The £75m project which aims to create 5,000 jobs over its 25 year lifespan is progressing well despite being hampered by coronavirus issues and will see important changes in the coming year.
Construction is on schedule to complete the new sports changing facilities near the new pitches already in use on the eastern side of the 144 hectare site in spring and work will start then to add a new 3G floodlit pitch and rugby pitch with car parking.
The new sports facilities for the people of Blackpool will be put to good use, with the huge youth football competition aiming to attract 4,000 participants, The Blackpool Cup, due to be hosted at Common Edge Playing Fields at Easter and May bank holiday on April 16 to 17 and 30 April to May 1.
A planning application will be submitted in January for the new access road that will link Common Edge Road and Amy Johnson Way but stage one highways works will commence to improve access at Division Lane West.
And also in the next few weeks, carbon fibre specialist Multi-ply will officially open its new £8m, 400,000sq ft building which was completed in 2021 by Eric Wright Group, making the enterprise zone a centre for a crucial technology of the future.
The changes build on the progress made in 2021 when the zone was provisionally awarded a £7.5m share of Blackpool’s £39.5m Town Deal, to
help towards the cost of a new Eastern Gateway Access road and highways improvements that will result in better traffic flow around the site, provide better connectivity for Blackpool Business Park and will unlock commercial development land. School Lane and Common Edge Lane will also be
improved, which will ease traffic significantly in this area of town.
Staff at the airport started the year amid a lockdown offering PCR Covid tests at the airport and ongoing business support and the council worked to take back day to day control of the airport operations.
With a new manager due to be appointed in the next few weeks and after winning free business advice to help with the redevelopment of the airport with the Airport Development Advisory Fund, the plan is to secure new business, assess and identify viable routes, potential operators and partner airfields for the aviation operations o the zone.
In April Lancashire Energy HQ also brought home a double win at the 13th UK Nuclear Skills Awards, organised by NSAN, winning the Best Provider and Employer Collaboration Award for its Nuclear Degree Apprenticeship programme, and BENg (Hons) student, Kane Porter, won the Advanced Apprentice of the Year Award.
Springs specialist Force Technology was winner of an internal trade award in September at the Northern Automotive Alliance Awards 2021 and Helispeed flew famous You Tuber Dan tDM to the resort to unveil his new waxwork at Madame Tussauds.
Conlon Contractors are the main contractors appointed on the sports facilities development and progress is on schedule and going well, with steelwork now up on site. The new facilities, designed by Preston architects Cassidy and Ashton are anticipated to be ready by late spring 2022.
Rob Green, Head of Enterprise Zones at Blackpool Council said: “We have been pleased with the pace of activity throughout 2021, highlighted by the new 40,000sq ft Multiply HQ on track for a spring occupation, and work is progressing well at the new changing rooms facility at Common Edge Road playing fields, which is on target for a spring opening.
"We are quietly confident that the pace of activity will accelerate in 2022 and we will see more development activity on site. We have a planning application for the highways works in the pipeline for a spring submission, and the infrastructure works around Division Lane West are due to start early in the New Year.
“As we look forward to an exciting new year of development and progress, the EZ team at Blackpool Council would also like to take this opportunity to thank the local residents and EZ businesses for their ongoing support and patience whilst development work takes place.
"There will inevitably be further disruption as we continue to build out the EZ, unlocking new development plots and attracting further investment and employment to the area, but we will keep everyone up-to-date as work progresses and aim to minimise disruption wherever possible, as we look forward to greater economic growth and investment in our business parks.”