Blackpool submits bid for £63m of Levelling Up support

How the proposed hotel could look

Blackpool Council has submitted a bid to the Government for more than £63m in Levelling Up funds.

The second round funding bid involves three projects:

  • Multiversity – £65m scheme for a new world class university experience within the town centre.
  • Post Office – £26m scheme for the refurbishment of the old Abingdon Street post office into a new four-star hotel.
  • Town Centre Access – £17.1m scheme to transform Blackpool town centre’s transport network providing better traffic circulation with improved pedestrian areas.

Multiversity, a joint bid with Wyre Council, will involve £40m of Levelling Up funding.

Money has already been approved for part of this scheme from the Town Deal Fund (£9m) which will allow the purchasing of the land for this site.

The site is based within the town, close to the train station and tram interchange. The council said Multiversity’s development will enhance the town centre with an iconic building and increase its vibrancy with a substantial increase in footfall to help boost local businesses.

It will be delivered through a partnership involving Blackpool Council and Blackpool and the Fylde College in association with Lancaster University. It will accommodate approximately 2,300 learners with many able to gain higher-level qualifications.

Refurbishment of the Grade II-listed former post office and conversion into a Hotel Indigo and suites, includes a bid for £8m of Levelling Up Funding.

The scheme will revitalise the derelict listed former post office building in the heart of the town centre – having been vacant for 15 years – and provide a new 144-room hotel, including 48 family suites to appeal to both the business and family leisure markets.

The development will create new job opportunities and is sited just 50 metres from the new tram extension on Talbot Road, which also adjoins the transport interchange at Blackpool North Train Station.

The new Indigo Hotel will help Blackpool break its current dependency on short-stay tourism and will attract visitors with greater spending power by providing a unique addition to Blackpool’s hotels.

Town Centre Access Scheme requires £15.4m of Levelling Up Funding. It is aimed to transform Blackpool town centre’s transport network, allowing traffic to flow better with improved pedestrian areas. There will be improvements to walking, cycling and bus access.

The transport interchange will be improved as will access to the town centre by bus giving buses priority and readying the town for a brand new electric bus fleet.

Measures proposed are designed to complement Blackpool’s other Levelling Up Fund regeneration proposals.

Cllr Lynn Williams, leader of Blackpool Council, said: “This bid comes after a tireless amount of work has been undertaken for quite some time now and it’s part of regeneration plans that have been ongoing for over 10 years.

“We have built, and continue to build, relationships with our communities, partners, potential investors to the town and those that hold the purse strings in central government.

“We have an ambitious £1bn+ regeneration programme for Blackpool purely focused on making Blackpool better for all those that live work and visit our tremendous town.”

She added: “We aim to provide more jobs for local people, encourage economic growth and upskill and educate our workforce and young people.”