Blackpool has secured a multi-million pound Town Deal package of funding from Central Government. It will see the transformation of the town. Terms for the £39.5m Blackpool Town Deal were formally signed in November 2020.
Town Deal Funds have been allocated to seven key projects across Blackpool that could help shape the town’s future. In August 2021, you were invited to contribute to a consultation on how the money should be spent.
In December 2021 we told you that the projects had received sign off from Blackpool Council Executive Committee.
On 3 March 2022, it’s announced that the £39.5m has been fully approved by Government. Work can now commence on all 7 projects. Up until now the money had been ring-fenced for Blackpool, pending approval of individual business cases for each project.
The Government’s £3.6bn Town Fund was announced in 2019. Blackpool was one of the first of 101 towns in the UK to secure funding. The funding is aimed at strengthening the local economy and revitalising the town. It will help to increase economic growth with a focus on regeneration, improved transport, better broadband connectivity, skills and culture. The £39.5m will look to catalyse an additional £450m in public and private investment. It’s part of the Council’s £1bn + Growth and Prosperity Programme.
With the help of this funding Blackpool will become a thriving coastal community. One which offers more work opportunities for residents, a good education for all, a place to grow businesses, an enhanced tourism offer and a place where our young people are supported and developed.
Blackpool Town Deal Projects
The seven projects to benefit from a share of a £39.5m Town Deal from the Government’s £3.6bn Towns Fund are:
Blackpool Central Courts Relocation – allocated £6.95m
Supporting the relocation of Blackpool’s County and Magistrates Courts by opening up space to support the £300m private sector investment at Blackpool Central. This will provide a brand new, world-class, visitor attraction. Open year-round providing a major boost to the visitor economy including major job creation.
Blackpool Multiversity – allocated £9m
Land assembly to enable the relocation of the Blackpool & The Fylde College’s Palatine Road campus. This will enable the creation of a world class university learning environment in the town centre. It will help to address local skills needs, working with local employers and in partnership with Lancaster University. The new Multiversity Campus has been designed to accommodate over 3,600 learners.
Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone – allocated £7.5m
Creating a new road to open up development sites to attract jobs and investment at the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone (EZ). Through the creation of new highways, the scheme will support business and jobs growth, opening up 10.5 hectares of previously inaccessible development land.
Revoe Community Sports Village – allocated £6.5m
This project will aid the regeneration of the Revoe area, creating new sports pitches and facilities for communitywide use. It will create investment within the Blackpool FC Bloomfield Road ground and surrounding area. The overall project aim is to provide a sports village with leisure, education, and residential uses. And attract further private investment to the area.
The Edge – allocated £4.5m
Redevelopment of the existing town centre Stanley Buildings to create modern office space for new start-ups and growing businesses. Also providing business advice for growth-ambitious small businesses. The Edge is the name given to the new extended managed workspace that will bring into use large parts of the upper floors of the building. The aim is to create a vibrant business hub with a choice of offices, meeting rooms, co-working and breakout spaces.
Blackpool Illuminations – allocated £4.5m
The project will provide investment to upgrade the world famous Blackpool Illuminations to attract new visitors by developing new features and lighting technology. A number of new centrepiece attractions will be designed alongside new lighting infrastructure improvements. Plus essential technical equipment needed to deliver the illuminations in a greener, more sustainable way.
Youth Hub – allocated £0.5m
The development of a physical space to support young people in the town to access jobs and training. Helping them to make the jump from school or unemployment into work, smoother and easier. The Youth Hub will provide a ‘one place base’ providing quality advice for young jobseekers aged 16-24. The service will be located in a vacant town centre unit within Bickerstaffe House, a Council owned building.
Leader of Blackpool Council Cllr Lynn Williams has described the progress made on the town’s ambitious redevelopment programme as “game-changing”.
