What's Happening at Blackpool Enterprise Zone

What's Happening at Blackpool Enterprise Zone

The development of Blackpool Enterprise Zone is progressing apace. It’s an industrial-led, mixed use employment site incorporating Blackpool Airport.

A new report is out by aviation industry experts, recommending the best opportunities for securing Blackpool Airport’s future and economic growth.

Report Sets out the Future Business Plan for Blackpool Airport

Aviation industry experts have produced a comprehensive report setting out the best opportunities to revive and secure the future of Blackpool Airport.

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The report was produced by leading airport and aviation consultant, York Aviation. It makes a number of recommendations for investment in infrastructure, operations and management of the airport to ensure it remains a key transport asset for the North West.

Development of Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone

A summary of the report will be considered on Monday 5 November by Blackpool Council. They bought the airport from Balfour Beatty in 2017 to ensure the Squires Gate operation remained open for business.

Based on York’s recommendations, two wholly-owned Council companies, Squires Gate Operations Ltd (SGAOL), which looks after airport operations, and Blackpool Airport Properties Ltd (BAPL), which looks after the airport’s land and property on the 400-acre site, will be responsible for preparing and implementing a detailed business plan that will help to map out the long-term future for the airport. It is intended that the plan will:

  • Safeguard jobs and create new job opportunities
  • Identify improvements in infrastructure
  • Establish the airport’s market, areas of business growth and new revenue streams
  • Identify and develop new business aviation opportunities
  • Support the release of development land for the wider Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone

York Aviation identifies the main opportunities for future growth potential as:

  • Growth of existing areas of core business, particularly general aviation activity and flying tuition
  • Continuation of the contract for helicopter offshore operations
  • Creation of further opportunities for corporate and executive aviation activity, providing additional revenue for the airport
  • Opportunities to attract substantial aircraft maintenance repair and operational activity, with the main focus on smaller executive jet-type aircraft, bringing rent, movement and fuel income
  • Replacing old hangars with new build hangars located closer to the runway to increase capacity and income
  • Opening up attractive development land fronting Squires Gate Lane
  • Development of an on-site café with airside views

York Aviation has also analysed the market to assess how likely it is that commercial air services might be reintroduced at the airport. They looked at a number of holiday routes operating on an annual or seasonal basis that could theoretically sustain passenger levels to justify a service to rival competition from the likes of Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds/Bradford.

The report suggests that the total anticipated market for passengers from the region is estimated at 250,000. These volumes would, however, require high levels of  investment in new terminal facilities, security, operational equipment and staffing, the cost of which would far outweigh the income generated and could see an annual seven figure financial loss.

It is estimated that around 1.5m passengers would be needed each year to justify the level of investment required to support a full-scale return of mainstream passenger services. Historically, the maximum passenger numbers at Blackpool Airport peaked at 700,000 per annum and the report summarises that on that basis commercial passenger services have been deemed unviable, although this could be revisited in future subject to any changes in market conditions.

York explored the potential for a resumption of local regional air services to the Isle of Man, Dublin and Belfast which operated from the airport until 2016. The opportunity for re-introduction of such services will continue to be reviewed, but the report advises that careful consideration and financial scrutiny would need to be given to the increased costs of staffing and operational requirements.

Cllr Mark Smith, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Enterprise and Economic Development, for Blackpool Council said: “The York Aviation report provides clear guidance for future marketing opportunities and identifies priorities for investment. It gives an invaluable steer on management roles and responsibilities to enable a long term, sustainable, operational airport and the successful delivery of the overall Enterprise Zone.

“At this stage, it is clear that the reintroduction of commercial flights is not financially viable. Similarly, the operation of smaller services such as flights to the Isle of Man, Dublin and Belfast, would break even at best. If we are to maintain an operational airport in Blackpool it is critical that we take heed of the financial reality.

“The airport is an integral part of the future development of the Enterprise Zone and a much loved and valued transport asset for Lancashire. Our focus and dedication is to support the business sectors already operating and to promote opportunities for new growth for the airport.”

As a key element of the wider Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone strategy and development, £28.8m has already been allocated for the next three years which includes £3.45m towards the initial activity of relocating and replacing older aircraft hangars, providing new apron and a new offshore helicopter terminal.

Developer Sought for Blackpool Enterprise Zone

Blackpool Council is inviting expressions of interest in the development of Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone.

Blackpool Enterprise Zone, aerial view
Blackpool Enterprise Zone, aerial view

Potential private sector partners are being invited to register their interest in the 144 hectare site before the 30th November. One of more preferred developers will then be appointed to drive forward the site and achieve the vision of making Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone a premier business location in the North West.

