This is how Blackpool Airport could look by 2042 if plans for the enterprise zone fully take off.
The group in charge of the two Fylde coast enterprise zones, The Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Economic Development Company, has unveiled its first draft of its vision for the airport, which has been owned by Blackpool Council since it bought it from Balfour Beatty in September for £4.25m.
The 144 hectare site aims to attract £300m of private sector investment, 180 new businesses and host 3,000 jobs.
At present bosses say it has attracted around 28 new firms and 450 new jobs since the enterprise zone was officially signed off in November 2016.
A series of information events has been held ahead of the full consultation which launched today and interested parties and the public will be able to have their say on the proposals up until December 21.
The masterplan floats ideas such as creating new road entrances to the Blackpool Business Park area, moving hangars and aviation facilities closer to the main runway, demolishing the huge sheds once used by Vickers to build Wellington Bombers in the Second World War and creating a new sports pitch area near Queensway.
Other possible plans include moving Blackpool Transport’s bus depot to the site, extending the tram network beyond its Squires Gate terminus and possibly linking with the railway and the enterprise zone, and building a “statement” building opposite Lindale Gardens where a new gateway to Squires Gate Lane would be.
Among the first of the new developments at the zone, should permission be given, would be a new road access at the South East corner with a new roundabout on to Queensway close to Division Lane.
This would connect to a new spine road for the enterprise zone running north to Squires Gate Lane where the Sycamore Trading Estate is currently. Its aim would be to cut the traffic jams at rush hour that currently occur on the existing business park and surrounding roads and allow better bus access.
It would also allow businesses better access to the motorway with a link to the planned new highway to be built between Junction 4 of the M55 and St Annes, which will have a second section of road running westwards to Queensway.
There would also be a new access to the west of the airport site with a loop road running around a new “knowledge quarter” business park created where the existing aircraft hangars are now next to the Blackpool and The Fylde College Energy HQ.
Part of the airport, close to the main runway and near where the control tower currently stands, would be retained for aviation related businesses and be the site of new hangars to replace the old ones fronting Squires Gate Lane.
The new control tower would be in the centre of the site near the new aviation hangers and apron.
The main runway would be preserved along with a open strip either side in case commercial air business returned to Blackpool in years to come and to allow the development of general aviation and air related businesses.
The master plan is to be used to guide to the development of the zone and will be updated every five years throughout the 25 year life of the scheme.
Work on each section will take place bit by bit but the report says that the “infrastructural investment will be front-loaded towards the beginning of the Enterprise Zone lifespan in order to support the development of the site.”
It says there is a need for manufacturing units on the site , mostly small of about 1,000 sq m but with room for much larger units of around 10,000 sq m which it says are sought after in the area. Detailed plans for the aviation side of the operations at the zone are set to be be drawn up later, but a terminal building and a new air traffic control centre would be included.
A spokesman said: “The illustrations in the draft are at present highly indicative and things will change, but much of it will develop as shown. We will be working with the current aviation companies to incorporate their short, medium and long term interests.”
He said while the existing hangars along Squires Gate Lane would go, modern replacements will take their place closer to the main runway with fuelling operations heli-pads and apron space.Comments on the masterplan can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or y email email@example.com before the consultation period closes.
The documents can be seen on Blackpool Council’s website at: www.blackpool.gov.uk/airportez or Fylde Council’s website at www.fylde.gov.uk on its planning section.
Mark Smith, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for regeneration, enterprise and economic development, said: “Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone is one of the council’s biggest projects as part of its growth and prosperity programme. It is playing a key part in delivering Blackpool Council’s vision for jobs and growth in the area. The site has already seen a surge in activity with new developments, existing buildings adding extra office space, and new warehouse facilities.
“Our vision is to make the site a premier business location in the North West where high quality businesses facilitate economic growth and employment and further develop the strong skills and knowledge base of the Fylde Coast. In order to ensure its robust delivery there needs to be a sound and detailed Masterplan framework in place.”