Florida talks as hoped-for development moves closer

The Central Station site, currently Central Car Park, which is earmarked for development
The Central Station site, currently Central Car Park, which is earmarked for development
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Plans for a new visitor attraction on Blackpool’s Central Station site could be unveiled in the new year.

Council chiefs today revealed progress on a potential scheme for the 20 acre site is “very encouraging”.

It comes as council leader Coun Simon Blackburn and director of place Alan Cavill are in Florida for meetings with suppliers and developers.

They are attending the IAAPA (International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions) conference in Orlando for the second year running, as part of a council-funded delegation.

Following their visit last year, the council announced an exclusivity agreement had been signed with a potential developer for the Central Station site.

Mr Cavill said: “There are no specific plans for revealing dates at this moment in time. However, we do hope we may be able to say something in the new year.

“We are working with a team of people from across the world to put together a potential new development and the work done to date is very encouraging.

“We have signed both an exclusivity and non-disclosure agreement. However, it would be correct to assume the development would be attraction led.

“There is no formal time frame yet but we are moving as fast as possible.”

In the past the site has been earmarked for developments including a super-casino and an indoor snow-based attraction, but so far nothing has come to fruition.

However the council now owns a bigger chunk of potential development land after a deal saw it purchase the site of Blackpool’s Bonny Street police station, which is relocating to the former council-owned land at Clifton Road, Marton.

A feasability study is currently underway to consider moving the law courts to a new site as well.

Conservative group leader Coun Tony Williams called on the council to be more open about the proposals for the site.

He said: “From what little information I have received I believe the new Central Car Park development will be an all year round multi-attraction indoor area centred around a themed hotel with retail.

“I just hope that whatever it is that it’s sustainable, flexible and capable of self reinvention.

“It also has to have a ‘wow’ factor that doesn’t become tired or jaded over time.”

He warned final decisions should not be made “in secrecy” without public consultation.