'Getting Building' Funding approved for Blackpool
Blackpool has been given the go-ahead to start work on two key projects that will help rejuvenate the town centre.
After successfully being allocated £8.6m of funding for two ‘shovel ready’ regeneration projects from the Government’s COVID-19 Getting Building Fund, the town has been given formal approval by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to proceed with the schemes.
The two projects, Houndshill Shopping Centre phase two and the regeneration of Abingdon Street Market, were the subject of detailed appraisal prior to being presented to the LEP board for approval. This process confirmed that the projects met all the required criteria offering robust timelines that will generate new development activity in the next 18 months, assuring fast deliverability and creation of jobs.
The Getting Building Fund is in response to the economic crisis caused by Covid-19. Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) invited the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) as part of a UK-wide Government initiative, to put forward ideas for accelerating existing Government funded capital projects within local growth programmes, to generate new development activity within 18 months, to help create jobs and raise overall demand in the economy.
1. Houndshill Shopping Centre – Phase 2 Development - £5m allocated
As part of its strategy to revitalise the town centre Blackpool Council purchased the Houndshill Shopping Centre in Nov 19 for £47.6m, the aim being to support its sustainability and to re-purpose parts of it through the delivery of a transformational leisure and retail development. The mixed use development comprises:
9 Screen Imax -style Cinema (40,575 sq ft)
2 New Restaurants (3,760 sq ft)
A relocated Wilko Store (22,500 sq ft)
The scheme objectives are to create new complementary leisure uses, while securing the site for the tramway terminus through allowing the planned relocation of the existing Wilko store, providing new amenities and promote increased investor confidence in the area.
The £5m allocated funding will be used enable this £20 million development to go ahead.
2. Abingdon Street Market - £3.63m allocated
The aim of the project is to rejuvenate the visitor experience, growth, and sustainability of the Abingdon Street indoor market in Blackpool Town Centre. It will support the creation of a range of independent retail and food retail services, and office uses, together with performance space, that will provide amenities and wider benefits and promote increased investor confidence in the area.
Abingdon Street indoor market, which has declined significantly in recent years and is currently for sale by its private owner. With a new offer it will address the needs and demands of residents and visitors and provide a modern experience at the heart of the town centre.
The £3.63m will be used to acquire the building and undertake the refurbishment scheme.
Cllr Lynn Williams, Leader of Blackpool Council said: “Lancashire Enterprise Partnership was looking for individual projects that were able to offer fast deliverability and the creation of jobs and we’re confident that the two Blackpool projects fulfil the brief. Houndshill Phase 2 Development and the regeneration of Abingdon Street Market are both projects that we were seeking funding for through our Future High Streets Fund bid and so we are delighted that we can now accelerate the delivery of these two projects and bring new jobs and opportunities into the town centre sooner than originally planned.”
“Over the past seven months the team at the council have been working hard behind the scenes to ensure that none of the momentum is lost on the regeneration of the town centre and now that we have formal approval and funds in place, we can hit the ground running.”
Steve Fogg, Chair of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership said, ''It is fantastic that Blackpool has managed to secure funding for two projects through the Getting Building Better Fund. The Covid-19 crisis has naturally had an adverse impact on most areas of the Lancashire economy, and Blackpool particularly so due to its reliance on the tourism and leisure industries.
“The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership is in regular dialogue with Government to ensure the economic effects are minimised and the county receives the support it needs and deserves. By working closely with our partners, we have successfully secured a total of £34.1m from the Getting Building Fund for investment in quality projects which will drive economic recovery and create jobs. The two schemes in Blackpool have the potential to create up to 225 jobs and revitalise the town centre. When added to the significant investment by the LEP through Growth Deal funds, the most recent of which was a contribution to the manufacturing facility on the Enterprise Zone, I am confident we will see transformational change in the town and increase investor confidence in the area.''
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