Character Areas are:

  • Knowledge & Business Quarter – home of business, knowledge and education
  • Airport Zone – high quality airport operations
  • Business Hub – Key development sites on Amy Johnson Way
  • Innovation Gateway – New gateway, landmark building and business hub
  • Industrial Heart – mixed advanced manufacturing, light industrial and logistics
  • Third Space – Mixed use commercial space
  • Sports Village – key eastern gateway and commercial leisure use

Blackpool Enterprise Zone, character areas

The Enterprise Zone is part of a wider £1 billion regeneration programme for Blackpool and is already playing a critical part in attracting the inward investment needed for Blackpool’s future development with a focus on broadening and improving the commercial property offer available on the Fylde Coast.

New Road at Blackpool Enterprise Zone

Blackpool Enterprise Zone development starts with a transport assessment for a new road.

Cllr Mark Smith (below left), Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Enterprise and Economic Development was joined by Rob Green, Head of Enterprise Zones at Blackpool Council. They met at Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone, to mark the start of the first phase of redevelopment.

Blackpool Enterprise Zone
Blackpool Enterprise Zone

Marketing boards have been erected at different locations surrounding the site. The Enterprise Zone Delivery Team has appointed a specialist engineering and environmental design consultancy, BWB Consulting. They will carry out preliminary transport highway assessments as part of the first stage of planning application process, for the new eastern access road and the re-modelling of the adjacent Common Edge Road Playing Fields.

The comprehensive traffic assessment will:

  • include traffic counts at key junctions throughout the locality,
  • provide initial concept designs for the road layout, and
  • address any transport issues, including parking, walking and cycling elements associated with future development and the impact of jobs growth over the next 23 years.

The new eastern road would provide a much needed second access point to the Enterprise Zone and help to ease congestion during peak commuter hours in the local area on Squires Gate Lane, Common Edge Road and surrounding feeder routes.

Unlocking development land

It is projected that the new eastern access road would allow Blackpool Council, the accountable body for the Enterprise Zone, to unlock land available for development by 2020.

Blackpool Council recently allocated £28.8m of funding for an initial three year period. The funds will deliver essential infrastructure to help secure early investment in the site, kick start development, build momentum and reinforce market confidence.

It’s projected that over the next 23 years the 144 hectare site will help to transform the Blackpool and Fylde Coasts economic base. Over £300m private investment will attract up to 5,000 new jobs, supported by new infrastructure. 140 new businesses are expected to be on site by 2030 and develop, convert or re-purpose 260,000 sq m of potential floor space.

The Enterprise Zone team now are taking all enquiries for available property and land on Freephone 0808 1644922 or register interest at www.blackpoolez.com

Building on Blackpool Enterprise Zone Success

Blackpool Enterprise Zone is located off Squires Gate Lane. A sister Enterprise Zone is located at Hillhouse Technology Business Park in Thornton Cleveleys.

Blackpool Enterprise Zone

Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone

The 144 hectare Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone (EZ) came into existence in April 2016.

It has a programmed 25 year lifespan and aspirations to host 3,000 new jobs, secure in excess of £300m of private sector investment with 180 plus new businesses locating to the EZ.

Companies operating in the business park cover diverse industry sectors and range from manufacturers and energy consultants to accountants and a publishing house.

Lancashire Advanced Manufacturing and Energy Cluster

The first students were also welcomed at Blackpool and the Fylde College Lancashire Energy Headquarters which opened last year.

The £9.8m flagship development which is backed by £6.2m of Growth Deal funding will provide a high standard training facility, delivering the full range of technical and professional education required by the energy industry, with a particular focus on the green and renewables sectors.

The Blackpool Airport and Hillhouse Technology Enterprise Zone sites are part of the wider Lancashire Advanced Manufacturing and Energy Cluster (LAMEC) which also includes the Samlesbury Aerospace Enterprise Zone and the Warton Aviation Enterprise Zone.

Together they provide a compelling offer to investors and occupiers in globally competitive sectors and is of considerable significance to the economic success of Lancashire, to the North of England and to the UK.

New high value jobs

The EZ Cluster has the potential to generate 10,000 new high value jobs over its lifetime, ensuring Lancashire builds on its position as one of the UK’s leading centres of excellence.

Blackpool Council logo, Blackpool Enterprise Zone

Cllr Mark Smith, Blackpool Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Enterprise and Economic Development, said: “Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone is one of the council’s biggest projects as part of its Growth and Prosperity Programme. It is playing a key part in delivering Blackpool Council’s vision for jobs and growth in the area. The site has already seen a surge in activity with new developments, existing buildings adding extra office space, and new warehouse facilities.

“Our vision is to make the site a premier business location in the North West where high quality businesses facilitate economic growth and employment and further develop the strong skills and knowledge base of the Fylde Coast.

