Blackpool beaten to new ride by Legoland
Plans for a flying theatre as part of a £300m new leisure development in Blackpool have come under fire after it emerged a similar attraction is set to open elsewhere in the UK in May.
The Blackpool scheme to transform land at Central Car Park was unveiled by the council in December 2018 – but more than two years later work has yet to start.
Coun Tony Williams, leader of the opposition Conservative group on Blackpool Council, today warned the town’s scheme now looked like it was “going to be out of date before it’s even built.”
The council said the Windsor scheme would not have any “material impact” on its Blackpool Central proposals.
But Coun Tony Williams added: “It looks like Blackpool’s flying theatre, which is the main feature of the Central Car Park development, isn’t as unique as we were led to believe.
“Legoland in Windsor’s new ride attractions look great, including a flying theatre, and they are set to open on May 29 this year.
“So obviously they have been forging ahead during the pandemic and getting ready for the end of lockdown.
“Blackpool desperately needs visitors back in the town but no effort at all has been made by this council to offer something new in 2020. In fact apart from a couple of new hotels, the only thing we have seen is artists impressions of what might be.
“Everything they have promised is already years behind schedule and over budget.”
Coun Williams also warned the flying theatre at Legoland, which is owned by the council’s leisure partner Merlin, would “be in direct competition to the one earmarked for Blackpool.”
He said: “I still maintain the Central Car Park should have been home to a Blackpool multi-purpose arena where sports, live music, conferences, exhibitions, restaurants, bars, attractions and retail could all be accommodated.”
The council said a planning application for the first phase of Blackpool Central was expected in coming months.
A spokesperson said: “This (the Legoland scheme) does not have any material impact on Blackpool Central which is being planned as a major leisure destination in its own right, incorporating a series of top quality attractions, just one of which is a flying theatre.
“We are moving towards completion of site assembly and we anticipate the developers will submit the first application for a new multi-storey car park and heritage quarter over the next couple of months.
“That first phase will free up the existing Central Car Park facilitating the development of hotels, family attractions and a new public plaza.
“This is a £300m development that has the potential to revitalise a key area of Blackpool and help turn the resort into a year-round destination.”
The council has linked up with Media Invest Entertainment and Nikal Ltd who will develop the 17 acre Central Car Park site.
The flying theatre will be a 4D fly-through cinema experience based upon author Erich Von Daniken’s best selling 1968 book Chariots of the Gods which had sold 70 million copies.
Legoland’s flying theatre is called Flight of the Sky Lion and will swoop through a land of mythical creatures.
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