What’s Happening at Blackpool Enterprise Zone

The development of Blackpool Enterprise Zone is progressing apace. It’s an industrial-led, mixed use employment site, incorporating Blackpool Airport.

Work Begins at the Enterprise Zone Sports Village

Construction began in autumn 2021 to deliver phase two of the development of a new £5m sports village at Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone.

Work Begins at the Enterprise Zone Sports Village
Work Begins at the Enterprise Zone Sports Village. L-R: Site manager David Gana, Charlie Conlon, Chairman Michael Conlon and Cllr Mark Smith. Photo credit @Jebsoncreates

Conlon Construction is now active on the 35-acre site off Common Edge Road in Marton, Blackpool. The sports facilities will be used by the Spirit of Youth Junior Football Club, which has 250 registered players, and other clubs in the local area. Once complete, it will comprise:

  • a single-storey 675m2 changing and spectator facility;
  • a 3G sports pitch,
  • replacement grass rugby pitch and training area;
  • reconfiguration and extension of the existing car park to accommodate 194 cars;
  • plus alterations to the existing access road.

The build will take 10 months to complete with an anticipated opening in summer 2022. It will create approximately 10 full-time equivalent local construction jobs throughout the lifetime of the project. Blackpool Council has also applied for £200,000 grant funding from the Football Foundation to assist the project.

It’s designed by Preston-based architectural, planning and building surveying practice, Cassidy + Ashton. The scheme is the first stage of a £28.8m investment allocated for the redevelopment of the wider 355-acre Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone. Over the next 25 years, Blackpool Council aims to spend £70m on the Enterprise Zone to attract 140 businesses and help create 5,000 jobs.

Blackpool Council has recently appointed a dedicated social value team. They’ll ensure local projects satisfy the council’s criteria of achieving a minimum 20% social value target in all developments. Conlon Construction has committed to:

  • achieving an entirely local supply chain,
  • appointing 80% of suppliers within a 30-mile radius of the project,
  • and to use the development as an opportunity to upskill disadvantaged groups from the area. Work experience placements will be offered on site.

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.

Blackpool Airport

Blackpool Council has been successful in its bid for expert help and support with the future development of Blackpool Airport. Support will come from the Airfield Development Advisory Fund.

Report Sets out the Future Business Plan for Blackpool Airport

Aviation industry experts produced a comprehensive report. It set out the best opportunities to revive and secure the future of Blackpool Airport.

The report was produced by leading airport and aviation consultant, York Aviation. It made a number of recommendations for investment in infrastructure, operations and management of the airport. These will ensure it remains a key transport asset for the North West.

CGI Masterplan of Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone
CGI Masterplan of Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone

Blackpool Council bought the airport from Balfour Beatty in 2017 to ensure the Squires Gate operation remained open for business.

The 144 hectare Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone (EZ) came into existence in April 2016.

Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone

Two wholly-owned Council companies now look after Blackpool Airport:

  • Squires Gate Operations Ltd (SGAOL) look after airport operations
  • Blackpool Airport Properties Ltd (BAPL) look after the airport’s land and property on the 400-acre site

Airport Masterplan

A detailed business plan helps to map out the long-term future for the airport. It’s intended that the plan will:

  • Safeguard jobs and create new job opportunities
  • Identify improvements in infrastructure
  • Establish the airport’s market, areas of business growth and new revenue streams
  • Identify and develop new business aviation opportunities
  • Support the release of development land for the wider Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone
Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone Masterplan
Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone Masterplan

York Aviation identified the main opportunities for future growth potential as:

  • Growth of existing areas of core business, particularly general aviation activity and flying tuition
  • Continuation of the contract for helicopter offshore operations
  • Creation of further opportunities for corporate and executive aviation activity, providing additional revenue for the airport
  • Opportunities to attract substantial aircraft maintenance repair and operational activity. With a main focus on smaller executive jet-type aircraft, bringing rent, movement and fuel income
  • Replacing old hangars with new build hangars, located closer to the runway to increase capacity and income
  • Opening up attractive development land fronting Squires Gate Lane
  • Development of an on-site café with airside views

Commercial Air Traffic

York Aviation also analysed the market to assess the viability of commercial air services being reintroduced at the airport.

