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£300m Blackpool Central themed entertainment park moves forward

Blackpool Council is set to use compulsory purchase powers for a planned £300m multimedia complex.

Blackpool Central

The Chariot of the Gods themed entertainment park, Blackpool Central, is the largest investment in Blackpool for over a century. Blackpool Council announced that it will use compulsory purchase powers to buy up land for the project, reports The Manchester Evening News

The council already owns the majority of the land required for the ambitious plan. It now needs to seal deals with companies such as BT who own the remaining plots.

The 17-acre development aims to convert the former Blackpool Central station and its environs into a dynamic mixed-use complex. It represents the largest investment in the city since the Blackpool Tower was opened in 1894.

The Council has already signed an exclusivity agreement with developer Nikal and Media Invest Entertainment. Nikal has worked with architects Gensler to develop a masterplan that includes hotels, an artisanal food hall and other F&B outlets, residential apartments and a space for staging concerts, sports events and other shows.

Chariot of the Gods

Media Invest Entertainment owns the rights to Erich von Däniken’s book Chariot of the Gods? Unsolved Mysteries of the Past, the 1968 bestseller that hypothesised that ancient ‘gods’ were actually astronauts from other galaxies. It set out to explain mysteries such as the pyramids, cave paintings, and the Easter Islands statues.

The themed entertainment park will use the unusual IP as inspiration for its rides and attractions, including a ‘Greatest Mysteries’ multi-media exhibition; an ‘Alien Diner’ with rollercoaster service; and a fully immersive ‘Flying Theatre’ experience.

The council’s plans show a fully themed ‘Adventure Land’ with adventure trail and climbing walls, rope courses and a roll-glider. A ‘Thrill and Gaming Zone’ is set to feature both thrill and family rides, arcade games, inflatables, laser tag, bumper cars and a bounce park. It also promises “the world’s most advanced virtual reality experience”, offering whole-body fully immersive multi-player games.

Three-phase plan

Work is set to start soon on the site and the project will be rolled out over the next eight to nine years. The Enabling Phase will construct a new multi-storey car park with over 1,300 spaces alongside new drop-off facilities for coaches.

Phase 1 is the major build comprising the Flying Theatre, VR experience, Greatest Mysteries, Alien Diner, Adventure Land, and the Thrill & Gaming Zone. It also includes the event square, food hall, and a 150-bedroom hotel. The final phase encompasses a 250-bedroom hotel, residential apartments, and further F&B outlets.

Once-in-a-generation opportunity

Blackpool Council expects it to draw in an extra 600,000 visitors per year and say that the project will create 1,000 new jobs for the area.

“This really is a once-in-a-generation opportunity that has the potential to alter the face of our town,” said Cllr Simon Blackburn. “Over more than fifty years, many ideas for this site have come and gone. These new attractions are of ground-breaking international quality and their cutting edge technology will take Blackpool’s tourism offer to another level.”

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