The future of Blackpool has been officially laid out – and includes millions of pounds of investment over the next five years.
The council’s five-year blueprint puts into concrete its pledges to transform the resort, and includes the new entertainment museum, finished conference centre inside the Winter Gardens, tram extension and interchange at North station, and the first phase of the £300m flying theatre attraction on the Central station site.
Council leader Simon Blackburn said: “We are confident the journey we are on is capable of delivering a first-class tourism product, diversifying our employment base, revitalising the town centre, and, most importantly, giving a better quality of life to our residents and enormous opportunities for our young people.”
As part of the plan, which explains how the council plans to spend taxpayer cash up to 2024, the council said it will focus on improving the lives of residents, while also “maximising economic growth and opportunity”.
The blueprint will go before senior councillors later this month, and includes:
++ Completing the new conference centre at the historic Winter Gardens;
++ Opening the entertainment museum – Amuseum – which will celebrate the town’s history as the UK’s first mass seaside holiday resort when it opens near the Tower;
++ Developing the huge £300m plans to re-develop the old Blackpool Central Station site;
++ Bringing in a new way of paying for the Illuminations, events programme, and “cultural offer”
++ Finishing the tram extension from the Prom, up Talbot Road, to the Blackpool North station site where there will be a transport interchange and new four-
++ Extending the Central Business District at the Talbot Gateway, which links in with the tram terminal;
++ Building hundreds of “affordable” new homes and getting hundreds of people back into the work “via job schemes for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged”,;
++ Boosting school results for 16-year-olds, and continuing the Better Start initiative to “continue to improve life chances” for youngsters aged up to three;
++ Developing “family hubs” to “develop community resilience” and working to reduce the number of children
++ Looking at ways to provide more “green space;
++ Looking at the way it “delivers safeguarding” and supports families;
++ Improve the way resort volunteers work together;
++ Continuing to crackdown on poor quality homes being privately rented to “stabilise communities” through “additional activity to regulate private sector housing”;
++ Reduce the number of smokers and increase the number of people using drug and booze services; and
++ Going ahead with the huge Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone, which will “facilitate growth in the energy, aviation, and food sectors.
The report is due to go before the council’s executive next Monday.
View from the opposition
The council’s leader of the Tory opposition, Coun Tony Williams said: “It’s interesting to see yet another list of ambitions by this council which are all based on smoke and mirrors. Before outlining their future plans, it might be a good idea if they finished the ones they promised in 2018 and 2019. In fact, you can go back even further than that as we still have empty spaces in Bickerstaffe House, a traffic system that is still in chaos, and building sites which should by now have been completed. There is still no promise of a better standard of front-line services and once again it’s the residents who will have to foot the bill.”