EDC welcomes Enterprise Zone status success
The Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Economic Development Company (BFW EDC) has today welcomed the news that Blackpool Airport has been allocated Enterprise Zone status.
The news paves the way for the first planning application to be submitted for an Energy Headquarters for Lancashire to be developed on the site.
Bev Robinson, Principal and Chief Exec of Blackpool and The Fylde College said, ‘We welcome the Government’s announcement of an enterprise zone for Blackpool and the potential job creation that this brings to the area.
“Following Balfour Beatty’s design proposal for the enterprise zone and the creation of a new passenger terminal, we will submit plans for the Lancashire LEP supported Energy HQ on the newly created enterprise zone. The co-location of this innovative training facility on Blackpool’s enterprise zone, will help to encourage inward investment.”
Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Economic Development Company (EDC) together with Blackpool and Fylde councils have worked on the successful bid that was submitted by the Lancashire Economic Partnership.
The groups have today welcomed Enterprise Zone status as an opportunity for re-visioning and securing the long term future of the Airport site.
Enterprise Zone status which comes into effect April 2016 will transform the area into a key employment site with the potential of nearly 140 new businesses and could support as many as 3,000 new jobs over more than two decades to 2030.
The Blackpool Airport corridor site extends across five development zones, proposing development of c. 175,000 sqm with private sector investment of c. £300m and significant financial impact in terms of business rate retention.
Cllr Mark Smith, Cabinet Member for Business and Economic Development, said: “The announcement of an enterprise zone is fantastic news and is a key element of Blackpool Council’s vision for jobs and growth in Squires Gate.
“With this in place we can move forward with our plans that will create up to 3,000 jobs – from manufacturing to office jobs and crucially taking advantage of the Fylde Coast’s unique opportunities in the energy sector including renewables and off-shore oil and gas. The interest that has been sparked in the business world already could make it one of the most successful enterprise zones in the country, and that can really be put down to the combined effort that has gone into these plans. Far from seeing the enterprise zone as the be all and end all in and of itself, we’ve brought together several ideas which we hope will lead to some more really positive announcements in the near future.
“Another priority that we’ve maintained throughout these discussions, which we have now secured in the plans for the Enterprise Zone, is the future of Blackpool Airport’s operations. And by protecting key infrastructure such as the main runway, we’ve also secured the potential for expansion and the return of more commercial flights should it become more viable in the future.”
Councillor Sue Fazackerley, Fylde Council leader, said: “These are difficult times in which to operate a small regional airport and the Enterprise Zone gives an ideal opportunity for productive use of the site.
“This will generate high-quality, skilled jobs for the Fylde coast while retaining the longer-term prospects for aviation at the site.
“This announcement shows confidence in the area which can now take a leading role in creating jobs for the future. An Enterprise Zone will be an ideal use of this large area of development land.”
While achieving Enterprise Zone status does not do anything in the immediate future to return commercial passenger flight to the site, it does strengthen the incentives for investment.
The runway will remain in place in full and there is clear stated intention from both Balfour Beatty and Blackpool Council to pursue commercial passenger flight opportunities.
The Greenbelt status of some areas of the airport site is unaffected.
To contact the BFWEDC, call 01253 478729 or email Rob Green at email@example.com.