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First steps towards £90m housing regeneration

Images – show some of the streets in the Central Intervention Area (from Google)

The first phase of a 20-year vision to transform housing in Blackpool’s inner areas is set to see massive regeneration of deprived neighbourhoods behind the resort’s famous Golden Mile.

Councillors will meet next Monday (May 20) to agree the first steps of the widescale scheme after £90m of government Levelling Up funding towards it was announced in March this year.

A report to the council’s executive says an area bounded by Chapel Street, Central Drive, Rigby Road and the Promenade will be the first streets designated for redevelopment.

The area confirmed as the Central Intervention Area includes the town’s historic Foxhall Village including York Street and Coop Street, as well as streets off Erdington Road.

It is also between the £300m Blackpool Central Leisure development and Blackpool Football Club’s Bloomfield Road stadium where a new spectator stand and sports village are due to be built.

The executive report says the area will be “the initial area of focus for detailed scheme development, community engagement and property acquisitions in preparation for development”.

It adds the area has been chosen for redevelopment because of its deprivation, poor quality housing and lack of public open space.

The report says: “Blackpool’s most acute deprivation statistics are intrinsically linked to private housing failure in this inner urban area.

“Partners acknowledge that it is now time to bring forward regeneration and investment at scale to reverse the cycle of worsening outcomes.”

Work to improve the housing stock could include a mixture of selective clearance, refurbishment, enforcement action and investment in energy efficiency improvements.

Documents say 1,860 households will be affected, with the council set to start public consultation later this year. It is likely compulsory purchase orders will be sought in order “to enable future redevelopment and subsequent demolition as appropriate.”

Council leader Coun Lynn Williams said such large-scale transformation was a “once in a lifetime opportunity”.

She said: “Housing-led regeneration across the whole of Blackpool’s inner area is the long-term ambition with this first phase of regeneration seen as the starting point for transformational change.

“We want to provide homes that are modern, comfortable, desirable and meets the needs of local people in Blackpool, both those that live here now but also those that may want to move here in the future.

“The benefits of this huge-scale investment are clear to see. There will be economic benefits such as increased job creation; environment benefits such as energy-efficient housing, new public open spaces and, most importantly, social benefits such as housing that is suitable for the 21st Century.

“This large-scale regeneration will provide a better mix of housing, new affordable housing, better health outcomes, a reduction in homelessness and temporary accommodation, and a reduction in crime and anti-social behaviour through well-designed, built and managed public and private spaces.

“We are just at the beginning of a 15-20 year project and I am really excited and passionate about it, but we cannot do it without the input from the residents of Blackpool. We need to work with them throughout this whole process from the beginning to the end.

“It is now critical to draw out opinion and information from within the community. This represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enable systematic and transformational change in both the fabric of Blackpool and most importantly in the quality and mix of housing in this part of the inner area of Blackpool”.

Plans will also be drawn up for future phases of housing regeneration to include areas of Claremont and South Shore in readiness for further government funding opportunities.

The council’s wholly-owned housing company, Blackpool Housing Company (BHC), is expected to deliver the scheme.

The first steps will be to draw up detailed masterplans, prepare for public consultation and update proposals prior to the submission of planning applications.

  • In 2021 an initial masterplan was drawn up for the Central Drive area of Blackpool using cash from the government’s Community Housing Fund. It included improved shopfronts and public buildings and was linked to plans for the Revoe Sports Village next to Blackpool Football Club which was granted planning permission last year. New housing and improvements to existing properties were also part of the scheme. Work has also re-started on the stalled Foxhall Village housing estate.

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