Major milestone for £300m investment in town centre as planning application submitted




Stunning images have been released showing what a £300m scheme to regenerate a town’s centre would like like.

The largest single investment in Blackpool for more than a century would boost jobs and tourism in the seaside resort by creating a heritage square, outdoor events area, hotel, restaurant and multi-story car park.

Nikal Ltd and Media Invest Entertainment have submitted a planning application for the project, called Blackpool Central, hitting a major milestone for the scheme and the town’s regeneration and post-Covid recovery ambitions.

The detailed planning application has been submitted for the initial phases of the scheme, which includes a new 1,306 space multi storey car park and proposals to create a Heritage Quarter.

Outline plans have also been lodged for future phases including a major public events square for live events, three indoor entertainment centres, hotel, restaurants and additional leisure and hospitality space.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Delivering a new multi storey car park is key 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.

The application for Blackpool Central also proposes to restore the site’s existing heritage buildings to create a thriving new Heritage Quarter.

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.

While the King Edward VII apartment building will be renovated into a high-quality ‘Aparthotel’ keeping its original character.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Chairman of Nikal, Richard Fee, said: “This is a watershed moment for Blackpool Central.

“The overwhelmingly positive response to our consultation shows the level of excitement and enthusiasm around the scheme.

“We’d like to thank everyone for getting involved and sharing their ideas for how we can make the most of this exciting opportunity.

“The initial phases, including the multi storey car park and Heritage Quarter, will create a springboard for delivering our vision for the Blackpool Central project.

“In the short term, the early delivery of the car park will ensure that we protect and enhance the town centre’s current car parking provision.”

Submission of the plans follows a public consultation with the local community, which saw over 700 people get involved and an overwhelming 90 per cent express support for Nikal and Media Invest Entertainment’s vision to create a new world-class, year-round leisure destination at the former Blackpool Central railway station.

The creation of new jobs and local economic benefits, boosting Blackpool’s tourism offer and delivering new attractions were identified as the top three most important aspects of the plans by consultation respondents.

And 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 that the scheme will be a catalyst for improving and regenerating the surrounding area and Central Drive.

Lancashire Telegraph:

As one of the UK’s most important regeneration projects, the £300m scheme will be the largest single investment in Blackpool for over a century and is expected to create around 1,000 new jobs, bring an estimated 600,000 additional visitors each year, and boost annual spend in the town by around £75m.

Chief Executive Officer of Media Invest Entertainment, Norbert Reichart, said: “We have taken a major step towards creating one of the UK’s most exciting destinations with this application submission.

“The scheme has a crucial role to play in enhancing Blackpool’s tourism offer and attracting more visitors to the town, and we have been spurred on by the strong show of support for our plans.

“The consultation has also given us lots of food for thought for how we shape the future phases of Blackpool Central and maximise its pulling power.”

Lancashire Telegraph:

Blackpool Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Tourism and Culture, Councillor Lynn Williams, said: “Blackpool Central is vitally important in creating new jobs, boosting the town’s tourism and supporting the local economy.

“The new multi storey car park is a key part to enabling the future phased stages of the development to take place, whilst protecting the car parking spaces needed for our visitors throughout the development.

“The plans for the new Heritage Quarter are an extremely welcome feature as they will breathe new life into neglected properties, reviving the Central Drive area for the benefit of surrounding businesses and residents.”

The scheme is a key part of the Blackpool Town Deal – a bold vision to drive the regeneration of the town and post-Covid economic recovery.

The Town Deal is supported by £39.5m of government funding from the £3.6bn Towns Fund.

Nikal and Media Invest Entertainment are working closely with Blackpool Council to unlock the Blackpool Central redevelopment opportunity.

Once the world’s busiest train station, Blackpool Central Railway Station closed in 1964 and has since been used for car parking and outdoor events.

The wider site has seen a number of uses over the years, including as a police station and law courts.

The law courts will be relocated by Blackpool Council in an unrelated project.

A decision on the planning application is expected from Blackpool Council later this year.


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