Things have moved on very fast since the announcement at the end of March that Europe’s premier visitor attractions operator, Merlin Entertainments, will be working with Blackpool Council on a major regeneration project for the Tower and Promenade.
At a meeting earlier today Iain Hawkins, who heads up all Merlin’s operations in Blackpool, outlined just how much planning work has been done in the last three months to make the project a reality; and to ensure that when the company takes over the Tower Complex/Louis Tussauds buildings in November work can begin at once.
The team at Blackpool Council, in partnership with Merlin, have a very clear vision for the future. The iconic Tower Complex and Promenade will be at the very heart of the town’s re-emergence as a world class family leisure resort
The development will see the addition of three of Merlin’s global attraction brands – Madame Tussauds, a Blackpool Dungeon and a makeover of the famous Tower top ride with a 4D pre-show attraction utilising the quality and guest experience enjoyed by visitors to Merlin’s world famous London Eye.
These attractions will enhance the whole value of a visit to the Blackpool Tower, which has well established venues that will be retained in the new development namely; the Blackpool Tower Ballroom, Circus; and Jungle Jim’s Play area.
Add this to the planned Comedy Carpet, Spanish Steps and other Promenade developments and the exciting new investment is guaranteed to make this area a “must do” destination for all family visitors.
Furthermore, Merlin confirmed that significant revenue generated from the new businesses will be reinvested back every year not only to refurbish the Ballroom/Circus and other heritage parts of the Tower; but also as part of a continuous upgrade programme. “Within 5 years we hope the Tower will not only be returned to its former glory, but will also be proven to be one of the most successful commercial ventures in Blackpool.” said Hawkins.
Blackpool Council has already commissioned essential maintenance work to begin on the roof of the Ballroom and other central areas; and Merlin’s first planning application – for the new ‘Blackpool Tower Dungeon’ – will be submitted on August 9. This exciting new attraction will have a distinct North West flavour – with grisly areas devoted to the Pendle Witch Trials and Cromwell’s impact in the area, as well a blood curdling indoor ‘drop ride’ – Extremis, and much more. Scheduled to open in Autumn 2011 Merlin also plan to involve local Blackpool citizens in the final development of the Dungeon over the coming months, further underlining its very ‘local’ themes.
Cllr Peter Callow, Leader of Blackpool Council, said “Bringing the Tower into public ownership is already paying off and I’m delighted to see the plans Merlin has for the whole complex. This Council wants people to think of Blackpool as a family friendly resort and these new attractions will delight visitors.”
Merlin has already invested £200k in new fascias and upgrades for its existing SEA LIFE attraction, unveiled this week, and has exciting plans for more new marine fun.