Tories slam funding plans as Blackpool submits £63m Levelling Up bid

Blackpool has now formally submitted its bid to the Government for £63m of Levelling Up funding towards three key regeneration projects.

By Shelagh Parkinson
Wednesday, 3rd August 2022, 2:16 pm

As revealed last month, the council is hoping to secure £40m towards the £65m multiversity in a joint bid with Wyre Council, £8m towards the £26m refurbishment of the former Abingdon Street Post Office into an Indigo Hotel, and £15.4m towards a £17m town centre access and pedestrianisation scheme.

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Blackpool seeking £63m towards new university, an Indigo boutique hotel and town...

Council leader Coun Lynn Williams said: “This bid comes after a tireless amount of work has been undertaken for quite some time now and it's part of regeneration plans that have been ongoing for over 10 years.

An artist's impression of the refurbished Post Office

“We have built and continue to build relationships with our communities, partners, potential investors to the town and those that hold the purse strings in central government.

“We have an ambitious £1bn plus regeneration programme for Blackpool purely focused on making Blackpool better for all those that live work and visit our tremendous town.

“We aim to provide more jobs for local people, encourage economic growth and upskill and educate our workforce and young people. I am hopeful that our hard work and vision will be recognised through this bidding process.”

But Conservative group leader Coun Tony Williams said the council had "failed to address some of the more important challenges facing this town with this bid."

Coun Tony Williams has criticised the bid

He added: " Once again the main focus of Blackpool’s bid is the town centre whilst the surrounding areas are some of the worst examples of neglect and deprivation."

Coun Williams said while the multiversity was "an interesting project", there "are no details as to what type of ‘high -level learning skills will be on offer".

He added: "Developing the old main post office is great news, but why another hotel when we have brand new supposedly five star accommodation monoliths still unfinished on the Promenade?

"As for bidding to improve bus and transport services, hasn’t enough been spent on new tram tracks, new buses and bus zones already, or is the council long term plan to make the whole of the town centre pedestrianised."

Blackpool's bid for £20m from the first round of Levelling Up funding was turned down by the government in November 2021.