Blackpool unveils five-year regeneration plan

As the final year of its previous plan draws to a close, Blackpool Council has reported on its successes to date and outlined its vision for the next half decade.

Blackpool Council plan

The previous plan focused on maintaining Blackpool’s status as the UK’s number one family resort, as well as large-scale job creation through economic growth initiatives such as the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone which created or safeguarded more than 700 jobs.

Further successes included winning £18m of funding to enable construction work to start on the new £26m Winter Gardens Conference Centre, securing of funding and start of construction on the £23m tramway extension to Blackpool North Station, and allocating almost £100m through the Business Loans Fund to help local businesses.

The Council Plan 2019-24 hopes to maximise opportunities and life chances for local people.

The proposals, which will go before the council executive later this month, show how community-based initiatives such as Better Start, HeadStart and the Opportunity Area programme have already started to shift the public perceptions of what life can be like for young people in Blackpool, as well as putting a high degree of emphasis on teaching and education in order to raise pupil aspirations.

The plans for 2019-24 seek to build on this success through its two key priority areas: Maximising economic growth and opportunity across Blackpool; and creating increasingly stronger and more resilient communities by giving greater focus on prevention of issues before they become a problem.

Specific initiatives include completing Winter Gardens; designing, funding and delivering the Blackpool Museum project; beginning work on the new £300m theme park; building hundreds of affordable homes, developing family and community hubs; and better care, childrens and family provisions.

Cllr Simon Blackburn, leader of Blackpool Council, said: “This new Council Plan clearly illustrates how much has been achieved over the past few years despite the challenge of some of the biggest budget cuts handed out by central government.

“The list of achievements in terms of revitalising the local economy and creating stronger and more resilient communities is impressive, and that remarkable progress establishes a very solid foundation to build on in the years ahead.

“We are confident that the journey we are on is capable of delivering a first-class tourism product, diversifying our employment base, revitalising the town centre and, most importantly, giving a better quality of life to our residents and enormous opportunities for our young people.”

Neil Jack, chief executive of Blackpool Council, added: “Over the past few years we have had to develop an ethos of delivering more for less. But that has in no way harnessed us in terms of developing big ideas that are capable of delivering a transformational effect on the town. “We have no doubt that our stated policy of working in partnership to open up new opportunities is key to delivering the bold ambition contained within this refreshed Council Plan."