“In order to ensure its robust delivery there needs to be a sound and detailed Masterplan framework in place, which this consultation will help to provide. It will support achieving future growth of the site and provide confidence for businesses and investors.

“It has already been the subject of extensive stakeholder consultation over many months. It will be regularly reviewed over the lifetime of the project to ensure it is up to date and reflective of the changing economic circumstances as the project develops.”

Fylde Council logo, Blackpool Enterprise Zone

Lancashire Enterprise Partnership logo, Blackpool Enterprise Zone

A dynamic, world class investment location

David Taylor, Deputy Chair of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership said: “The Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone is a key offer within the Lancashire Advanced Manufacturing and Energy Cluster (LAMEC) which has been developed by the LEP to showcase Lancashire nationally and internationally as a dynamic, world-class and compelling investment location with the potential to generate 10,000 new high value jobs over its lifetime.

“The success of the Airport Enterprise Zone, with facilities such as the Energy HQ, plays a crucial role in our integrated approach to economic growth through the Cluster model. This is why the LEP, the EDC and Blackpool Council are keen to engage with all partners and stakeholders through this consultation process to ensure we maximise the potential offered by this site and also to explore how it can effectively reinforce LAMEC’s strong proposition.”

To attract incoming companies to the EZ, business rate relief is available up to a maximum of £275,000 over a five year period for new businesses locating before April 2022.

Businesses can also benefit from Enhanced Capital Allowances for investment in new fixed plant and machinery until November 2023.

For more information contact Steve Smith on 01253 476193, see the plans at www.blackpool.gov.uk/airportez or email your comments to planning@blackpool.gov.uk

Blackpool Enterprise Zone celebrates first anniversary

Published April 2017

Since going ‘live’ on 1 April 2016 the Government backed Enterprise Zone is now home to over 200 businesses and around 1500 employees.

(L-R) Steve Williams, MD, Force Technology with Cllr Mark Smith, Blackpool Council’s Cabinet Member for Business and Economic Development.
(L-R) Steve Williams, MD, Force Technology with Cllr Mark Smith, Blackpool Council’s Cabinet Member for Business and Economic Development.

A Year of Success

The Enterprise Zone has already attracted 28 new companies and is hosting 450 new jobs in the area. It is expected to add an extra 2,500 jobs over the next 24 years.

Companies operating in the business park cover diverse industry sectors and range from manufacturers and energy consultancies to accountants and a publishing house.

Cllr Mark Smith, Blackpool Council’s Cabinet Member for Business and Economic Development, said: “Progress at the Enterprise Zone is really gaining momentum with new businesses moving in. It is playing a key part in delivering Blackpool Council’s vision for jobs and growth in the area.

“The last year has seen a spurt of activity with new developments, existing buildings adding extra office space, and new warehouse facilities completed.

“We are well on our way to creating within 25 years the 3,000 new jobs that we originally envisaged and achieving our goal to attract 140 new businesses.”

Businesses Grow

Businesses are already going from strength to strength at the site. Engineering firm Force Technology was the first private business to be officially welcomed to the Enterprise Zone last year. The company specialises in high precision spring applications for the automotive, transport and shipping industry.

Steve Williams, Managing Director, Force Technology, said: “We made the right choice basing our company in Blackpool’s Enterprise Zone.

“When we moved in to our premises there were only three of us.  Now we have grown to 17 staff. By next year we predict that Force Technology will be employing over 30 staff and we are delighted with the quality of the local workforce.

“There are many factors that have helped deliver this success.  The location is ideal with easy access to the transport network. Our premises never fail to impress our customers many of whom are internationally based.

“The support from the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Economic Development Company which is masterminding the development of the Enterprise Zone has been top class. We would highly recommend businesses to locate in Blackpool. It’s a winner.”

In the Pipeline and the Future

The drive for further success is being ramped up as Blackpool Council is preparing a detailed master plan for the scheme that will set the future development of the Enterprise Zone and open up the full potential of the site.

Overall, the Enterprise Zone now has currently over 180,000 sq ft of new development underway and is already generating interest from several more companies.

The Aldi supermarket chain has a new store with a floor space of 1,740 sq m creating around 40 jobs.

Work continues to complete Blackpool and The Fylde College’s Lancashire Energy Headquarters which is expected to open in September when the first students will be welcomed.

The £9.8m flagship development which is backed by £6.2m of Growth Deal funding will provide a high standard training facility, delivering the full range of technical and professional education required by the energy industry, with a particular focus on the green and renewables sectors.

Cllr Smith, commented: “It is anticipated that this exciting facility will be a catalyst for a wide range of new investment from the energy sector within the Enterprise Zone.”

