Blackpool Central is the big site in the town centre which was once the Central Railway Station. Today, it’s temporary use is as a big surface car park. It’s going to see a major £300m redevelopment as Blackpool Central Indoor Entertainment Park.
It will include a new major public square for live events, such as music concerts, light shows, sporting events and markets. Along with that an innovative flying theatre, new hotels, restaurants, a food market and multi-storey car park.
The £300m leisure development is expected to create over 1,000 jobs for local people. It will attract 600,000 additional visitors each year and bring millions of pounds of additional spend into the town.
Take a look around the site in this video. We captured it for posterity back in July 2020, before any work begins.
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Road Closures as work begins
On 2 March 2022, Blackpool Council announced that work is about to get underway on Blackpool’s biggest single investment for more than a century.
The first phase of development is the creation of a new multi-storey car park to ensure there is sufficient parking for residents and visitors. It will also free up the existing Central Car Park to enable the leisure phase of the development. This includes new attractions, hotel, restaurants, events square and heritage quarter. Watch this video to find out more
12 months of Road Closures
In order to progress development there will be some road closures. From Monday 16 May the main access route to Central Car Park via Seasiders Way will be closed to traffic. This is to allow construction of the new multi-storey car park.
Where: Entrance to Central Car Park at Seasiders Way where it crosses Chapel Street via the bridge
When: Closed for 12 months from Monday 16 May 2022 until spring 2023
Road Closure Map & Parking
No through route for traffic during this period via Central Car Park and Chapel Street.
Find pedestrian routes into the town centre clearly marked
- Reduced parking will still be available. Around 800 spaces accessed via the main entrance on Central Drive
- The link down to Chapel Street will remain closed
- Diversions will be signposted, and traffic diverted via routes at Parkinson Way/Waterloo Road and Bloomfield Road
- Other car parks in the area remain unaffected – we are asking visitors to park as early as they can to avoid disappointment
- Other car parks in the area include South car park, Bloomfield Road, Lonsdale Road, Seasiders Way and Foxhall Village. They are all still in use and accessible.
- For a map of all local car parks see here: Blackpool Car Parks
- Pedestrian routes will be clearly marked
Parking during the works
Disabled parking. Disabled bays are in the remaining areas of Central Car Park, situated along the fence by New Bonny Street, opposite Coral Island, as well as near the entrance at Chapel Street. Badge holders can use all the bays on Central Car Park, not just the designated disabled bays, with 3 hours free parking.
Coach parking. Coaches can still continue onto Yeadon Way. Signage will be in place to allow drivers to follow their normal route towards Blackpool but informing them of the diversions ahead. The New Bonny Street coach facility will remain in use in its current location, with routes clearly signposted and diversions in place. Coach parking information can be found at Blackpool Coach Parking
Green Light and Funding for Blackpool Central
Published Jan 2022
Proposals to create the new, year round, world class Blackpool Central leisure destination got the green light in October 2021. The £300m transformation of the former Blackpool Central railway station site will transform the heart of the resort. With funding secured for the first phase of works, it’s all systems go!
The detailed planning application for the initial phases has been approved by Blackpool Council Planning Committee. It includes the new 1306 multi storey car park and creation of the Heritage Quarter. Building the car park enables the rest of the site to be developed.
The Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) is one of the UK’s largest pension funds. They’ve signed a contract with Nikal, the developer, to finance construction of the new multi-storey car park. Once complete, Nikal will lease the multi-storey to Blackpool Council and they will operate it too.
The 1,306 space, seven storey car park will take about 16 months to complete. Site preparation is due to begin in early Spring 2022. The timeline for the first phase of works at the Heritage Quarter is completion by Spring 2024.
Outline plans have also been passed for the rest of the site. The following phases include a major public events square, three indoor entertainment centres, a hotel, restaurants and other new hospitality and leisure spaces. The detailed planning application for the rest of the site will now be worked up. 90% of the 700 respondents to public consultation expressed their support for the plans.
The Man Behind the Plan
Alan Murphy is the main investor at the back of the scheme led by property company Nikal Investments.
He made most of his money from AM Paper, a loo roll and paper towel maker which turned recycled tissue paper into loo roll, a massive producer of own-brand products for supermarkets.
He sold the business for more than £150m in the 1990’s and is now one of the North West’s biggest property investors.
Mr Murphy lives not too far away from Blackpool in Chelford, Cheshire. He’s also father to former Hollyoaks star Davinia Taylor.
Planning for first Phase of Blackpool Central
Following a consultation period in May 2021, the hybrid planning application went in to Blackpool Council for the vision to redevelop the Blackpool Central site into a world-class, year-round leisure destination.
