Big new model attraction planned for Blackpool is delayed for a year

Ambitious plans to transform the former BHS store in Blackpool into the UK’s largest exhibition of model buildings and vehicles have been delayed for almost a year.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 7th April 2022, 12:42 pm
Updated Friday, 8th April 2022, 11:29 am

The project would see the basement of the old BHS (British Home Stores) premises in Market Street renovated and turned into a giant emporium housing hundreds of replica models of iconic British buildings, trains, aircraft and boats.

Mini Planet Ltd, the company behind the Mini Planet venture, lodged a ‘change of use’ application with Blackpool Council and was hopeful the attraction could open in June this year.

But the company has been told that the project is so large that it will need to be dealt with by Blackpool Council’s planning committee and a full planning application will have to be prepared.

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The Mini Planet project is earmarked for the basement of the former BHS

The upper part of the building is now occupied by B&M Bargains.

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Spencer Pryor, MD of Mini Planet Ltd, said: "Our change of use application has not been accepted as things stand.

"Given the detail of the planning application now needed, and possibly some additional work to the building, there is no chance we will be able to open this summer.

The Mini Planet attraction looks set to include a six lane slot car system with electronic timing.

"We would not want to launch this attraction in winter, so it is more likely we will now be opening in spring 2023.

"It is disappointing but progress is still being made off-site.

"Our models are already being constructed by various model-makers across the country and the attraction will certainly open in Blackpool.”

Mr Pryor said that up to 40 full and part time jobs would be created, with various posts needed to be filled, from retail and ticket office through to skilled electronics and modelling crafts people.

He said the original idea was to mimic Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg, which is Germany's number one tourist attraction, with more than one million visitors a year.

But he said: "We have now refined the idea to bring a showcase of the best landmarks of Great Britain in 4mm scale - ranging from Buckingham Palace and Tower Bridge in London through to scale models of Old Trafford. and Blackpool's iconic Golden Mile - to the thousands of families that visit Blackpool each year. "

"Coupled with spectacular computer-controlled lighting effects and movement of trains, boats and planes, we are sure this will be a great addition to Blackpool's visitor attractions.

"Mini Planet will also give every visitor the opportunity to be part of the exhibition as the company is at the forefront of 3D model printing.

"We'll have the facilities to take a 3D scan of visitors and to replicate them to be placed in the exhibition for posterity.

"Visitors could be immortalised in resin or plastictoforever walk the Blackpool Prom or stand outside Buckingham Palace.”

Airport Land is intended as a scale replica of Manchester Airport and will actually feature taxiing and flying aircraft down-to-scale details such as operating arrivals and departure boards.

Mini Planet will initially consist of four lands – London, Scotland, England and Airport Land, with other lands such as Wales and Ireland proposed for the following years. More than 100 iconic buildings are expected to be included in the display.

The latest information can be found at the Mini Planet website at www.miniplanet.co.uk