London students to explore south Blackpool regeneration

A project to revitalise an area of south Blackpool is making up a competition brief for London students.

Blackpool UCLThirty Masters students from University College London (UCL) are examining how improvements to the South Fylde railway line could benefit the area around Blackpool South station.

Teams made up of transport planning, urban design and regeneration students will each create a master plan for the area, using improvements to the transport network to develop plans to make the area an attractive place to live in and an economically sustainable one for jobs.

Each master plan will then be judged and the winner given a book prize by the university’s Bartlett School of Planning.

As part of the research into their proposals, all of the students visited Blackpool to talk to nearby ward councillor and cabinet member for highways and transport Cllr John Jones.

Cllr Jones set out the challenges of the area and explained the local policies that the students must follow at a meeting in the Town Hall.

He said: “The council’s view is that improvements to Blackpool South train station, as well as upgrading the service along the South Fylde Line to Preston, could bring economic benefits to the surrounding area.

“It’s great that the university has agreed to have a look into the potential benefits and have taken it on as a project for all of their students to examine. It was good to meet them all the other day and set out the task for them, and I’m really looking forward to seeing the master plans that they produce.

“We have a healthy partnership with the university which has resulted in this work being carried out and I’m hopeful that joint projects like this will continue in the future.”

Dr Robin Hickman, senior lecturer at the Bartlett School of Planning from UCL, said: “Our visit to Blackpool has formed the basis for a student competition to develop further creative ideas and concepts for regeneration and improved connectivity in the town.

“For the students it will be a mutually beneficial experience in terms of both learning from inter-disciplinary cooperation and contributing to a real-life urban regeneration situation outside London.” Blackpool Council has been a key partner in the EU SINTROPHER project where UCL has been the lead partner since 2009. The two tasks involve trying to improve the connectivity of the South Fylde Line for wider regeneration benefits around Blackpool South, and improving the connection between Blackpool North Station and the Promenade by extending the tramway.