Details of the first Phase
The approved, detailed planning application for the initial phases of Blackpool Central includes a new 1,306 space Multi Storey Car Park and proposals to create a Heritage Quarter.
A new multi-storey car park (MSCP)
The delivery of a new Multi Storey Car Park is critical to unlocking the wider Blackpool Central scheme as it will free up land for the future phases and ensure that there continues to be appropriate parking provision for visitors to the town and local residents.
And a Thriving new Heritage Quarter
This includes an Artisan Food Hall with outdoor space, including al fresco dining, a new pub and hotel, and high quality Aparthotel. Other aspects of the development are included in the accompanying outline application (see below).
Proposals to create a thriving new Heritage Quarter will restore the site’s existing heritage buildings.
The Grade II Listed former King Edward VII Picture House will be transformed into a new ‘Artisan Food Hall’, which spills out onto new outdoor space for ‘al fresco’ dining.
The locally listed King Edward VII pub will be refurbished into a new pub and hotel, creating a modern, family friendly environment offering quality food and beverages.
The King Edward VII apartment building will be renovated into a high-quality ‘Aparthotel’ keeping its original character.
And the next steps…
The outline planning application for future phases of the scheme, includes:
- a major public events square for live events,
- three indoor entertainment centres,
- and additional leisure and hospitality space.
The top three most important aspects of the plans identified by respondents in the consultation were:
- creation of new jobs and local economic benefits,
- boosting Blackpool’s tourism offer,
- and delivering new attractions.
The vast majority of feedback welcomed plans for the new Heritage Quarter and highlighted that it will help boost footfall and breathe new life into the buildings. Many residents also shared their aspiration for the scheme to be a catalyst for improving and regenerating the surrounding area and Central Drive.
Get in touch with the project team if you have any questions about the plans or would like further information.
- Phone: 0800 689 1095
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Why it’s GREAT for Blackpool
Blackpool Central is a project of national importance and underpins the overarching regeneration strategy for the town. The scheme will complement and enhance the town’s current tourism offer, with a new year-round, world-class leisure destination. It will help drive Blackpool’s post-COVID recovery by delivering a host of significant benefits.
It will also help to deliver the ambitious vision of the Blackpool Town Deal. The scheme can drive the levelling up of the town, unlocking a host of game-changing benefits:
- Investment of up to £300m – the largest single investment in Blackpool for more than a century
- Attract 600,000 additional visitors to the town every year, helping to future-proof Blackpool’s leisure and tourism offer
- Boost annual spend in Blackpool by up to £75m
- Create up to 1,000 new jobs, building a legacy of new local employment opportunities
Nikal is the developer behind the project. They understand that the Blackpool Central redevelopment underpins the overarching regeneration strategy for the town. And so they’re working closely with Blackpool Council to ensure the project unlocks this once-in-a-generation opportunity.
- Nikal is a property developer which specialises in the imaginative redevelopment and regeneration of strategic sites across the UK and beyond.
- Media Invest Entertainment specialises in media and entertainment and will lead on the development of the indoor theme park.
THE DEAL FOR LAND AT BLACKPOOL CENTRAL
Published January 2020
With final terms of the legal contract for the land release signed by all parties in September 2019, initial development works on the 17 acre plot can get underway.
The land disposal is based on a sale agreement by Blackpool Council to Nikal Ltd and Media Invest Entertainment. It’s for the long lease (250 years) to deliver various phases of the site. All in accordance with the masterplan approved in December 2018. DWF Legal Advisors and JLL Property Consultants acted on behalf of the council.
Simon Blackburn, Leader of Blackpool Council said, “We’re delighted to finalise details of the contract. We’re confident to have secured the best possible deal for the site. The final agreed terms meet our desires and ambitions for the comprehensive redevelopment of Blackpool Central. The agreement offers Nikal and Media Invest Entertainment flexibility around the phasing programme. This will ensure the effective viability and deliverability of the project. Whilst securing the council’s ability to retain the revenue income from the site for the long term future.
“We’re looking forward to continuing work with the developers on this game-changing, high profile regeneration project.
- It will bring in over £300m investment,
- create over 1,000 new jobs and
- attract more than 600,000 new visitors to Blackpool every year.
The UK’s First Flying Theatre
Nikal’s Co-founder Alan Murphy said, “Blackpool has a long history of debuting state-of-the-art family entertainment. We’re excited to be delivering the UK’s first Chariots of the Gods themed attraction to the north west. We look forward to working with Blackpool Council to deliver this landmark development for the town.”
The Enabling Stage will see the development of a 1,300 space multi-storey car park. It will replace the surface car park that exists on site, along with associated public realm works. Nikal will shortly be instructing agents to progress the car park lease. Work will then commence on the hybrid planning application for all areas of the site. That will set out the vision for the site.
