A £13m upgrade of Blackpool Illuminations which will see new light features built and the continued extension of the display until January is among the first three schemes set to receive funding from the resort’s £39.5m Town Deal.
Since the award of funding was announced in October last year, town hall chiefs have been compiling business cases for seven schemes which are each due to receive a share of the cash.
The first three submissions cover plans for a £13.2m upgrade of the Illuminations which includes £4..5m from the Town Deal; £500,000 from the Town Deal for a Youth Hub, and £7.5m from the Town Deal towards infrastructure at the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone.
Appraisal of the schemes has now been completed and submitted to the Department of Levelling Up, Homes and Communities (formerly the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government) with the council expected to receive the funding by the end of the year.
A report setting out the Blackpool Illuminations submission says: “The overall aim of the project is to rejuvenate the Blackpool Illuminations as a means to attract an increasing number of visitors to the town in the autumn and winter period, and extending the traditional Illuminations season by two months, from the current September to November season until January.
“This will be done by designing and creating a number of new centrepiece attractions over a five-year period and improving the lighting infrastructure and provision of essential equipment needed to deliver the illuminations in an efficient and sustainable manner.
“This project will support the famous Blackpool illuminations through modernisation and innovation.”
This year sees the Illuminations extended until January for the first time in its history, after last year’s proposed extended display was curtailed by lockdown.
The lackpool Youth Hub aims “to support young people in the town to access jobs and training” by supporting the transition from school into employments.
It is hoped to provide a ‘one stop shop’ for young jobseekers aged 16 to 24 within a vacant town centre unit in the Bickerstaffe House council offices.
The project will run from April next year until September 2023, but it is hoped to begin a pilot scheme earlier if a bid for £444,000 from the Community Renewal Fund is successful.
Town deal funding of £7..5m is earmarked towards the £18m cost of new roads and infrastructure at the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone.
Proposals include a new access point for traffic from the east of the site, with changes to Common Edge Road.
This will improve traffic flow and open up additional development space for new businesses.
The other four projects in the Town deal are £8m towards the relocation of the courts building to enable later phases of the Blackpool Central leisure development; £9m towards the development of a multiversity in the town centre; £5.5m for the Southern Quarter/Revoe community sports village, and £4.5m for The EDGE incubator business hub at Stanley Buildings on Church Street.
These are due to be submitted to the government in November, with payment of funds due next March.
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