Blackpool Airport given "enterprise zone" status

Blackpool Airport
Image caption The enterprise zone status at Blackpool Airport comes into effect in April 2016

Blackpool Airport could be transformed into a site for up to 140 new businesses after the government granted the site "enterprise zone" status.

The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership submitted a bid in January, which was backed by the chancellor in the March budget.

Supporters claim it could create 3,000 new jobs by 2030.

Other proposals include the return of regular commercial flights to the airport, which were stopped last year.

'Fantastic news'

The news paves the way for Blackpool and The Fylde College to submit a planning application for an Energy Headquarters to be developed on the site, to train onshore oil and gas specialists.

Councillor Mark Smith, cabinet member for business and economic development at Blackpool Council, said it was "fantastic news and a key element of Blackpool Council's vision for jobs and growth".

"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," he said.

A spokesman for Balfour Beatty said the company was "delighted" at the decision, adding: "We have been working closely with both local and national government to secure the opportunity for this important site in the north west as a focus for redevelopment."

Balfour Beatty bought the site in 2008 and have been working with the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, Blackpool Council and Lancashire County Council to develop the area after closing the airport in October last year.

Enterprise zones are part of the government's long-term economic plan to support business growth by giving cheaper business rates, superfast broadband and lower levels of planning control.

The enterprise zone status at Blackpool Airport comes into effect in April 2016.

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