That was the message as the framework on which the resort’s new leisure quarter will be shaped was revealed for the first time.
A draft planning brief has been produced to give potential investors guidance about how the council wants the Central Station site to evolve and help regenerate the town.
Now named the „Conference Leisure Quarter“, the 22 hectare site, located on the southern edge of the town centre fronting the Promenade and bounded by Adelaide Street West, Bank Hey Street, Central Drive and Chapel Street, has already been identified as the preferred location for a new national conference centre and Las Vegas-style super casino.
The brief discloses the council owns the majority of the site, comprising of Central, Chapel Street and Bonny Street car parks as well as the court buildings, totalling 38,077 square metres.
The rest of the land, adding up to 26,240 square metres, is shared between Leisure Parcs, the Noble Organisation, Brunswick Property Company Ltd, Terence Peter Kenyon, Lancashire Police Authority, Golden Harp Ltd and Spirit Managed Pubs Ltd.
Discussions, led by Blackpool’s regeneration company ReBlackpool, are already underway to assist the assembly of the package of land needed for redevelopment.
Coun Eddie Collett, cabinet member for tourism and regeneration, said: „This site presents a great opportunity for Blackpool to secure a spectacular new flagship tourism development which would act as a vital catalyst for major regeneration of the resort.
„Blackpool urgently needs new must-visit attractions along with modern conferencing facilities. A new national conference centre and a regional casino are central to the council’s ambitions, but how the site is developed, as well as what it is developed for, will be crucial to its success.
„The draft guidance aims to ensure a number of key factors.
„It’s vital that the new quarter links in well with adjoining resort areas and the town centre, so that it does not become a one-stop destination.
„The draft guidance covers issues, that will be of great interest to local people, organisations and businesses including access, parking and the amount and quality of hotel accommodation. At this stage it is only a draft. We will be consulting widely and inviting public comment upon it before finalising the content of the brief.“
A formal six-week period of public consultation on the draft is proposed to commence early May when the council will be inviting comment from local groups, organisations, businesses and the general public.
The document will be made widely available at main council offices, libraries and on the council’s website and response forms will be provided to encourage public comment.