Plans move step closer

Tyldesley Road, Blackpool

Tyldesley Road, Blackpool

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PLANS to give an entire community a facelift are one step closer to becoming a reality.

The latest Blackpool Council scheme to rejuvenate the resort was backed at a town hall executive meeting.

Up to 400 homes could be built on land at Tyldesley Road, and on the site of the former Mecca building on Rigby Road, if developers snap up the offer.

As part of the plans, large gas storage cylinders on Rigby Road, described as an “eyesore” would be knocked down to make way for the development.

And councillors have agreed to move forward with bidding for funding for the scheme.

Following the meeting, Blackpool Council leader Coun Peter Callow said: “We are really upgrading Blackpool.

These houses will be affordable to first-time buyers, and will really improve the look of the area.

“The gasometers on Rigby Road really are an eyesore, and I’ve wanted them to go for some time.”

The scheme, which relies on a grant from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), and the Government’s proposed New Homes Bonus cash pot to reward regeneration, will be built on the site which was formerly earmarked for a £213m college.

The council will now move into discussions with developers, bidding for money from the HCA, acquiring the 44 more properties needed to provide the land for the scheme, and arranging a Prudential loan for £9.5m, to be repaid partly with the expected £6.8m which would be generated by the New Homes Bonus.

Coun Callow added: “It’s well-known the demand for traditional guesthouses has declined, and some have been shut down or used as multiple occupation.

“This is a regeneration opportunity for the heart of Blackpool which will attract families and first-time buyers, and will greatly enhance the area.”

The council needs to find around £12m to buy up remaining properties and get the site ready for development.

Eight construction companies are said to be interested in taking on the huge project.

Hoteliers in the area have given the proposal a mixed reception, claiming the area needs developing and upgrading, but demanding a good price for their properties and the chance to open up guest houses elsewhere in Blackpool.