The government has followed the House of Lords' Regenerating Seaside Towns Committee's recommendation, to give Blackpool a town deal in a major step forward in securing its future.
Blackpool has already successfully attracted interest from the private sector to supercharge its tourism offer and in December announced a £300m project to create a new entertainment complex; Blackpool Central.
Construction is also under way on a new £25m conference centre, attached to the existing, iconic Winter Gardens conference venue, which will be ready to host political party conferences from 2021.
This is all part of a vision for Blackpool as a thriving coastal community in 2030, laid out in a town prospectus published by the Blackpool Pride of Place Partnership last year.
The leadership and motivation to achieve this is already in place across all sectors and a town deal is a unique opportunity to secure the resources needed to achieve this.
In order to realise these aims, significant investment is needed, combined with strategic and continued support from government in several key areas:
- Funding and legislation to solve Blackpool’s systemic housing issues where benefit payments are funding poor quality, multiple occupancy, private rented accommodation and undermining community cohesion.
- A commitment to raise educational standards and aspirations in Blackpool’s struggling secondary schools with investment in leadership and commensurate per pupil funding.
- To continue the regeneration of the town centre including consolidating civil service jobs into a hub with a digital centre of excellence and an expanded university presence.
- To designate the Fylde coast a tourism zone under the new industrial strategy and supercharge the tourism offer in Blackpool by creating a comprehensive, accessible digital customer experience.
- Build on the success of the tramway modernisation by creating a full Fylde coast tram/train loop and improve connectivity for the region.
- The establishment of a task force to review and improve mental health provision across the Fylde coast and allocate the additional funding announced in the 2018 budget.
- Continued support for the Lancashire Enterprise Zones and additional logistical support to exploit the full economic potential of the incoming Transatlantic Loop cable.
The Blackpool Pride of Place Partnership, set up by Business in the Community, is confident that with continued government support in the form of a town deal, we can achieve all of these aspirations and more.
Paul Smith, special projects director for Business in the Community and Blackpool Pride of Place Partnership lead said:
“This town deal recognises the challenges we face and will help us fulfil our aspirations for the future. We know from experience that with the right sort of interventions, we can create a vibrant destination that has a thriving retail, leisure and accommodation offer, complemented by better housing, sustainable employment and a tangible sense of civic pride.”
Simon Blackburn, leader of Blackpool Council said:
“We have been pushing for a Town Deal with our public, private and voluntary partners since we published Blackpool Town Prospectus late last year. In July the council’s Chief Executive and I went to London to meet with Jake Berry MP to discuss this very issue. I am glad that the compelling case we set out to the government has been acknowledged and acted upon.
“Any investment that will enable us to continue to revitalise our town is to be welcomed. At this stage we don’t know how much money we will be receiving so we will await with interest further details as they are released.”
Notes to editor
Matthew Meehan, public relations manager, Business in the Community,
Tel: 07511 080253, Email: email@example.com
Paul Smith, special projects director for Business in the Community and Blackpool Pride of Place Partnership lead
About Blackpool Pride of Place Partnership
The Blackpool Pride of Place Partnership is a group of people from the business, third and public sectors who have come together to promote economic development and tackle the area’s social challenges. We aim to support the town to prosper, at the same time as reducing vulnerability and demand on what is already an overstretched public sector. While the primary focus is Blackpool, we aim to have a halo effect along the Fylde coast and for the whole area to feel involved.
The partnership has been created under the umbrella of Business in the Community (a national business membership organisation that encourages responsible business) as the blueprint for a new approach to working with communities to determine sustainable and positive futures.
About Business in the Community
Business in the Community, part of the Prince’s Responsible Business Network, is a business-led membership organisation made up of progressive businesses of all sizes who understand that the prosperity of business and society are mutually dependent. We exist to build healthy communities with successful businesses at their heart.
We use our Responsible Business Map to guide members on a journey of continuous improvement, working across the whole responsible business agenda. From community engagement to employment, diversity and the circular economy, we offer expert advice and specialist resources, driving best practice by convening, sharing learning and recognising great performance across our influential network. www.bitc.org.uk