Plans for Southbeach Streetfood

New Plans for Southbeach Streetfood

New plans are now approved for Southbeach Streetfood, which will transform Flagstaff Gardens (opposite Sandcastle Waterpark)!

Southbeach Streetfood – transforming a run-down space

The new complex, built from 18 shipping containers, will sell street food and provide outdoor seating along with live music in the central space.

Southbeach Streetfood - dining and entertainment space

The intention is for the family-friendly venue to offer a range of international options from the street food stalls. They’ll be “catering for all ages and food tastes including vegan, vegetarian, low-calorie and those with food allergies and intolerances”. The applicant argues that such an option has become common in big UK cities but is largely missing from Blackpool’s current offering.

Plans were originally shared in the public domain in July 2022. They went to the council planning committee on April 26 2023. Now approved, Flagstaff Gardens will become a dining destination, transforming a run-down and neglected part of Blackpool’s seafront.

Southbeach Streetfood - dining and entertainment at Flagstaff Gardens

As it is Today

We went to take a look in early 2023, just a few days before submission of the planning application.

Currently the area is just a space – although reasonably tidy it’s a missed opportunity with a lot of potential. The new Southbeach Streetfood will put that right – bringing life and vitality to the space!

Here’s our video of the gardens before any work began –

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And some photos, to record it for posterity before the changes are made.

Why Shipping Containers?

Any development in this space must be moveable due to the location of water tanks beneath the site which United Utilities needs access to.

But they are going to make sure the site is “aesthetically pleasing” – by painting the containers in pastel colours and using lighting and green landscaping.

Most of it is outdoors – some of it could be tented. They hope to open at least 200 days a year, including during the Illuminations and in the run up to Christmas.

Streetfood in an ethical way

The application states: “The ethos is to deliver high quality, authentic street food in an ethical, considerate, and sustainable way.”

They also aim to show eco-credentials with LED lighting, energy efficient appliances, menus designed to minimise food waste and recyclable containers.

Creating Local Jobs

The firm behind the application is Southbeach Streetfood UK Ltd. They say it will create jobs, boost the local economy and make better use of a “currently vacant and visually unattractive parcel of land”.

It’s a £750,000 investment for Jamie Willacy, Nick Lowe and Andrew Bradshaw – all originally from South Shore. The scheme is designed by Blackpool based architect Joseph Boniface.

The directors have past experience of collaboration with Blackpool and the Fylde College. They hope to recruit with the help of the college and offer an exciting career path for local students. It’s also an exciting opportunity for new industry recruits to gain experience and develop the streetfood experience as a whole.

They say “We expect to be able to offer year-round employment where staff are retained even when the venue closes for the winter period. The aim is to provide fair and considerate employment. It is not our intention to utilise so-called zero-hour contracts for any staff.”

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Flagstaff Gardens through the Years

Most Recently – the Ghost Train

The site was last home to Carnesky’s Ghost Train attraction. It moved there after a stint between 2009-11 in the Olympia at Winter Gardens. Successful for a time it eventually closed after making large losses. The last performance was on 21 April 2014. Since then the prominent sea-front site has been standing empty.

Carnesky's Ghost Train in 2014
Carnesky’s Ghost Train in 2014

Gardens and Golf

Gary Barkley follows Visit Fylde Coast from his new home at the other side of the world in Canada. Gary once worked for Geoffrey Thompson, heading up the grounds maintenance team at Pleasure Beach. He has a story to tell about Flagstaff Gardens back in the day. He tells us:

“Geoffrey Thompson had arrangements with Blackpool Council to maintain the area, a little after the storage tanks were installed. My team was tasked with planting and creating borders, before the toilet block was later to be installed.

Derek and Chrissie at the Crazy Golf at Blackpool Pleasure Beach - approx 1979
Derek and Chrissie at the Crazy Golf at Blackpool Pleasure Beach – approx 1979

“The Adventure golf was in a similar condition and again we were tasked to develop what you see today. Originally a large water feature stood in the centre of the golf course. The terracotta fountain was the centrepiece of what was a substantial water feature at the former promenade site. It had been decommissioned and backfilled with soil by the council parks and gardens team.

“The centre pieces of this water feature was carefully removed by the heritage department. It often features in your videos around St John Church at Cedar Square in the town centre. It’s nice to see preservation of historic pieces throughout the Fylde.

Transforming the Crazy Golf…

“When Geoffrey Thompson took an interest in the former golf site, each of the four walls making up the perimeter had a strip of sloping lawn, bordering a flat asphalt pathway. A selection of crazy golf attractions were available for visitors to enjoy. However it was apparent that maintenance and upkeep of the area was sadly lacking. Paint was peeling, weeds were taking over and what was once an attractive space was gradually declining.

“Geoffrey was a shrewd and smart businessman and certainly saw potential. Negotiations followed and a maintenance program established to improve the area. This was all in the early 2000s. Initially, the four lawn areas received a weekly cut and the large former water feature was cleared of weeds. The centre piece you now see in Cedar Square and its surrounding pond, maybe 18 – 20 ft diameter, was planted out with seasonal bedding.

“After a couple of seasons being managed by the Pleasure Beach, an investment plan was discussed. With planning permission granted, council workers were tasked with removal of the former water feature. Then a completely new Adventure Golf development was to be installed.

…into a modern Adventure Golf

“Geoffrey and his family/ directors always attended the annual IAPPA conference in the US. There, I gather, a European based Golf course design company was promoting their product. Commissioned to design and install a new course, they worked in conjunction with the Pleasure Beach team. This would be mid to late 2000s and one of the final projects I contributed to before heading over to Canada in 2009.

“The European based construction company did the hard landscaping after we filled the area with hundreds of tonnes of backfill and soil to create the elevation you now see. Planting material came from Brackenwood nursery just next to the M55 exit for Kirkham and Wesham. Plants need to be hardy and handle salt-laden winds, hence what you see today.

“I have to say it was a great experience to close out my 23 years of service to Pleasure Beach. The Polish crew hired to work on the golf hardscaping we’re a lot of fun to work with.”

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