Sale of land agreed for ‘game changing’ Blackpool Central scheme

Blackpool Central masterplan

Blackpool Council has confirmed that the final terms of the contract to release land at the Blackpool Central site have been completed, enabling works on the 17 acre plot to get under way.

Terms were initially agreed in September 2019.

The land disposal is based on a sale agreement by Blackpool Council to Nikal and Media Invest Entertainment for the long lease (250 years) to deliver various phases of the site, in accordance with the masterplan that was approved in December 2018.

Council leader, Simon Blackburn, said: “We are delighted to have finalised the details of the contract and are confident and happy to have secured the best possible deal for the site and that the final agreed terms meet our desires and ambitions for the comprehensive redevelopment of Blackpool Central.

“The agreement offers Nikal and Media Invest Entertainment the flexibility around the phasing programme to 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 are looking forward to continuing work with the developers on this game-changing, high-profile regeneration project that will bring in over £300m investment, create over 1,000 new jobs and attract more than 600,000 new visitors to Blackpool every year.”

Nikal’s co-founder, Alan Murphy, said: “Blackpool has a long history of debuting state-of-the-art family entertainment. We are excited to be delivering the UK’s first Chariots of the Gods-themed attraction to the North West of England, along with all other phases.

“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 to replace the surface car park that exists on site and associated public realm works.

Nikal will shortly be instructing agents to progress the car park lease and work will commence shortly on the hybrid planning application for all areas of the site which will set out the vision for the site.

A hybrid outline/part detailed planning application for the car park is anticipated to be submitted late 2020.

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 of development.

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, making way for construction of phase one and phase two of the development.

The site, which includes the town’s largest surface car park, the magistrates’ court and the former police station, will be transformed in several phases over the course of approximately nine years, including:

  • Enabling phase: This will provide a new 1,300-space multi-storey car park replacing the existing open air car park as well as new coach drop off facilities and public realm works.
  • Phase One: 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.
  • Phase two: Plans include residential apartments, further food and drink outlets and a second hotel comprising 250 bedrooms and landscaped public space.

DWF Legal Advisors and JLL Property Consultants acted on behalf of the council.