocating businesses. The commercial units will help the Enterprise Zone to achieve its targets of creating 3,000 new, quality jobs for local people and spark £300m of private sector investment in the town.

Cllr Mark Smith (below left) is Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Enterprise and Job Creation. He joined Rob Green, Head of Enterprise Zones at Blackpool Council to mark the start of the first phase of redevelopment.

Blackpool Enterprise Zone
Blackpool Enterprise Zone

Phase 1 plans include a new eastern access road and re-modelling of the adjacent Common Edge Road Playing Fields.

12 new sports pitches, changing rooms and additional facilities have been already delivered. The new eastern road will provide a much needed second access point to the Enterprise Zone. It will help to ease congestion during peak commuter hours in the local area and surrounding feeder routes. It will also allow development land to be unlocked.

Over the next two decades the 144 hectare site will help to transform the Blackpool and Fylde Coasts economic base. Over £300m private investment will attract up to 5,000 new jobs, supported by new infrastructure. 140 new businesses are expected on site by 2030 to develop, convert or re-purpose 260,000 sqm of floor space.

Silicon Sands Data Centre Campus

A new masterplan outlining the creation of a Silicon Sands Data Centre Campus – right here in Blackpool – was launched in May 2024. It means the town – and wider Fylde Coast – could become a new home for data centre development. A combination of internet connectivity, renewable power supplies and available land makes it an attractive proposition for inward investment.

Blackpool is home to the Celtix-Connect2 internet cable. The cable connects the town to New York, Dublin and northern Europe as part of the North Atlantic Loop. It carries up to one-third of the world’s internet traffic. Blackpool’s access to the cable could create significant inward investment here on the Fylde Coast, similar to areas of Dublin and New York.

New Enterprise Zone Link Road

Work on a new Enterprise Zone link road began in Spring 2024. It will connect Common Edge Road with Blackpool Business Park on Amy Johnson Way creating a second access road into the business park. Work also includes widening Common Edge Road and improving the junction at School Road.

New Enterprise Zone Link Road connecting Common Edge Road with Amy Johnson Way
New Enterprise Zone Link Road connecting Common Edge Road with Amy Johnson Way. Photo: Blackpool Council

The £18.5m project will kick-start development opportunities on the new Eastern Gateway. It will also unlock 10.5 hectares of commercial land, a range of which will be available for development from summer 2025.

George Cox & Sons are carrying out pre-construction works. Including converting the former Jepson Way changing rooms into a site compound. As this work takes place off the main road it doesn’t need any additional traffic management.

Construction of the new road will follow shortly after. It will include additional lanes created on Common Edge to maintain two-way traffic while the new road and junction are built.

Support to build the new access road at the Enterprise Zone has been provided through a £7.5m grant from HM Government Town Fund.

New £6m Common Edge Sports Village opens

A new £6m sports village opened in Blackpool in July 2023, completing the first phase of development at Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone. Improving the community sports facilities allows 10.5 hectares of land to be unlocked for commercial development.

The Common Edge Community Sports Village includes 14 new grass football pitches, along with a full sized 3G football pitch, sports pavilion with changing rooms and community space, plus a grass rugby pitch and training area.

The new facilities were officially opened by Manchester United defender Jess Simpson before the finals of the Blackpool Primary School Games, with 80 girls from 8 schools competing on the 3G pitch for the first time.

L-R Ellen Wolf, Charlie Dusic, Jess Simpson, Cllr Jo Farrell and Lia Thain opening the new Common  Edge Community Sports Village
L-R Ellen Wolf, Charlie Dusic, Jess Simpson, Cllr Jo Farrell and Lia Thain opening the new Common Edge Community Sports Village

The seven 11 v 11 football pitches are complemented by five seven-a-side and two nine-a-side pitches. A full sized 3G all-weather pitch is available with access directly from the new changing rooms. Grass for a new floodlit rugby pitch and training area is growing ready to use later in the year.

The new sports pavilion also includes six changing rooms, two officials’ rooms, two kitchens and a large community room. A 194-space car park with sustainable drainage and new access road to the sports village has also been completed as part of the works.

Blackpool Airport

Blackpool Airport operates as an important hub to benefit the whole region. It’s a key part of the local economy and as sole owner Blackpool Council ensures that it can continue to be used as an aviation and employment hub for the Fylde coast for the long term.

Helicopter and other commercial airside activities continue whilst building on these to deliver the overall objective of creating up to 5,000 jobs on the Enterprise Zone site.

In September 2023 plans were unveiled for new hangars at the airport – proposals for the first new developments at the airport in over 15 years.

Outline planning consent is being sought for three 20,000 sq. ft hangars to be built at the Enterprise Zone. They would be suitable for light general aviation and small planes, including small corporate turboprops and warbird aircraft. Two larger hangars could house larger planes such as a Boeing 737 or Airbus A321 for maintenance, repair and overhaul activities.

Lancashire Advanced Manufacturing and Energy Cluster

The Blackpool Airport and Hillhouse Technology Enterprise Zone sites are part of the wider Lancashire Advanced Manufacturing and Energy Cluster (LAMEC). It also includes the Samlesbury Aerospace Enterprise Zone and the Warton Aviation Enterprise Zone.

Blackpool and the Fylde College Lancashire Energy Headquarters is a £9.8m flagship development at the Enterprise Zone. It’s backed by £6.2m of Growth Deal funding and provides a high standard training facility. It delivers the full range of technical and professional education required by the energy industry. With a particular focus on the green and renewables sectors.

The EZ Cluster has the potential to generate 10,000 new high value jobs over its lifetime. This will make sure that Lancashire builds on its position as one of the UK’s leading centres of excellence. Business rate relief is available to incoming companies to the EZ. They can also benefit from Enhanced Capital Allowances for investment in new fixed plant and machinery.

Find out more about Blackpool Enterprise Zone here

Find out More

Blackpool Enterprise Zone www.blackpoolez.com

Hillhouse Enterprise Zone www.hillhouseez.com

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