Millions of pounds to fast track Blackpool investment including in Houndshill shopping centre
Blackpool has received £8.6m of funding for two key town centre projects as part of a national push to spark up the country’s economy.
The resort will receive £5m towards the £20m second phase of the Houndshill shopping centre and £3.6m to enable the council to purchase and invest in the Abingdon Street Market.
The boost means work on Houndshill will start in the autumn, with the other £15m for the scheme coming from the council. Both projects need to be completed by March 2022 as part of an 18-month investment drive.
The grants, announced today (Tuesday August 4), are part of the £900m national Getting Building Fund for ‘shovel-ready’ projects to speed up construction in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
The Houndshill development will include a nine-screen Imax style cinema, two restaurants and a relocated Wilko store.
Abingdon Street Market, which was put up for sale in March with a guide price of £1.5m, will be transformed to appeal to a wider range of people.
Blackpool South MP Scott Benton said: “This is a massive vote of confidence for Blackpool, it shows just how seriously this government is taking their levelling up objective and is a sign of what is to come.
“The money will help revitalise Blackpool’s economy and create new jobs as lockdown is lifted.”
Both projects were included in Blackpool’s bid for funding from the government’s Future High Streets Fund (up to £25m) and the Town Deal (up to £50m).
They have been approved early because they are ready to start, but the council still hopes to secure funding for other projects in each bid in the future.
The funding will be delivered through the Lancashire Enteprise Partnership which has received £34.1m in total for 10 projects across the county.
Other Fylde coast projects include £5.8m for the M55 link road to connect the back of St Annes, including the Queensway housing development, with the motorway.
Fylde MP Mark Menzies said: “I requested these funds from Government after lobbying the Prime Minister twice including at Prime Minister’s Questions, and held further meetings with senior cabinet ministers to make the case for the project.
“We now have a fully-funded scheme once again and I expect the legalities to be completed quickly so that we can get shovels in the ground.
“It is more important than ever, as we begin the recovery from coronavirus, that we do everything we can to kickstart the economy, and getting this road built will be a huge boost for Fylde.”
The Fleetwood Fish Park Neptune project will receive £4m for the redevelopment of the Fleetwood Docks including the first phase of waterfront residential development.
Hillhouse International Business Park in Thornton will get £500,000 to improve electrical and water supply infrastructure and to relocate the security gatehouse.
Steve Fogg, chairman of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership said: “The fund is part of the Government’s drive to minimise the potentially devastating effects on the economy due to the Covid-19 crisis
“Money received from this fund will be invested in projects which will create jobs and invest in much needed infrastructure improvements, helping the county recover and bounce back quicker from the pandemic.”