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Blackpool and Bradford big winners of £10m Heritage Lottery grant

Blackpool will celebrate its varied history with a museum after being awarded a £4m National Lottery Heritage Fund grant as part of a £10m package of grants for heritage-led regeneration schemes across the North.

The museum will aim to celebrate the city’s role in British popular entertainment and tell the story of the UK’s first mass seaside resort through Britain’s first permanent displays of circus, music, variety and ballroom dance.

Due to open in 2021 and be free to all Blackpool residents, Show Town will be Blackpool’s first museum and lies at the centre of Blackpool’s cultural and economic regeneration – expected to attract 296,000 visits annually and provide £13.16m of regional economic benefit.

In September, Blackpool Council confirmed the details of its major £100m project to regenerate the seaside destination’s town centre.

The local authority said it is committed to ‘focusing large-scale investment’ in a series of major schemes that will ‘breathe new life’ into the town centre over the next three years.

The projects include a £26m investment in a new, state-of-the-art conference centre next to the Winter Gardens which will open for business in August attracting visitors throughout the year.

There will also be a new £23m tram extension from the Promenade to Blackpool North Station, creating a link to the newly-electrified rail line and a new 144-bedroom, 4-star Holiday Inn and restaurant that will be sited at the North Station transport interchange on the site of the old Wilko building.

Other key heritage-led regeneration projects awarded funding include:

  • Bradford Live – just under £1m to help transform Bradford’s Odeon into a world-class commercially sustainable 4,000 capacity entertainment venue.
  • Stockton Town Centre Northern Gateway – just over £1.8m to ‘complete the jigsaw’ of heritage-led regeneration and redevelopment in the town centre.
  • The Whitaker Experience – just over £1.7m to re-imagine a key museum for Rossendale as part of its tourism and regeneration strategy.
  • Dippy on Tour – £159,000 to see the North West play host to the Natural History Museum’s most famous dinosaur.

David Renwick, Director of England, North, National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: ‘Thanks to National Lottery players these grants will see a dazzling new museum of UK entertainment for Blackpool – it’s first-ever; an iconic 1930s cinema building reimagined as a world-class entertainment venue – putting Bradford firmly on the map; and Stockton-on-Tees complete its “regeneration jigsaw”.’

‘Together, with the other awards made today, this funding gives a clear message of how heritage-led regeneration can play a key part in the future of the North. We cannot wait to see these projects in action.’

Photo credit – Pixabay.

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