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Agenda item


To provide an overview of progress on the various projects being undertaken to secure the regeneration of Blackpool Town Centre following the last update in September 2020, and to inform the Committee of planned future work.


Mr Alan Cavill, Director of Regeneration and Communication and Mr Nick Gerrard, Growth and Prosperity Programme Director, presented the Town Centre Regeneration update. The update provided details on the work being undertaken in relation to regeneration within Blackpool town centre. Mr Gerrard explained that good progress had been made during the period of lockdown. An unexpected benefit to projects had been the development of online meetings which had simplified bringing various parties together to discuss work.


The Committee asked if the Council had enough capacity to manage the various and complex projects that were being undertaken. Mr Gerrard replied that the capacity for managing contracts and projects was kept under constant review, with weekly meeting between himself and Mr Cavill, and that more resources had been made available where necessary to support project management. He added that the delivery of regeneration was a joint effort of teams across the Council who pooled their expertise and resources to help ensure projects were delivered successfully.


The need to preserve and build new green spaces in the town centre as it was regenerated was raised as an issue. In response Mr Gerrard explained that the benefits of green spaces in the town centre had been recognised and that work was underway to ensure green space was included in plans for the Talbot Gateway stage 3 development and the Central Leisure Area. He added that the Quality Corridors programme would also improve the roads into the town centre and the environment around them.


Members of the Committee also asked if more details could be provided regarding the proposed Adelaide Street Transport Hub, referred to in the report. Mr Gerrard explained that with the ongoing regeneration of the town centre it was expected that there would be an increase in vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Mr Ian Large, Performance Manager, Traffic and Highways Management, added that the Hub would be developed to allow the management of increased traffic to the area and ensure that the different forms of traffic interacted in a way that did not disrupt the local area.


The use of the Quality Corridor fund to improve some of the areas in the town centre was also raised. Members of the Committee noted that although money had been spent on developments, there were cases where the surrounding streets remained in poor repair. Mr Gerrard replied that the Council recognised that this was an issue in many areas and that work needed to be undertaken to determine where funding could be sought. He added that potential sources of funding for this work would be the Quality Corridor or the Levelling–Up Fund. He added that any improvements undertaken would be linked to an increase in the overall condition of their local area.


The Committee also asked if an update on a replacement for the former Debenhams Department store could be provided. Mr Gerrard informed Members that no new information could be reported at the time of the meeting but a solution for the space created by the departure of Debenhams was being actively pursued.


The quality of the shopping offer available in the town centre was discussed, with Members noting that a number of stores had closed and as a result units had become vacant. In reply Mr Gerrard explained that the solution to this issue was the development of a diverse town centre offer that was not dependent on retail. This included the building of a new IMAX theatre and attracting new employers to the town centre, who could then help support existing businesses.

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