Blackpool Research Report

  • Vision: to be the UK’s number one family resort with a thriving economy that supports a happy and healthy community who are proud of this unique town
  • The tourist economy is Blackpool’s lifeblood
  • Action — enhancing offer to visitors by hosting world class events

Jobs and employment

  • Employment — Around 24,000 Blackpool jobs still rely directly on tourism…Jobs are generally low skill and low wage and small businesses predominate. Jobs in tourism are low paid, and with large numbers of people across the town earning the minimum wage in sectors such as manufacturing and social care. Blackpool also benefits from a high proportion of public sector employment. Whilst there is no tradition of heavy industry, the town’s small manufacturing sector includes local specialism in food and drink, and plastics.
  • As Blackpool experienced three decades of decline in the visitor economy, private investment stalled, jobs were lost and residents faced limited employment prospects. The population declined as people looked elsewhere for work and social problems became deeply entrenched in parts of the town. Subsequently, between 1995 and 2008 Blackpool’s economy grew at under half the rate of England, with Gross Value Added (GVA) per head 33% below the national average7. Blackpool’s unemployment rate is around 9%, which is higher than the regional and national figure. A reliance on the tourism industry means there is high seasonal unemployment.
  • Blackpool still has some way to go in providing a high quality resort offer which appeals to a 21st century tourist market and supports a sustainable visitor economy.
  • Professionals — many of the most talented youngsters move away and never return (implications of not fit for professional tenants HMO until the situation changes)
  • Developments are taking place in areas such as nuclear, wind and gas power, with further potential offered by other renewable energy sectors, such as tidal power…[with the] new Enterprise Zone planned for the airport… [aim at] delivering a new class of professional jobs in
     a rapidly-developing industry.

Property and housing

  • Housing — Taken one of the most pro-active approaches in the country to deal with the town’s housing problems, by cracking down on rogue landlords through selective licensing and investing in new housing to create more stable, less transient communities — setting up our new private sector housing management company
  • The decline in overnight visitors to the resort has resulted in a significant number of guest houses seeking alternative income through converting and sub-dividing their properties to permanent residential use.
  • Whilst new dwellings resulting from conversion and subdivision are an important source of additional housing, in the inner areas of Blackpool the result of this is an extremely dysfunctional and unbalanced housing supply. There is a significant oversupply of small, poor quality bedsits and flats or Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) and the building stock is poor quality and in need of investment and renewal. Half of the housing stock in the inner areas is in the private rented sector, housing a high percentage of people on housing benefit.
  • The attractiveness of Blackpool as a destination for low income and vulnerable households creates a steady demand for this type of accommodation, and the high number of properties involved and their concentration within certain areas has a negative effect on forming stable and cohesive communities.
  • In contrast, outside of the inner areas the housing stock is generally of good standard, comprising predominantly semi-detached and terraced housing, providing choice for higher income households. Outside of the inner areas there are four main council housing areas in Blackpool at Grange Park and Queens Park, Kincraig and Mereside.
  • Blackpool has a high proportion of private rented stock.
  • Social housing is also predominantly one- bedroom flats (which accounts for over half of social rented households) and there is a need to improve the mix and introduce more family housing.
  • Blackpool has an oversupply of smaller properties, limited choice of larger properties suitable for family occupation and a significant demand for good quality affordable housing across the Borough.
  • Blackpool has an unbalanced housing market, characterised by an oversupply of poor quality one-person accommodation, limited choice of family housing particularly in the inner area, and a shortage of good quality affordable housing across the Borough. The concentration of small, poor quality housing in the inner areas attracts low income and vulnerable households, leading to high levels of crime, anti-social behaviour and unstable, fragmented communities with high levels of transience.

Transportation

  • Transport — the extension of the tramway to Blackpool North will connect Bispham, Anchorsholme and beyond directly to the national rail network.
  • The M55 motorway provides Blackpool with a strategic link to the wider national motorway network leading directly onto Yeadon Way/Seasiders Way, which is a key visitor route providing direct access to the town centre and resort. Other key routes into Blackpool include the Promenade (A584), Talbot Road (A586), Preston New Road (A583) and Progress Way/Squires Gate Lane (A5230).
  • Blackpool Airport is located on the edge of Blackpool’s southern boundary in Fylde.
  • Blackpool was awarded ‘Cycling Town’ status in 2008. It has implemented a programme of new cycling routes, facilities and events for both residents and visitors.
  • as almost 40% of Blackpool residents have no access to a car

Population

  • Population — Between 2001 – 2011 Blackpool’s population fell by 0.2%, caused by a decline in net-in migration which has historically driven population growth. By 2027, the population is projected to have grown by 7,600 (5%) and the number of households by 4,100 (6%)5. This growth is largely as a result of migration as well as general trends towards smaller household sizes.
  • Education and qualification —Blackpool has low educational attainment and skill levels. In 2012, less than 50% of pupils achieved 5+ GCSEs with grades A*-C (including English and Maths) and 14.5% of working age residents had no qualifications.
  • Health —The health of people in Blackpool is generally worse than the national average. For example, men in the least deprived areas of the town can expect to live nearly 10 years longer than men in the most deprived areas. For women, this difference is 8.5 years. Health priorities in Blackpool include alcohol and drug misuse, mental health, smoking and obesity.
  • Money —Blackpool suffers from severe levels of highly concentrated deprivation, which has worsened over the last ten years. In 2011, 30% of all children (9,000+) were living in child poverty. The 2010 Indices of Deprivation ranked Blackpool as the 6th most deprived local authority in the country and almost one third of small areas within the town are amongst the 10% most deprived areas nationally.

Key economic challenges

  • High levels of child poverty and deprivation
  • Low employment rate
  • High levels of ill health and disability
  • High numbers of benefits claimants
  • Low levels of skills and qualifications
  • Few skilled job opportunities and public sector job cuts

Key infrastructure projects

  • Deliver the tramway extension to Blackpool North
  • Improved access to town through three “green corridors”,
  • improving our environment
  • New Business District — more professionals working in the town centre
  • Deliver the new Energy College
  • Sea defence works

Key employment projects

  • Expand apprenticeship schemes
  • Enterprise education at schools
  • Specialist jobs schemes for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in the town
  • Promotion and delivery of the living wage

Key enterprise projects

  • Enterprise Zone at Blackpool Airport
  • Business start-up support
  • Increase across the Public Sector
  • in the use of local contractors
  • Business Champions — mentoring

Key housing projects

  • Reduce transience and stabilise communities by supporting quality public and private homes
  • Establish a big new private sector landlord
  • Deliver a home energy efficiency scheme
  • Lobby for benefits changes to reduce number of HMO’s
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