Planning bid due for latest phase in Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone project

Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone
Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone

Blackpool’s enterprise zone has created 1,000 jobs since its launch in April 2016, bosses have said.

The airport project has taken off and with the next phase of development, which will see a planning application go in on March 25 for a new access road to the site at the east off Common Edge Road, hopes are high that its target of 5,000 jobs created and attracting £300m in private investment over 25 years can be hit.

It will also enable the relocation and development of a new sports village for the area which will include two 3G all-weather sports pitches, grass football pitches, changing facilities and a social club and local service retail.

A decision is expected in August and a full planning application for the sports village and the new access road will be submitted shortly after consent is approved.

Simon Blackburn, leader of Blackpool Council said, “More businesses are being attracted to the site because of the additional commercial benefits that the Enterprise Zone status brings.

“Businesses experiencing growth have more opportunities to realise their ambitions, expand operations and are taking advantages of the financial incentives and the design and build opportunities that are available at the Enterprise Zone and it shows in the increase in job numbers in the area.”

“The jobs created are across a wide variety of the identified target sectors including advanced manufacturing and engineering, digital and creative, aviation and energy.

“The Council’s ambitions for the Enterprise Zone is to create up to 5,000 long term, sustainable jobs over the remaining 23 year lifespan of the Enterprise Zone status, and although this is an excellent start, we have a long way to go and a lot more hard work to do to reach the site’s full potential.”

The council’s leader of the opposition Tony Williams said: “I’m delighted at the growth of the Enterprise Zone and pleased that this government recognised the potential in our local authorities and allowed the development of the site with added tax and support facilities for new businesses.

“It would seem that most of the jobs are in the high tech end of the scale and I hope that these positions are being filled by local people rather than those living outside of the town.

“I would also like to see the numbers of apprenticeships that have been created as providing jobs is one element but training for future skills is also paramount and something that I would be insisting is one of the main targets in this development scheme.

Among the businesses at the zone are hotels specialists Guest Services which has seen significant growth since its expansion into bigger premises near the airport and has more doubled their workforce with a running total of 162 staff.

Car bodyshop ARC has built a 20,000 sq ft bespoke unit, relocating 30 staff from Palmer Avenue and creating an extra 20 new positions.

PF Concept, a European promotional supplier, as part of its significant UK investment programme and acquisition of SPS EU Ltd has expanded into the former Turner Cash and Carry site and with the move has created 40 new jobs and currently recruiting 26 more.

TM Legal Services moved 90 staff to the site in August 2018 and created 70 new openings with the expansion.