Next Step: Planning Application
It’s expected that a hybrid outline/part detailed planning application for the car park will be submitted late 2020.
UPDATE: As of February 2021, planning applications are being drawn up for the first phase of the Blackpool Central scheme. This will include a new multi-storey car park and the Heritage Quarter. The Heritage Quarter takes in the Grade II Listed former King Edward VII Picture House and locally listed King Edward VII pub. The multi-storey will take around a year to build, during which time part of the surface car park will remain open.
The Council will continue to operate and take the revenue of the majority of the existing car parking spaces on Central, Chapel Street and Bonny Street throughout the Enabling phase. This will ensure limited impact on car parking spaces in and around the town centre for visitor parking. Once the new multi-storey car park opens, the existing surface level car parks will close. Thus making way for construction of Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the development.
The site includes the town’s largest surface car park, the magistrate’s court and the former police station. All to be transformed, in several phases over 9/10 years.
DEVELOPMENT OF BLACKPOOL CENTRAL SITE ONE STEP CLOSER
In September 2019, Council Leaders announce that terms are agreed and signed with developers for lease of land at Blackpool Central. It brings a deal one step closer that will allow the £300m regeneration proposals to get underway.
“Throughout 2019 the Council continued negotiations with Nikal around the terms of the development and bringing the proposals to fruition.
Redeveloping the centre of Blackpool
The development will attract up to 600,000 additional visitors a year with an annual spend of £75m. It will also create around 1,000 new jobs.
£300m Leisure Development Revealed
In December 2018, plans were revealed for the biggest single investment in Blackpool’s tourism industry for more than a century.
The £300m Blackpool Central development will bring world-class visitor attractions to a landmark site on the famous Golden Mile. Along with new hotels, restaurants, food market, event square, residential apartments and multi-storey parking.
Chariots of the Gods inspires the masterplan for the long-awaited redevelopment. It’s the global publishing phenomenon, written by Swiss author Erich Von Däniken. Exploring alien encounters and unsolved mysteries of ancient civilisations.
Chariots Of The Gods will be the main theme for Blackpool Central. Including the anchor attraction – the UK’s first “flying theatre”. A fully-immersive thrill ride that will create the incredible sensation of human flight. Take a look –
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The development is estimated to attract 600,000 additional visitors a year with a combined annual spend of £75m. It will also create around 1,000 new jobs.
New Leisure Destination at the Heart of the Resort
The Leader of Blackpool Council describes the Blackpool Central project as a potential “game changer”. Creating a unique, first-class leisure destination in the heart of the resort.
The 17-acre development site currently includes one of Blackpool’s biggest surface car parks. Along with the magistrates’ court building and the former police station. It was once earmarked as the site of a Vegas-style super-casino.
The Blackpool Central project name relates back to the days when the site housed the resort’s main railway station. At its peak, Blackpool Central Station was the busiest in the world.
More about the history of the site and it’s days as a station below.
The project is a collaboration between two companies. Nikal Ltd is a UK-based development company, and Media Invest Entertainment owns intellectual property rights to Chariots Of The Gods. Blackpool Council is working closely with both parties to help “unlock” the development opportunity. Delivery is expected to be in several phases over an eight to nine-year period.
The Blackpool Central Project
The project will incorporate several key components including:
This will provide a new 1300 space multi-storey car park replacing the existing open air car park. Plus new coach drop off facilities and public realm works.
The first major phase of the project will incorporate several key components. Including:
- the UK’s first flying theatre Virtual Reality Experience,
- Greatest Mysteries Multimedia Exhibition Space,
- Adventure Land,
- Thrill & Gaming Zone,
- Alien Diner,
- an artisan food hall, and event square
- and a 150 bedroom hotel.
The UK’s first Flying Theatre: An extraordinary attraction that will provide an unparalleled flying sensation. The indoor theatre will be fully immersive. Enjoy on-board special effects including wind, fog, water and scents, with state-of-the-art projection and surround sound.
Virtual Reality Experience: The most advanced VR experience on an epic scale. Free-roam, multi-player capability, body tracking, and motion simulators for unmatched realism in game-play.
Greatest Mysteries: The world’s first multimedia exhibition of its type exploring extra-terrestrial influences on the great ancient civilisations. A fully-immersive educational and entertaining experience created with leading-edge technology.
Adventure Land: Expansive indoor family entertainment centre. Incorporating a series of physical and mental challenges including free-fall hang gliding, rope courses, adventure trails and interactive climbing walls.
Thrill & Gaming Zone: Fully-themed gaming zone. With thrill and family rides, arcade games, laser tag arena, bounce park and bumper cars.
Alien Diner: Themed bar and event restaurant concept with “roller coaster” service, hourly special effects shows and exploration tours.
