New image unveiled of revamped Central Drive buildings in Blackpool

This is how Blackpool’s new Heritage Quarter boasting an artisan food hall could look as part of the first stage of a £300m leisure development in the resort.

By Shelagh Parkinson
Saturday, 15th May 2021, 11:40 am
An artist's impression of how the revamped former King Edward Cinema and apartments will look
An artist's impression of how the revamped former King Edward Cinema and apartments will look

Developers for the Blackpool Central project, who are currently consulting with the public over the scheme, have released new images of plans to transform historic buildings on Central Drive.

There has been criticism of how long it is taking to get the project, which will also include a new multi-story car park, off the ground.

But developers Nikal Ltd and Media Invest Entertainment hope to submit a planning application this summer, and warn it is vital to get the development “right”.

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Richard Fee, chairman of Nikal Ltd, said: “Blackpool Central is pivotal to realising the ambitious Town Deal vision for levelling up Blackpool, so it has been critical to get the shape and phasing of the scheme right.

“We felt that it was sensible to take stock on the scheme masterplan in response to the pandemic and, with our plans to create a major public square and more design-led outdoor space, Blackpool Central will flourish in a post-COVID world and make a substantial contribution to Blackpool’s economic recovery.

“There has been a very positive response to our plans through the consultation so far and we hope that people will continue to show their support for this game-changing regeneration opportunity.

“This site is steeped in history and character so we have been working very hard on the design to bring forward something really special that will stand the test of time.

“As part of the first phase of the development, we’re breathing new life into the Grade II listed King Edward VII Picture House and locally listed King Edward VII pub to create a thriving new heritage quarter, and we think that our designs show the amount of thought and care we’re putting into the scheme.”

Further phases of Blackpool Central, which will be developed over 10 years, are set to include an indoor theme park, family rides, and a new public square for live events, such as music concerts.

Coun Tony Williams, leader of the Conservative group on Blackpool Council, has questioned the pace at which development is taking place.

He said while he welcomed development of the site, he fears the 10 year development plan could mean some attraction are “already close to their sell by date” when they open.

He added: “In comparison a large USA consortium is planning a huge Disneyesque park in south London.

“They plan to start the development this year and have announced it will be open in 2025 just four years from now, not the 10 years for the much smaller project in Blackpool.”

He also called for strong designs, saying: ” Let’s find some architects who have vision and flair not just a straight ruler.

“This is our best chance to get it right – if we don’t it will be up to future generations to save the town and fix the problems we left them as our legacy. ”

To take part in the consultation, which is open until Wednesday May 26, go to