£3m grant will unlock land for 500 new homes in Blackpool

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Blackpool has received £3m of Government funding which could help more residents get on the housing ladder.

The money will be spent on infrastructure in order to unlock three parcels of council-owned land for potential future housing development.

Blackpool is in desperate need of quality housing and I am pleased to see the Government recognising this.

It could enable more than 500 new homes to be built.

The sites include the former Bispham High School on Bispham Road which closed in 2014 when it was replaced by the Aspire Academy.

Potentially 148 houses could be built on the land.

Another 330 could be built on land on Blackpool Road, Poulton, which is owned by Blackpool Council but in Wyre borough, and 80 are earmarked for Ryscar Way in Bispham.

No planning approvals are in place, and the council is awaiting the result of an application to the Secretary of State to change the use of the Bispham High School site from educational to residential.

Coun Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, said: “We have successfully bid for £3.15m of funding, from the Land Release Fund, to ensure necessary infrastructure is in place to allow council-owned land to potentially be used to build new homes.

“At this stage all three of the projects are in their infancy and require significant further development before they can be brought forward.

“However without this funding to address the various issues associated with the sites, including improving the road network, plans would not have been able to progress.”

The funding comprises £1m for Bispham Road, £1.7m for Blackpool Road and £400,000 for Ryescar Way.

It could be used to install road junctions or utilities which are needed before a site can be redeveloped.

The money is part of a £45m injection of cash nationwide by the Government aimed at kick-starting the construction of new homes.

A total of 79 projects around the country are receiving support to build up to 7,280 homes on council owned land.

It is aimed to have the infrastructure in place by 2020.

Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard welcomed the scheme although he warned some people would be disappointed houses were proposed for the Bispham School site.

He said: “Blackpool is in desperate need of quality housing and I am pleased to see the Government recognising this.

“An investment of £1.5m in my own constituency and nearly £3m in Blackpool will help deliver the infrastructure required for these new homes to be built.

“Blackpool Council has recognised the need to address the imbalance in the town’s housing provision and this investment will help deliver improvements.

“I certainly see this as a welcome step to helping more people in Blackpool onto the property ladder. What is now important is that the right housing is delivered, to make maximum use of the available sites and help more people into affordable, quality homes.”

But he added: “At the time of the merger with Collegiate local residents joined me in expressing their fears the Bispham High School site would be used for housing.

“They would share my disappointment that this is now clearly what the council intends.

“Until work starts I would urge the council to consider how future educational needs can be met.

“If the land is to be used for housing I would expect to see significant improvements to the local highways.

“I am pleased to see the investment in my own constituency targeted at schemes in already developed areas rather than reaching out into the green belt.”

Bispham High School was demolished last year and part of the site is currently being used as a car park for civil servants.

It merged with Collegiate to form the new Aspire Academy on Blackpool Old Road.