The high levels of  investment in new terminal facilities, security, operational equipment and staffing would far outweigh the income generated. It could see an annual seven figure financial loss.

It’s estimated that around 1.5m passengers would be needed each year to justify the level of investment required. But, historically, maximum passenger numbers at Blackpool Airport peaked at 700,000 a year.

The reintroduction of passenger flights to the Isle of Man, Dublin and Belfast would need careful consideration and financial scrutiny. Given the increased costs of staffing and operational requirements they would need.

At this stage, it is clear that the reintroduction of commercial flights is not financially viable. Operation of smaller services such as flights to the Isle of Man, Dublin and Belfast, would break even at best. To maintain an operational airport in Blackpool it’s critical that the financial reality is heeded.

The Airport is a key element of the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone strategy and development to which £28.8m is allocated. That includes £3.45m towards the initial activity of relocating and replacing older aircraft hangars, providing new apron and a new offshore helicopter terminal.

Development of 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
Blackpool Enterprise Zone, character areas

The Enterprise Zone is part of a wider £1 billion + regeneration programme for Blackpool. It’s already playing a critical part in attracting the inward investment needed for Blackpool’s future development. The focus is on broadening and improving the commercial property offer available on the Fylde Coast.

New Road at Blackpool Enterprise Zone

Blackpool Enterprise Zone development started with a transport assessment for a new road.

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. Work on the creation of 12 new sports pitches is already underway and will be ready for the 2021 Autumn football season. A planning application has been submitted for new changing rooms and additional facilities.

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.

Unlocking development land

The new eastern access road will allow Blackpool Council, the accountable body for the Enterprise Zone, to unlock development land.

Essential infrastructure will help to help secure early investment in the site, kick start development, build momentum and reinforce market confidence.

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.

The Enterprise Zone team now are taking all enquiries for available property and land on Freephone 0808 1644922 or register interest at https://blackpoolez.com/contacts/

Lancashire Advanced Manufacturing and Energy Cluster

Blackpool and the Fylde College Lancashire Energy Headquarters is a £9.8m flagship development. 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 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.

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

Blackpool Enterprise Zone’s first anniversary

Published April 2017

A year in and the Enterprise Zone has already attracted 28 new companies, hosting 450 new jobs in the area. It’s expected to add an extra 2,500 jobs over the next 24 years.

(L-R) Steve Williams, MD, Force Technology with Cllr Mark Smith, Blackpool Council’s Cabinet Member for Business and Economic Development.
(L-R) Steve Williams, MD, Force Technology with Cllr Mark Smith, Blackpool Council’s Cabinet Member for Business and Economic Development.

Companies operating in the business park cover diverse industry sectors. They range from manufacturers and energy consultancies to accountants and a publishing house.

Engineering firm Force Technology was the first private business to be officially welcomed to the Enterprise Zone last year. The company specialises in high precision spring applications for the automotive, transport and shipping industry.

Steve Williams is Managing Director, Force Technology. He said: “We made the right choice basing our company in Blackpool’s Enterprise Zone.

“When we moved in to our premises there were only three of us.  Now we have grown to 17 staff. By next year we predict that Force Technology will be employing over 30 staff.

“Many factors that have helped deliver this success.  The location is ideal with easy access to the transport network. Our premises never fail to impress our customers many of whom are internationally based.

“The support from the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Economic Development Company has been top class. We would highly recommend businesses to locate in Blackpool. It’s a winner.”

Find out More

Blackpool Enterprise Zone www.blackpoolez.com

Hillhouse Enterprise Zone www.hillhouseez.com

While you’re here…

Have a look at the homepage of the Live Blackpool website homepage for more of the latest updates.

Love the Fylde Coast? Sign up for your weekly email newsletter. Packed full of interesting things it arrives in your inbox all 52 weeks of the year.

Join us on Facebook at our Visit Fylde Coast Facebook Group

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @visitFyldeCoast

What do you think? Leave a comment

Share on

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Most Recent

Recent Updates from Local Businesses

Trevors Foodservice, delivering all over the Fylde Coast

Trevors Foodservice

Trevors Foodservice is the large, back-stage business that's quietly feeding the Fylde Coast! You're sure …
Scroll to Top