Global investors show interest in Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone

Image showing future development at the enterprise zone
Image showing future development at the enterprise zone
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Development of Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone has been delayed by about a year - but it is still the most successful of Lancashire's four enterprise zones according to a report.

An annual review updating councillors on progress says since April 2016 57 new companies have moved to the enterprise zone bringing more than 1,330 jobs.

Talks are also currently under way with potential investors from around the globe who want to explore business opportunities.

However the need to carry out complex ecological, transport and highways studies for the first phase of development, including new roads and a sports hub, has pushed the timescale back a year.

Protracted negotiations over the sale of the former Wellington Bomber factory on Squires Gate Lane also caused delays.

The council, which last year set aside £28.8m in development funds, had intended to buy the factory in order to demolish it and redevelop the site, but in April this year it was acquired by another buyer.

The new owner is expected to refurbish the building and according to the report "is keen to progress work to secure new occupiers and generate employment which will help deliver enterprise zone employment targets."

Meanwhile discussions are being held with a number of potential international investors.

Early stage agreements have already been signed with possible investors from the United Arab Emirates while talks are ongoing with investment groups from Malaysia, Australia and Singapore.

A fibre optic communications cable linking New York with Blackpool and on to Newcastle and Denmark, will also be routed through the enterprise zone.

The outcome of an outline planning application for the first phase of development is expected this autumn, with construction of a new road linking Queensway to Amy Johnson Way set to begin early next year and take up to 10 months to complete.

The report will be presented to Blackpool Council's executive committee when it meets on Monday.