Blackpool calls to be ‘national blueprint’ as it seeks to build economy by £1bn

The Blackpool Pride of Place Partnership (PoP) is calling for Blackpool to be the blueprint for levelling up across the UK and wants to secure a strategic working relationship with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to enable it to deliver on its vision.

Blackpool has some of the most difficult societal challenges in the country and is often promoted as one of the most deprived areas in the UK. Taking a pioneering approach to the revitalization of the town through good placemaking principles, the Blackpool Pride of Place Partnership created a unique collaboration with the private, public and voluntary sectors, including Blackpool Council, and has today launched its 2030 vision for the town, which builds on the progress already happening on the ground.

The Agenda For Action 2030 is a long-term strategic vision for the town, cementing Blackpool as a creative, digital, and educational hub for the North West and beyond. It aims to promote the area’s economic development and tackle its social challenges through involving people with influence, passion and a common aim – to see Blackpool sheds its poverty-posterchild image and become once again a truly prosperous destination with improved life outcomes for its residents.

Since the launch of the first prospectus in 2018, more than £350m has been invested in the town, including £100m of Government funding. With an ambition to grow Blackpool’s economy by £1bn by 2030, the Partnership is keen to secure a long-term strategic partnership with central Government to deliver improved housing, health, education, skills and employment, and digital outcomes, and to ensure effective and efficient levelling up for Blackpool and its residents.

Amanda Mackenzie OBE, Chief Executive of Business in the Community said:

“All organisations and businesses genuinely working together is the only way to ensure that as we work to create a fairer and more equal society, we do it well and do it right.  Blackpool is a shining example of that. The time, dedication and commitment that we have seen from the public and private sectors in Blackpool is proof that no one government, business or organisation can transform communities alone. 

“Businesses leaders understand that if they are to have a healthy business, they must operate in a healthy community and that means creating opportunities for its people.  BITC has 40 years of learning how to do this. The new Blackpool Prospectus shows our ambitions for this town are greater still.”

Key asks of Government

  • Housing: £100m investment in capital funding to intervene at scale in the failed housing market in inner Blackpool which would involve selective clearance, remodelling of existing properties and the creation of green spaces.
  • Communities: Back the Claremont and Revoe plans submitted to Homes England – developed by their local communities – which set out a wider approach to the regeneration of each area, including greening and pocket parks, reducing the density of urban development, improving connectivity across Blackpool, and creating safe spaces for children and families.
  • Health: Ensure the Governance of the Integrated Care Partnership delivering tangible devolution to Blackpool so place-based health care can integrate seamlessly with the existing array of complementary social support.
  • Digital: Work to utilise and capitalise on the international fibre connection to Europe and the USA to diversify Blackpool and the Fylde Coast’s economy to maximise community opportunities. Support our schools to develop a non-traditional, business-led digital curriculum alongside the creation of a digital education hub that is accessible to all children in Blackpool.
  • Education and Skills: Support a successor programme for the Blackpool Opportunity Area until 2030 so we can maintain improvements in educational performance and inclusion, supplemented with targeted support for those who are hardest to reach in our community, making sure there is a place for everyone in the workforce. Support the development of a Multiversity in the town that will inspire all young people and act as the hub to develop a truly inclusive Blackpool workforce.
  • Regeneration; Support an extension of the Enterprise Zone Business Rate Relief and Enhanced Capital Allowances until 2025, provide backing for Blackpool’s Levelling Up Fund bids and provide ongoing support for regeneration from the UKSPF. Provide support for the Court’s relocation business case to unlock a major development opportunity in the town. As part of the ‘Restoring your Railway’ programme, invest in reopening the five-mile Poulton to Fleetwood line and a passing loop on the South Fylde line to double rail frequency for commuters and students.

The launch of the new prospectus builds on community engagement undertaken by the Pride of Place Partnership with the local community, businesses and the Council and has been updated to reflect the delivery of projects in the town and the consequential outcomes.

The Agenda for Action 2030 comes just weeks before the Conservative Party hosts its newly rebranded Spring Conference in Blackpool’s new Conference & Exhibition Centre. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are expected to attend and it is hoped will be able to spend some time visiting projects profiled in the prospectus.

– Ends –

Notes to editor 

The full prospectus can be viewed here.

In 2020, the Town Deal Fund Board, chaired by the Blackpool Pride of Place Partnership, secured £40.5m for seven projects, including;

  • A Youth Hub to support young people into training and work
  • Relocation of the Blackpool Central Courts to enable a £300m private sector investment in a new year-round leisure destination
  • Site assembly for a Multiversity to broaden education opportunities, develop skills the workforce needs locally, and make a major contribution to the regeneration of the town centre
  • Enterprise Zone infrastructure to help attract 5,000 jobs and inward investment
  • Revoe Community Sports Village to provide facilities, reduce isolation and tackle health issues
  • The Edge – a town centre business hub for startups and business growth
  • Modernisation of Blackpool Illuminations to improve sustainability and increase visitors

About Business in the Community

Business in the community is the oldest and largest business-led membership organisation dedicated to responsible business. We were created nearly 40 years ago, with HRH The Prince of Wales as our Royal Founding Patron, to champion responsible business.  We inspire, engage and challenge members and we mobilise that collective strength as a force for good in society to:    

  • Develop a skilled and inclusive workforce for today and tomorrow; 
  • Build thriving communities where people want to live and work; 
  • Innovate to sustain and repair our planet. 

www.bitc.org.uk  

For further information, please contact Aoife Butler Nolan, Head of Media, Public Affairs and Policy on 07702 903 216 or Aoife.butler-nolan@bitc.org.uk.