£45m attractions plan unveiled for Blackpool's Stanley Park golf course site
A £45m investment could see 250 holiday lodges and an adventure zone built on part of Blackpool's historic Stanley Park golf course.
Property company Holmes Investment Properties (HIP) has been unveiled by the council as its chosen developer for the land which straddles both sides of East Park Drive.
Discussions have been held behind closed doors after the council took over the running of the course which it owns.
Developers want to build an Adrenalin World attraction and 250 holiday lodges on land between Blackpool Victoria Hospital and Salisbury Woodland.
It would mean the golf course would be reduced from 18 holes to nine on the Stanley Park side of the site.
However the move has angered some residents and thousands of people have already signed a petition to save the municipal course.
It has also emerged Blackpool Park Golf Club had submitted its own bid to run the course, with members today saying they were "devastated" by the emerging proposals.
The project would be the first Adrenalin World in the UK , which is the new venture from entrepeneur David Lloyd who is best known for his string of indoor tennis centres.
The attraction would offer more than 20 indoor and outdoor activities including zip-wires, go-karting, themed mini-golf, wall climbing and virtual reality rooms.
The west side of the site would be retained as a nine-hole course with investment in practice facilities harnessing the latest in golf technology.
This would include a Golf Sixes Venue aimed at increasing participation, and development of the clubhouse.
It is claimed up to 100 jobs would be created.
A full planning application for the development must be agreed by Blackpool Council but it is hoped the attraction will open in early 2021.
The council said the financial details of the deal remained confidential but it "would receive a substantial sum" to be reinvested in the area, including into Stanley Park.
David Lloyd said: "I could not be more excited that Blackpool has seen the value in the fabulous opportunities for health, wellbeing and sheer adventure that we deliver in one superb venue that offers all manner of activities for all age groups.
"This is a great boon for the town, delivering considerable employment prospects for the area with the creation of 100 jobs at Adrenalin World and at the same time bringing in more visitors and promoting the beauty of Blackpool.
"We believe this will be a brilliant addition to the amenities on offer in a superb easy-to-access location. We can't wait to get started."
Coun Mark Smith, cabinet member for business, enterprise and job creation on the council, said the plans had had to remain under wraps while the procurement process was underway.
He added: "This is a fantastic investment in both the existing golf course and a new leisure offer with associated accommodation.
"It would create new jobs and boost the local economy. David Lloyd is a name synonymous with high-quality leisure attractions, I’ve no doubt that Adrenalin World would be hugely popular with both residents and visitors.
"I know a lot of local residents have been keen to know the full details of the proposals and I hope this reassures them that HIP are committed to working with the golf club to retain the western side of the course and improve the facilities.
"I am confident the development would have a positive impact on both the surrounding area and our neighbours."
HIP chief executive Michael Simmons said: "We are very excited to secure our first site for Adrenalin World, which is expected to be a flagship location for the brand."
But more than 7,500 people have so far signed an online petition to save the course.
Laura Greenall, secretary and manager of Blackpool Park Golf Club, said: "We are devastated at the potential loss of this, the only 18-hole municipal golfcourse on the Fylde, one of only seven municipal courses in the UK designed by a world-renowned golf architect, Dr Alister MacKenzie.
"We are appalled by the lack of consultation throughout the whole process.
"The council did have other options. The Stanley Park Golf Course Community Benefit Society put in a bid o run the 18-hole course, widening participation and developing a valuable community resource that was not just focused on tourists.
"Stanley Park golf course was the place that the majority of golfers in the area learnt to play and it remains a community asset.
"We appreciate this is a great investment opportunity for Blackpool, but we feel the proposed location is completely wrong .
"This development will have significant impact on local residents, commutersand the abundant wildlife in the area. It will also result in the destruction of anhistoric landscape enjoyed by golfers and non-golfers alike."
Coun Tony Williams, leader of the Conservative opposition group on the council, said he had a number of concerns.
He said: "This is a municipal course which belongs to the people of Blackpool and the council is giving it away.
"There should be a public consultation before anything is done with this valuable piece of land.
"East Park Drive is already very congested with traffic while this green space is also home to wildlife. There is also an issue with flooding."
Blackpool Park Golf Club is holding an open meeting at the club on Wednesday at 7pm to discuss the potential plans further.
The course opened in 1925 and was designed by Dr Alister MacKenzie who laid out more than 50 golf courses including Augusta, which is home to the US Masters.
Mack Trading took over the running of the course in 2010. At the time the facility needed a £300,000 investment to plug its finances after suffering a loss of £97,000 the previous year.
The council stepped back in to run the course in October 2018 when Mack Trading went into voluntary liquidation.
Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn first speculated in February the greens could be reduced to nine holes with part of the site put to another use.
The council continued to run the course while it held a procurement process earlier this year to find a new operator.