New road assessment kick-starts Blackpool Enterprise Zone development

Cllr Smith and Rob Green

The first phase of redevelopment was marked at Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone this week with the appointment of consultants to carry out transport highway assessments for access to the site, which could support up to 5,000 new jobs.

Cllr Mark Smith, cabinet member for regeneration, enterprise and economic development, was joined by Rob Green, head of Enterprise Zones at Blackpool Council, to mark the milestone.

BWB Consulting, a specialist engineering and environmental design consultancy, has been appointed to look into the first stage of the planning application process for the new eastern access road, and the remodelling of the adjacent Common Edge Road Playing Fields.

The traffic assessment will include traffic counts at key junctions, provide initial concept designs for the road layout, and address any transport issues, including parking, walking and cycling elements associated with future development and the impact of jobs growth over the next 23 years.

Blackpool Airport was awarded enterprise status in 2016, until 2041.

The Enterprise Zone is a 144 hectare site that includes Blackpool Airport, Blackpool Retail Park, Blackpool Business Park and surrounding land up to the border of Common Edge Road.

The purpose of the Enterprise Zone status is to create jobs and long term sustainable growth, unlock development sites, build new roads, utilities and supporting housing and schools, and attract new business to the area.

The Enterprise Zone offers local businesses financial help to get started either through five years of business rates relief, worth up to £275,000, or enhanced capital allowances if a company decises to design and build their own building.

All the money collected through the new business rates generated on the Enterprise Zone, over the 25-year lifespan, is kept by Blackpool Council to re-invest in local economic growth.

The new eastern road would provide a much-needed second access point to the Enterprise Zone and help to ease congestion during peak commuter hours in the local area on Squires Gate Lane, Common Edge Road and surrounding feeder routes.

It is projected that the new eastern access road would allow Blackpool Council to unlock land available for development by 2020.

Cllr Smith said: “It is great to see the traffic assessment under way as it’s a crucial first step towards securing planning permission and releasing much-needed development land.

“There is a high local demand for more quality employment space and Blackpool Council are keen to unlock development plots to meet this need.

“We want local businesses to stay on the Fylde Coast and create sustainable jobs for the local community and not be forced to look elsewhere for suitable premises to meet their growth requirements.”

Rob Green added: “Since the marketing boards were erected the Enterprise Zone team has seen an upsurge in property and land enquiries for the site which is very encouraging for the development and testimony that the delivery of the masterplan is moving in the right direction to provide modern, quality, employment solutions.”

Since being granted Enterprise Zone status in April 2016, the Enterprise Zone has already attracted more than 50 businesses that have located to the area and created more than 700 jobs.

Blackpool Council recently allocated £28.8m of funding for an initial three-year period to deliver essential infrastructure to help secure early investment in the site, kick-start development, build momentum and reinforce market confidence.

It is projected that over the next 23 years the 144 hectare site will help to transform the Blackpool and Fylde Coast’s economic base with more than £300m of private investment, attract up to 5,000 jobs supported by new infrastructure, help 140 new businesses move on site by 2030, and develop, convert or re-purpose 260,000 sq m of potential floor space.