Game Changing Schemes
“Our Town Deal proposals move another crucial step forward to turning our ambitions into reality and the team has made excellent progress on this major part of the Council’s Growth and Prosperity Programme designed to secure long term benefits for Blackpool’s residents and the economy. An incredible amount of work has already been done to get the projects to this stage since being awarded the £39.5m and agreeing final allocations and Heads of Terms with Government in November 2020, including finalising the scheme proposals to develop Treasury compliant business cases for each scheme, appraising them with the benefit of the expertise of partners and independent appraisers, and then putting them through the approval process.
“All the hard work means that we now have seven deliverable, game-changing schemes that will make a huge difference to the town and for our residents, and will help to enable Blackpool to have a strong and thriving coastal community by 2030.”
The seven business cases have been submitted to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) and a response is anticipated early in 2022. Towns have until the end of the 2025/26 financial year to spend the money.
Kick Starting Recovery
Paul Smith, Chair of the Town Deal Board said: “It’s a huge step forward now these projects have been given the final seal of approval. The Town Deal Board proudly work to that ensure we represent the needs and views of the Blackpool community and businesses and I am confident this investment is going to the right places with the right plans.
“We will continue to serve the town by ensuring the plans we have in place deliver the results needed.
“We will also continue to build on the relationship we have with central Government so they can fully understand how this funding will tackle some of the issues we have here in Blackpool developing the economy and supporting people to lead healthier and happier lives”.
You can also read more about Town Deal on Blackpool Council’s website Town Deal and for more information on the wider regeneration projects already taking place in Blackpool or to register for free updates visit www.blackpool.gov.uk/BetterBlackpool
The Town Deal Board
Blackpool is one of the 100 towns included in the Ministry of Levelling Up Housing and Communities (MLHC), formerly Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government MHCLG’s Town’s Fund Prospectus set up to address growth constraints and to deliver long term economic benefits through:
- Urban regeneration, planning and land use
- Skills and enterprise infrastructure
The Town’s Fund provides an opportunity for Blackpool to agree a Town Deal with MLUHC. Thereby it can benefit from significant investment for growth. It is a condition of the Town’s Fund that Blackpool Council set up a Town Deal Board.
The membership and role of the Board is to:
- Develop and agree an evidenced-based Town Investment Plan
- Develop a clear programme of interventions
- Coordinate resources and influence stakeholders
The Board is not a legal entity, its role is advisory. Its purpose is to work with Blackpool Borough Council, to which it is accountable as the lead council, to produce a well-evidenced Town Investment Plan. This sets out a clear understanding of Blackpool, focusing on assets, opportunities and challenges. This will help to create a business case to secure Town Deal funding.
Consultation on Blackpool’s Town Deal
As part of the development of the bid, the public were invited to help shape Blackpool’s future. Through the summer of 2020 you were invited to have your say on how the money should be used.
The response to an online survey was outstanding.
- Over 30,000 people read about the Town Deal, with over 6,600 visitors to the website, leaving 1,119 comments.
- 101 telephone interviews were carried out to help decide the top priorities to be put forward.
- Both the Council and the Town Deal Board thank all participants in the survey. Your feedback has helped to shape the final proposals.
Leader of Blackpool Council Cllr Lynn Williams said: “We’re delighted with the response from the public at a time when face-to-face consultation has been virtually non-existent. The online survey has allowed us to reach more members of the local community than we would otherwise been able to do. The input has been considered and thoughtful, and is vital in helping us create a plan for the future of Blackpool, so thank you to all who took part.”
Your Town Deal Priorities
Feedback was overwhelmingly positive. A range of suggestions were made around:
- improving housing,
- improving the town centre,
- attracting new businesses and creating new, high quality jobs,
- improving mental health services,
- investing in transport,
- improving skills and employment support for adults,
- and supporting young people into work and education.
Priorities for investment were identified as:
- Housing Market
- Strengthen and broaden the tourist offer
- Town Centre regeneration
- Attract new businesses including technology
- Youth services
- Mental Health
- Addressing homelessness
Not all of these things are eligible for funding through the Town Deal which has a focus on economic infrastructure. But they are identified as priorities for funding through other sources where Government and other agencies support will also be sought.
In July 2020 we took a walk around Central Car Park, where the Blackpool Central development will take place –
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