Blackpool plans £300m leisure development

Blackpool Council has unveiled plans for a £300m leisure complex designed to attract 600,000 more tourists, add £75m to the local economy and create 1,000 new jobs.

Blackpool Chariots of the Gods 1

The 17-acre site, which was once earmarked for the 'super casino' will bring world-class visitor attractions to a landmark site on the famous Golden Mile along with new hotels, restaurants, food market, event square, residential apartments and multi-storey parking.

Enabling work will begin in 2020 with various stages completing over the next nine years. The first phase, to be ready in spring 2024, will include a multi-storey car park, the flying theatre, a virtual reality experience, an extra-terrestrial multimedia experience, a family entertainment centre and a themed restaurant and bar.

This first phase, due to open in Spring 2024, will be complemented by the development of an Artisan Food Hall accommodating up to 30 outlets and an event square incorporating a stage and video wall which will be used to host themed markets, open-air concerts and events. A new 150-bedroom promenade hotel is also planned.

Phase Two will include apartments, further food and drink outlets, a second hotel comprising 250 bedrooms, with additional landscaped public open space.

Future phases to the southern end of the site will include further leisure attractions, residential apartments and a music venue and nightclub.

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The project is a collaboration between UK-based development company, Nikal Ltd, and Media Invest Entertainment, which owns the intellectual property rights to Chariots Of The Gods, a global publishing phenomenon written by Swiss author Erich Von Däniken, that explores alien encounters and unsolved mysteries of ancient civilisations.

Chariots Of The Gods will be the main theme for Blackpool Central including the anchor attraction - the UK’s first “flying theatre”, which will be fully immersive with on-board special effects including wind, fog, water and scents, with state-of-the-art projection and surround sound.

Cllr Simon Blackburn, leader of Blackpool Council, said: "This is a hugely significant milestone in the redevelopment of the Central Station site. This really is a once-in-a-generation opportunity that has the potential to alter the face of our town.

“Over more than fifty years, many ideas for this site have come and gone. The difference this time is that we have worked very hard with our fantastic partners at Nikal and MIE for almost two years to create a scheme that is not just aspirational, but highly deliverable.

“These new attractions are of ground-breaking international quality and their cutting edge technology will take Blackpool’s tourism offer to another level.

“We already have, to my mind, the best amusement park in the UK, in the form of Blackpool Pleasure Beach. These new attractions will allow thrill-seekers to enjoy their visit even more, will attract new visitors, and encourage existing visitors to stay longer. They will create jobs, regenerate a part of the town that is in need of love and attention, and boost trade."

Nick Payne, managing director of Nikal, said: “Blackpool Central is a hugely important project for the town and the region and it is an honour to be on board. Place-making and regeneration are the DNA of our business and we thrive on creating dynamic new spaces that inspire, excite and engage. “It’s taken almost two years and a lot of hard work to get to this point. We know that the masterplan fully maximises the site’s potential and will deliver a unique and ground-breaking, entertainment destination with global appeal that will revitalise and underpin Blackpool’s growth and regeneration.”