Aviation study launched as Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone enters key planning year

The next few months look set to be crucial as plans develop for Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone.

Saturday, 18th January 2020, 6:00 am

Planning permission for the next phase is due to be submitted in February, which will include the plan to create a new entrance to the site on Queensway –somewhere near Common Edge Road – and the latest ideas for the sports pitches at that end of the site.

Work has started to provide a new airport boundary fence to map out the land required to accommodate new grass pitches.

And plans are afoot for a new 4,000 sq m business unit off Amy Johnson Way.

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Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone looks set for a year of planning and feasibility studies which could define its future
Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone looks set for a year of planning and feasibility studies which could define its future

Construction is also under way on private land at Amy Johnson Way for a 0.32 hectare site for two industrial units and car parking.

In the latest move, Lancashire architectural, planning and surveying practice, Cassidy and Ashton, has been contracted to draw up a feasibility study for provision of new hangar space and ancillary accommodation at Blackpool Airport.

When the enterprise zone was announced in 2016 many people were keen to see how this would affect its ability to welcome aircraft.

The airport closed temporarily in October 2014 and lost its international holiday flights, but it retains its ability to host private jets, helicopters and general aviation.

Lawrence McBurney of Cassidy and Ashton

Although the former international terminal has been replaced by Blackpool and The Fylde College’s Energy HQ, there is still plenty of room for upgrading airport facilities closer to the runway to save airlines costs, if the demand is there.

Now Cassidy and Ashton, which also worked on the original masterplan for the zone, are to work alongside the airport team and airport occupiers on the feasibility studies and produce concepts for new and replacement hangars and locations for new aircraft parking aprons.

The team will also explore the proposed relocation of the airport’s operational facilities.

The feasibility studies and concept designs are required to be submitted to Blackpool Council by the end of May.

Lawrence McBurney, architect and director at Cassidy and Ashton said: “We have been working with the airport’s owner Blackpool Council on the phase one development since 2018 and are delighted to have been appointed to the framework agreement.

“Feasibility studies are a critical phase of any redevelopment project and we recognise the important role we will play to help shape the future of the airport and Enterprise Zone.”

Blackpool Council bought the airport from Balfour Beatty in 2017 via its ownership of Blackpool Airport Operations Ltd and Blackpool Airport Property Ltd.

Coun Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council and chairman of Blackpool Airport, said: “The appointment of Cassidy and Ashton brings us a step closer towards seeing next generation development on site.

“The studies undertaken will help to inform the airport team in decision making and prioritisation of potential future development at the airport.

“The airport is in urgent need of regeneration and it is important that we get it right from the outset, support existing businesses, build a strong sustainable future in aviation and create long-term, skilled jobs for the local community.”

The initial phase of study and design work to be carried out by Cassidy and Ashton will build on the master-planning work previously undertaken in 2018.

The enterprise zone to date, since its allocation in April 2016, has attracted 73 new companies and brought 1,520 jobs for the town.

Enquiry levels in existing commercial stock and available development plots are said to be high.

Businesses have the incentive of business rates relief of up to £275,000 over five years and enhanced capital allowances.

The 144 hectare site aims to attract £300m of private sector investment, 180 new businesses and host 3,000 jobs over the 25 years of the project.