In March of this year, work also began to prepare the ground for another development of a series of units at Dakota Court on nearly an acre of ground at Amy Johnson Way.  The development is close to Amy Johnson House which was recently refurbished by AC Electrical and is now fully let.

The new activity follows the launch of the £5m Enterprise Court commercial units project at the south east corner of the Enterprise Zone. Commercial property agents Robert Pinkus & Co is working with the developer on around 64 industrial units for sale.

The first phase of Enterprise Court comprises 12 small business units which can be combined and are suitable for workshop, warehouse and office use measuring 750 sq ft each.

Blackpool Council is also offering additional compelling incentives to businesses. Among the benefits potentially on offer to incoming companies is business rate relief, up to a maximum of £275,000 over a five year period for new businesses locating before May 2023.

Businesses can also benefit from Enhanced Capital Allowances for investment in fixed plant and machinery for businesses who take occupation by March 2023.

The Enterprise Zone, along with a sister Enterprise Zone at Hillhouse International Business Park in Thornton Cleveleys, is being overseen by the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Economic Development Company (EDC) on behalf of the local authorities and Lancashire Enterprise Partnership.

Blackpool and Fylde will celebrate a new era for local business as the town’s very first Enterprise Zone at Blackpool Airport goes live from April 1

Published 7 April 2016

The new Government backed initiative is providing Enterprise Zone status to the Blackpool Airport site which will help transform the area into a key employment site with the potential to support up to nearly 140 new businesses and up to 3,000 new jobs, over the next 25 years.

To mark the launch of the Zone, Force Technology were officially welcomed as the first new private business moving in by Cllr Mark Smith, Blackpool Council’s Cabinet Member for Business and Economic Development and representatives from Blackpool Fylde and Wyre Economic Development Company.

Force Technology specialises in the development and innovation of high precision spring applications for the automotive, transport and shipping industry. They will initially be based within Lightworks, Blackpool Council’s Illuminations depot, whilst a bespoke facility is developed for the company within the Enterprise Zone. Force Technology hopes to grow their workforce to over 120 in the next 5 years.

The Airport has already been boosted by the announcement  of  Blackpool and The Fylde College to build a Lancashire Energy Headquarters on the site, with work now having commenced on construction—this exciting facility will be a catalyst for a wide range of new investment from the energy sector  within the Enterprise Zone.

The new Enterprise Zone, along with a sister Enterprise Zone at Hillhouse International Business Park near Thornton, will be  overseen by the Blackpool, Fylde & Wyre Economic Development Company on behalf of the local authorities and Lancashire Enterprise Partnership. Both sites will now provide further opportunities for local businesses to develop.

Among the benefits potentially on offer to incoming businesses are business rate relief, up to a maximum of £275,000 over a five year period for new businesses locating before May 2023. This is subject to certain qualifying criteria.

Businesses can also benefit from Enhanced Capital Allowances  for investment in fixed plant and machinery  for businesses who take occupation by March 2023.

Cllr Mark Smith, Blackpool Council’s Cabinet Member for Business and Economic Development, said: “The opening of the Enterprise Zone is fantastic news and is a key part of  Blackpool Council’s vision for jobs and growth in Squires Gate.

“With the Zone now live we will be looking to push forward with plans that will help to  create up to 3,000 jobs for the local area – from manufacturing to office jobs as well as taking advantage of the Fylde Coast’s unique opportunities in the energy sector including renewables and off-shore oil and gas.

“The launch of the Enterprise Zone is also an important step forward in securing the future of Blackpool Airport’s operations. 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 viable in the future.”

Edwin Booth, Chair of Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, said: “The LEP’s Enterprise Zone strategy is based on twin-track approach which looks to deliver jobs and opportunities locally while also creating a county-wide network of high capacity and integrated business hubs that work closely together. To help fulfil this vision, the LEP has worked hard with local partners and Government to secure EZ status for Blackpool Airport and Hillhouse and we now have four strong EZ sites, including Samlesbury and Warton, which combined form a significant investor offer to new occupiers within the context of the Northern Powerhouse.

“Blackpool Airport and Hillhouse EZ sites will also capitalise on the recent work of the LEP and local partners in securing a £250m Growth Deal which includes a focus on the economic renewal and regeneration of Blackpool. The LEP welcomes the progress being made in Blackpool and looks forward to supporting the delivery of these, and other major initiatives, which will benefit both the town itself and the wider Lancashire economy.”

Find out More

Blackpool Enterprise Zone www.blackpoolez.com

Hillhouse Enterprise Zone www.hillhouseez.com

Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Economic Development Company (BFW EDC) has welcomed the news that Blackpool Airport has been allocated Enterprise Zone status

(Published November 2015)

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.

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