News

Funding sought for first stage delivery of Enterprise Zone Masterplan

The Vision: “To make Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone a premier business location in the North West.”

Blackpool Council are looking to secure funding to implement the first delivery stage of the approved Masterplan for Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone.

As the accountable body to drive forward this ambitious scheme on behalf of Lancashire LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) and Fylde Council, Blackpool Council will present the report on 18th June 2018 to the Blackpool Executive Committee, to seek approval to an initial three year allocation of capital funding of £28.8m to deliver essential infrastructure and associated vital support for the Enterprise Zone Masterplan. The council will use their ability to borrow at preferential rates.

A positive decision on the funding will be key to the future success of the Enterprise Zone and is essential to help secure early investment in the site, kick start development, build momentum and reinforce market confidence.

The Masterplan, approved in February 2018, sets out the full potential of the 25 year lifespan of Blackpool Airport’s Enterprise Zone status which will utilise growth and business rates to deliver:

• 270,000 sq m new floorspace

• An estimated 5,000 new jobs

• £300m private sector investment

• Over 280 new businesses on site

• Up to £2 billion of GVA (gross value added) to the local economy over the 25 year lifespan

Blackpool Council’s commitment to the scheme is to seek prudential borrowing against future growth in business rates in order to ensure the benefits of new jobs and investment for the Fylde Coast’s economic future.

The Masterplan is broken down into three broad phases of infrastructure activity which will open up development plots that will help realise the potential of the Enterprise Zone. The funding sought on the 18th June is for the implementation of Phase 1 (the first three years of delivery) which will seek to achieve as much revenue as possible in the early years.

Securing the appropriate level of funding for the first 3 years (to 2021) will facilitate:

1. A new eastern access road and gateway entrance linking Common Edge Road to Amy Johnson Way, relieving congestion at existing single point of entry to Blackpool Business Park

2. Unlocking large serviced development plots providing development opportunity from 2020 (subject to planning approval)

3. Provision of essential infrastructure such as water and utilities and associated supporting costs to provide developer-ready plots

4. Construction of several bespoke design and build developments at Common Edge Road

5. Common Edge Sports pitches will be fully relocated and new state-of-the-art facilities including 2 x floodlit 3G pitches, indoor tennis facility, modern changing complex/community facility, café and additional commercial facilities (subject to planning)

6. Purchase of strategic sites to facilitate the delivery of the Masterplan

7. Release of a site suitable for residential development (up to 30 houses, subject to planning)

8. Supporting development of third party serviced plots within the existing Blackpool Business Park

9. Phased refurbishment and redevelopment of the 120,000 sq m former Wellington Bomber Factory, to meet market demand and bring forward new roadside development potential

10. Reconfiguration of Blackpool Airport infrastructure and relocation of the existing offshore helicopter terminal to support operational sustainability for the next decade

11. New airport hangers built and occupied releasing land for development along Squires Gate Lane frontage.

12. New airport navigational aids and control tower to support ongoing operations and provision of new aviation facilities for Phase 2 of the Enterprise Zone.

Statement from Cllr Mark Smith, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Enterprise and Economic Development said, “The Enterprise Zone has the potential to dramatically change the economic landscape of the Fylde Coast and Blackpool Council are committed to delivering a premier business location within the north west that will sustain long term economic growth and investment.

“The goal of the Enterprise Zone is to be the driving force of the local economy, unlocking key development sites, consolidating and building new infrastructure, attracting new business, investment and jobs, and providing a skilled, highly trained future workforce that the Fylde Coast can be proud. Blackpool Council is sending a strong signal by its firm commitment to prudential borrowing to deliver and secure a sound economic future for the citizens of the Fylde Coast.”

Cllr Smith continued, “Development within the Enterprise Zone will be undertaken as a series of individual projects throughout the course of its life. The Council as the accountable body will explore various options for securing additional private sector investment to help deliver the overall Masterplan objectives.”

Since being granted enterprise zone status in April 2016, the scheme is already helping businesses with their expansion plans and over 40 companies have benefited from the financial incentives available to businesses by relocating to the EZ since its inception.

• Over 50 companies have moved their businesses to the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone

• Blackpool Council and Fylde Council have already committed to providing business rates relief, worth nearly £2m over five years to 42 businesses who are now based at Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone.

• 625 new jobs have been created at Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone

• Over 150 enquiries generated for relocation to the enterprise zone

Five new developments already completed including Lancashire Energy HQ, Dakota Court, Enterprise Court, Lockheed Court and Aldi superstore.