Plans unveiled for first phase of £300m Blackpool Central regeneration

Plans for Blackpool Heritage Quarter

Nikal and Media Invest Entertainment have launched a consultation on plans for the first phase of Blackpool Central, a £300m world-class leisure destination off the Golden Mile in Blackpool.

The new, year-round destination is forecast to attract an additional 600,000 visitors to Blackpool per year, boost annual spend in the town by £75m and create up to 1,000 jobs.

The development will be home to a new indoor theme park, including a flying theatre, rides for all the family, the latest immersive virtual reality experience and a rooftop bar.

It will also feature a new major public square for live events, such as music concerts, light shows, sporting events and markets, and new hotels and restaurants.

A planning application is being prepared for the first phase of development, which includes a new 1,300-space multi-storey car park (MSCP) which will free up land for future phases and ensure there continues to be appropriate parking provision for visitors to Blackpool and Blackpool residents.

The first phase of the plans will also restore the existing heritage buildings to create a thriving new Heritage Quarter. The Grade II-listed former King Edward VII Picture House will become 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 with plenty of character.

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, which will be the largest single investment in Blackpool in more than a century.

Richard Fee, Nikal chairman, said: “We’re looking to create a world class leisure destination that will add to Blackpool’s current offer and attract hundreds of thousands of new visitors every year.

“This planning application for the enabling phase will allow us to deliver the new multi-storey car park and the Heritage Quarter, where we’re planning to create a new artisan food hall. We want to understand and listen to what the local community, local businesses and visitors to Blackpool think of this game changing opportunity.”

Norbert Reichart, Media Invest Entertainment chief executive, said: “The new indoor theme park will provide all year, all weather family entertainment. With a mix of attractions, using some of the world’s latest technology, it’s set to become one of the UK’s most exciting destinations. We’re looking forward to hearing what people think about the plans.”

Cllr Lynn Williams, leader of Blackpool Council, said: “Blackpool Central is a huge investment and a game changer for our town. We have been working closely with the developers for a number of years to bring this project to fruition and we are delighted that their commitment to invest, and their belief in Blackpool is as strong as ever, as we move forward to the next key stage of the planned development.

“We look forward to hearing what our community has to say about this project, which has the potential to provide a significant boost to our economy, increase footfall in the area to the benefit of local shops, guest houses, hotels and businesses, and bring steady, year-round jobs to the people of Blackpool.”

The site is located on the south western edge of Blackpool town centre just off the Golden Mile and around 300 metres from the Blackpool Tower. It is bounded by Central Drive, Bonny Street, New Bonny Street and Chapel Street.

Once the world’s busiest train station, Blackpool Central Railway Station closed in 1964 and has since been used for car parking and occasionally hosts outdoor events such as the annual Blackpool Illuminations switch on.

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.

Ahead of submitting a planning application, Nikal and Media Invest Entertainment are undertaking a consultation on the first phase of the development. The consultation will be open until Wednesday, May 26, and local people can get involved by:

  • Filling in the questionnaire in the newsletter that is being distributed to more than 9,600 addresses in the area
  • Visiting the website blackpoolcentral.com, which includes an online questionnaire
  • Signing up on the website to attend a live webinar and Q&A on Wednesday, May 12, 6pm-7pm
  • Calling 0800 689 1095 or emailing hello@blackpoolcentral.com
  • Writing to Freepost HAVE YOUR SAY
  • Follow on social: Blackpool Central (Facebook/Instagram) and @bpoolcentral1 (Twitter)

Following the consultation, Nikal and Media Invest Entertainment expect to submit a planning application to Blackpool Council in the summer.

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