31/03/2010

Blackpool Tower Funding Boost

Two of Blackpool’s most iconic visitor attractions, Blackpool Tower and the Winter Gardens complex, are to get a major facelift as part of a £38.9m project.

The multi-million deal will secure the long term future of the area by rejuvenating tourism and ensuring that Blackpool maintains its status as the UK’s leading resort, the Government said.

Funding will enable Blackpool council to purchase the Tower and the Winter Gardens from the current operator Leisure Parcs.

It will put the attractions in public ownership for the very first time and pave the way for a major regeneration programme.

Leisure operator Merlin Entertainments Group has been attracted to the area.

Around £10m worth of repairs will be carried out on the Tower. The first phase of the project is expected to be completed in time for the beginning of the 2011 tourism season.

It is estimated almost 1,000 new jobs will be created.

The Winter Gardens will undergo a first phase refurbishment and upgrading programme to create a new mid-size, multi purpose conferencing venue suitable for a wide range of events and functions.

Business Minister Rosie Winterton the investment will revamp these historic buildings and secure their "world class status" well into the future.

Regional Minister Phil Woollas described the investment as "fantastic news".

"Blackpool Tower and Winter Gardens are favourite tourist venue attractions in the country and this investment will ensure their future as part of the transformation of Blackpool into a world class destination."

Sir Howard Bernstein, Chair of ReBlackpool, said he is confident the project will result in a significant increase in jobs and visitor numbers.

(PR/GK)

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