The £300m Blackpool Central tourism development could help resort retain skills

Richard Fee with the Blackpool Central project
Richard Fee with the Blackpool Central project

The £300m Blackpool Central development, described as the biggest single investment in the resort’s tourist industry for a century, may also be a game changer when it comes to retaining talent.

For years business leaders have been concerned about how many of the Fylde coast’s talented youngsters have to leave to find suitable careers.

Norbert Reichart who is the mastermind behind the Blackpool Central, Chariots of the Gods themed attraction which is set to transform tourism in the resort

Norbert Reichart who is the mastermind behind the Blackpool Central, Chariots of the Gods themed attraction which is set to transform tourism in the resort

But now Richard Fee, from the team behind the ambitious tourist attraction, Media Invest Entertainment and Nikal Ltd, said that in creating 1,000 jobs and offering business opportunities for local entrepreneurs to get involved it could help provide new opportunities for young people over the next 20 years.

Speaking at the Blackpool Business Leadership Group meeting at Blackpool and the Fylde College’s Energy HQ, he told how the project, due to start in Spring 2020, will look to engage with local businesses and residents.

He said: “We are hoping to get the land acquisition in place later this month and then the first phase, the enabling phase, will be to build the new car park for the site to replace the main car park. In the first phase will be the Flying Theatre attraction, The Chariots of the Gods, but also supporting attractions such as the artisan market.

“It will have a variety of eating and retailing businesses, in the artisan style similar to the successful ones in places like Altrincham and Shoreditich. This will provide opportunities for entrepreneurs to get involved. There will be 30 operators in the food hall and 20 further restaurants and bars.

The Blackpool central project will occupy the space where Central Station used to stand and which is now a council car park

The Blackpool central project will occupy the space where Central Station used to stand and which is now a council car park

“It will have a busy, current vibe with local enterprises and produce and the space can re-invent itself to keep it relevant and no long 15 year leases, to keep it current.

“Together with the flying theatre and the virtual reality zone and the event space we are going to create technical job opportunities, with a need for engineers and virtual reality engineers.

“There will also be stage crew, event management, health and safety, marketing accounts, physical instructors in the adventure zone and performance roles to fill.

“If you look at Mack Rides or Mack Media in Germany you will get the idea. Young people in Germany are queuing up to work at that theme park.

“In the construction phase we will need local skilled workers. We have already been talking with Blackpool and The Fylde College. We want to work with local businesses and, as a project it must bring added value to the area.”

The mastermind behind the project, Norbert Reichhart, said he was delighted to have the chance to speak to business leaders in Blackpool and was looking forward to working with them on the project.

He said: “It will enhance Blackpool’s reputation as the leading tourist destination in the UK.”