Go ahead for investment in new Blackpool car parks

Tower Street car park which could be lost to redevelopment
Tower Street car park which could be lost to redevelopment
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Councillors have approved a £16m cash injection to deliver more than 2,000 additional car parking spaces in Blackpool town centre.

Blackpool Council's executive agreed a recommendation after being told improving parking was vital to support regeneration in the town.

Investments in new hotels, a conference centre at the Winter Gardens and new office space are all set to put pressure on existing car parks.

Town hall transport chiefs estimate 2,243 new spaces are potentially needed due to additional demand, and to offset the expected loss of some existing spaces which are earmarked for redevelopment.

This figure does not include the 1,250 spaces which will be provided in the multi-storey car park as part of the Central Station leisure development.

Alan Cavill, director of communications and regeneration, warned in a report to the committee the need for a new parking strategy "is becoming pressing."

His report adds: "During peak periods there are acute pressures on town centre car parks which will increase as the major regeneration initiatives currently being driven forward by the council in partnership with the private sector increase the attractiveness of the town centre and the resort.

"Parking and associated traffic circulation issues need to be addressed together with the need to improve and replace Blackpool's coach handling facilities.

"It is thus imperative to ensure the car parking infrastructure in the town centre is sufficient to support the growth and regeneration of this area."

The money will come from the council's capital programme. While sites for new car parks are under consideration, these have not been revealed publicly due to ongoing negotiations.

A series of major projects are due to be completed over the coming years in the town centre, which will see several key car parks shut to make way for the developments.

They include Central, Tower Street and the car park at Wilko’s, which is being relocated to make way for a new tram interchange and hotel.

A multi-storey car park providing 1,250 spaces is proposed as part of the first enabling phase of the Blackpool Central project to bring a £300m virtual reality-based new leisure attraction to Central Car Park.