Compulsory powers will be used by Blackpool Council to clear town centre for £65m multiversity student campus
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Councillors are being asked to approve use of a compulsory purchase order to buy up and bulldoze properties between Cookson Street, Milbourne Street, George Street and Grosvenor Street required for the £65m multiversity.
It is hoped an outline planning application for the development will be submitted before the end of the year.
The council already owns about 30 per cent of the site, and will continue to negotiate with property owners but says compulsory purchase is necessary although it is unlikely to come into effect until next year.
Council leader Coun Lynn Williams has pledged support to all residents who need to move out of their homes.
She said: “This development is game changing in terms of our plans to make Blackpool better, but we do very clearly understand the impact on people living in the properties we’re buying. We are buying their homes.
“I want to reassure them we will continue to support any tenants or residents who have to move as a result , and nobody will be asked to move outwithout reasonable warning and support to find somewhere else suitable to live.
“We have also provided an advice service separate to those negotiating to buy the properties, and they are available to be contacted by any residents affected who have questions regarding the sale or support in finding a new home and this support will continue.”
Residents raised concerns about having to move out during a public meeting in March, with some saying they had not been offered enough money to buy similar properties elsewhere, while others did not want to leave the neighbourhood due to its proximity to the town centre.
But Coun Williams said the investment is vital to Blackpool’s regeneration.
She added: “As well as regenerating the area, the multiversity will also create a world class education campus for Blackpool and the Fylde College to train up our local people with high quality skills and qualifications that will prepare them for the future world of work and have a positive impact on our town.”
The council has received £9m from the Town Deal towards assembling the site, and £40m from the government’s Levelling Up fund towards construction.
The remaining £16m will be borrowed by the council and repaid by Blackpool and the Fylde College.
It will replace the existing campus on Park Road, bring 3,000 staff and students into the town centre and offer 70 courses.
Alun Francis, principal and chief executive at Blackpool and The Fylde College said it would be “one of the best things to happen to Blackpool for a generation.”
He said: “Multiversity will genuinely transform the opportunities for people in Blackpool and on the Fylde coast, helping to deliver a highly skilled workforce.
“It will combine the very best of higher and technical and professional education in one campus, with curriculum completely aligned with the growing opportunities across Lancashire and the North West.”
The council’s executive committee is being recommended to agree to go ahead with seeking a compulsory purchase order when it meets on Monday October 16.