Blackpool set to get £39.5m from Government's Towns Fund scheme
Blackpool is in line to get £39.5m from the Government to help boost the economy.
The cash windfall is one of the so-called Town Deals and comes from the Government’s Towns Fund which has been under discussion for several months with Prime Minister Boris Johnson announcing in July that the resort would be one of the areas to qualify.
Blackpool is one of the first seven towns across the country to have a funding offer made as part of the £3.6bn Government scheme which is aimed at levelling up local economies and creating jobs by investing in transport, infrastructure and skills.
Blackpool Council put in a bid for around £50m from the fund as part of an ambitious £500m wish list it drew up to build Blackpool a brighter future.
Ideas mooted included creating a civil service hub in the town centre and investing in a new university centre, both of which would be part of the fourth phase of the Talbot Gateway scheme.
Now Blackpool has been offered a deal of up to £39.5m to implement creative local plans, “drawing on the area’s rich cultural heritage to generate more opportunity and prosperity”.
And the money could lead to further investment from the private sector.
The Government said the money could be used for a variety of schemes including to update Blackpool’s much-loved illuminations, which attracts four million visitors and brings in £284m a year to the local economy.
The funding could also be put towards the further development of the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone, creating new jobs, improving local transport links and attracting businesses to the area.
Work is now under way to confirm the final funding amount and get deals in place so much needed regeneration projects can begin.
The Government added that the Towns Fund would play a fundamental role in the local recovery of areas from the pandemic.
The money would be in addition to the Government’s package of coronavirus support.
Ministers will remain in conversation with local leaders over the appropriate coronavirus alert levels for their areas, including any further support that might be required.
Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Luke Hall said: “The Towns Fund is helping Blackpool leaders realise their clear and detailed vision for their town.
“Up to £39.5m of funding will help give a new lease of life to much loved tourist attractions as well as supporting the local business community to grow and thrive.
“These projects will help Blackpool to be a great place to live, work and visit while also strengthening the local economy.”
The first cohort of towns submitted proposals in July, before being reviewed by officials and a final decision made by ministers. Further Town Deals are due to be announced during November.
The Government is working with Blackpool Council and the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership LEP to create better transport links, more connectivity and world-class education opportunities across the country.
While the full details are yet to be revealed, Coun Lynn Williams, Leader of Blackpool Council, welcomed the announcement.
She said: “We are delighted that the Government has recognised the merit and ambition of Blackpool’s bid.
“The proposals that we put forward during the summer set out a very clear vision of what we wanted from the Towns Fund in terms of delivering a range of projects capable of having a transformational effect on our local economy.
“The scale of the award demonstrates that the Government has confidence that our plans can drive growth and create jobs.
“We look forward to working with Government on the detail within the proposals so we can build a brighter future for our town and our residents.”
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