£500,000 grant to plant more trees in Blackpool town centre and green up the streets

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Blackpool has been awarded £500,000 of government cash to spend on new trees, plants and seating in the town centre.

The funding will be used to green up an area of Queen Street and Abingdon Street. It is hoped the project will help revitalise the area, where plans have also been drawn up to extend Central Library and The Grundy Art Gallery to create a £10m cultural hub.

The aim is to green up the area near Central LibraryThe aim is to green up the area near Central Library
The aim is to green up the area near Central Library | National World

Regeneration is also helping support proposals to build on the gay-friendly cluster of bars and hotels in the area to create an LGBTQ+ heritage district.

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An artist's impression of the proposed culture hubAn artist's impression of the proposed culture hub
An artist's impression of the proposed culture hub | Blackpool Council

The funding is from the High Street Accelerators Pilot Programme Green Spaces Funding with Blackpool among 10 areas across England receiving £500,000 each to revive their high streets and entice residents back to the shops.

What the plans include

Following a bid submitted by Blackpool Council the money has been awarded to develop an outdoor, accessible green space around the periphery of Central Library and the Grundy Art Gallery on the junction of Queen Street and Abingdon Street.

This will be the only green space within the vicinity that can be used as a space to relax, whilst also providing more of a ‘green appeal’ to the area.

The western part of Queen Street has a boulevard-like streetscape, but focuses on the night-time economy. Proposals for this part of the street include planting above ground level, to allow for them to be more secure, and to be maintained more easily.

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Business operators will be encouraged to take ownership of the new green areas.

The plan also looks to create green infrastructure that is mobile and can be ‘adopted’ by businesses, who will provide the day-to-day maintenance of the planting, as well as moving the planters indoors outside business hours for security, and also to provide protection from adverse weather conditions when required.

Where possible planting will be refreshed using existing planters which will also be added to within the area.

Blackpool Council has previously used government funding to spend £100,000 planting 10 trees in Cookson Street and £174,000 planting six trees in Edward Street, both in the town centre.

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Tim Allan, chair of Blackpool’s Abingdon Street and Queen Street High Street Accelerator partnership, said: "When we have engaged with the various communities in and around the area, we are consistently told that more green spaces are needed for those living, working and visiting the area.

 "This money will help us provide much-wanted green spaces and additional planting and will have a significant impact. The ‘greening up’ of the area is part of a much bigger plan to reinvigorate this particular part of the town and I very much look forward to working with both the community and Blackpool Council to get this project off the ground.”

The Minister for Levelling Up Jacob Young, who visited Blackpool in January to look at regeneration in the town, said: "Coupled with the new powers we’re giving to councils to rent out persistently empty spaces, our High Street Accelerators programme will make our towns more welcoming and pleasant places for people to enjoy.”

The money will be spent in Blackpool creating new green spaces around Central Library and the Grundy Art Gallery. New flowers and plants will also be added along the high street in order to boost footfall.

A planning application was submitted in January to refurbish Central Library and extend the Grundy by creating new galleries and exhibition space.

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