Once in a Lifetime Opportunity
It’s a hugely significant milestone in the redevelopment of the Central Station site. This really is a once-in-a-generation opportunity that has the potential to alter the face of our town.
Cllr Blackburn added “Over more than fifty years, many ideas for this site have come and gone. The difference this time is that we have worked very hard with our fantastic partners at Nikal and MIE. Over two years this scheme has been put together. It’s not just aspirational, but highly deliverable.
“These new attractions are of ground-breaking international quality. Their cutting edge technology will take Blackpool’s tourism offer to another level.
“We already have the best amusement park in the UK, in the form of Blackpool Pleasure Beach. These new attractions will allow thrill-seekers to enjoy their visit even more. It will attract new visitors, and encourage existing visitors to stay longer. It will create jobs, regenerate a part of the town that needs it, and boost trade.
“This new development, alongside the other investments taking place in the town, represent a game-changer for our visitor economy. We have long stated that a key objective is to create a year-round destination that delivers year-round employment. Blackpool Central will play a major part in that ambition.”
A year round attraction
Nick Payne, then Managing Director of Nikal, said: “Blackpool Central is a hugely important project for the town and the region. It’s an honour to be on board. Place-making and regeneration are the DNA of our business. We thrive on creating dynamic new spaces that inspire, excite and engage.
“It’s taken almost two years and a lot of hard work to get to this point. We know that the masterplan fully maximises the site’s potential. It will deliver a unique and ground-breaking, entertainment destination with global appeal. The project will revitalise and underpin Blackpool’s growth and regeneration.”
Norbert Reichart is CEO of Media Invest Entertainment. He said: “The unique theme of Chariots Of The Gods will merge entertainment, culture, and history. It’s an enthralling ‘Edutainment’ experience for the whole family – that can be enjoyed all year round.
“Together with some of the best companies in the industry, we’ve developed a one-of-a-kind, exciting indoor entertainment concept. Along with truly world-class attractions it will integrate perfectly into Blackpool’s pre-existing leisure cluster.
Blackpool Central – the story so far
In this game of ‘town centre chess’ two important buildings needed relocating for this exciting development to be realised.
- The police station headquarters has already relocated to new premises at Clifton Road, Marton.
- The Law Courts at Blackpool are also moving to new premises. The proposal is to relocate to the site of the former Devonshire Road Hospital.
Blackpool Council had been in negotiations for some years regarding the Blackpool Central site. Officers and councillors have travelled to Florida several times for meetings.
In November 2017 the Council Leader and Director of Place attended the IAAPA (International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions) conference. Held at the Orange County Conference Centre in Orlando, it was the second time they’d attended.
An exclusivity and non-disclosure agreement was in place with a potential developer regarding the 20 acre site. What we now know to be an ‘attraction led’ indoor area with a themed hotel and retail.
Previous plans for the Central Car Park site included the super-casino and then an indoor snow attraction. While the plot has been awaiting a viable major development, it’s been very useful as a surface car park.
Blackpool Central Railway Station
This plot of prime development land was once the site of the former Central Railway Station. Various terminus delivering routes to more destinations saw it grow to become the world’s busiest railway station by 1911.
We’ve sourced these historic images from Pinterest. Unfortunately their credits have gone astray so apologies to anyone who owns the originals. Please get in touch and we’ll add a photo credit for you.
The station opened in 1863 as Hounds Hill (hence the name of our local shopping centre). Then in 1878 it was renamed Blackpool Central – a name it will take once again. It was once a huge place with 14 platforms, where everyone arrived for holidays and day trips.
The Closure of Blackpool Central Railway Station
It just managed to see it’s centenary before it was to close in 1964. The Beeching Cuts had indicated that Blackpool North should close. But the council of the time lobbied for Central Station to go instead. Blackpool Council bought the site for future redevelopment – it’s been some time coming! The direct Marton line finally closed in 1965.
All the remaining station buildings finally went, demolished in 1973. At that point the whole site became wasteland with all the associated bridges and embankments and railway paraphernalia.
Welcome to Yeadon Way
Yeadon Way was built in the 1980’s on the bed of the derelict railway lines. Creating easy access from the centre of Blackpool to the M55 and motorway network. For many years Central Car Park was the site of the Blackpool Illuminations switch on event.
Wikipedia tells us the very outer wall of the car park is the last visible remnant of the 1900 building. Apparently, traces of the platforms can also be seen in the car park. We’ll have to go and investigate!
Do you remember the Victorian public toilets at Central Car Park? Tiled in regulation green and white they were always immaculately clean and staffed by a lady in an overall.
In 2009 Danfo cubicles replaced the demolished toilet block.
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