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Blackpool Council is preparing to use compulsory purchase powers to secure land for a £300m entertainment complex.
It means land and property owners within the boundaries of land earmarked for the ‘Blackpool Central’ project can expect to be forced to sell up so redevelopment can start soon.
The main tenant of the redeveloped site will be the Chariots of the Gods Entertainment Park – an indoor theme and adventure park inspired by books from the 1960s and 70s by Swiss author Erich von Däniken.
The books explore a theory that alien visitations inspired ancient civilisations.
The entertainment complex will be ‘based upon unsolved mysteries of the past, such as the pyramids of Egypt and Mexico, ancient cave drawings, the monuments of Easter Island and alien visitors’, Blackpool Council says.
It will also feature the UK’s first ‘Flying Theatre’, a ride which aims to recreate the feeling of ‘human flight’.
The council has signed an exclusivity agreement with developer Nikal and Media Invest Entertainment, who own the rights to von Däniken’s work, to redevelop a 17-acre site off Central Drive.
The development will also include flats, two hotels and a car park.
The council has said it is ‘working closely with both parties to help ‘unlock’ this development opportunity which is envisaged to be delivered over several phases over an eight to nine-year period’.
The land within the proposed compulsory purchase site is bounded by New Bonny Street to the North and Chapel Street to the South. At the east of the site is Central Drive and to the West is Bonny Street.
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Phase one of the development is expected to feature an indoor adventure sports centre, the flying theatre, arcades, laser tag, bumper cars, a virtual reality experience, an exhibition exploring theories that aliens influenced ancient civilisations and an alien-themed diner, as well as a hotel and an events square.
Residential property, food and drinks outlets, another hotel and car parking is expected to follow.
Blackpool Council said of the compulsory purchase plan: “To date, it has not been possible to acquire all these interests and the council is satisfied that there is a compelling cases in the public interest for resorting to powers of compulsory acquisition.
“Otherwise the comprehensive redevelopment will not be able to be completed within a reasonable time frame.”
The local authority is understood to be in negotiations with firms including BT, who have an interest in the land. Much of it is taken up by a car park, but there is also a pub, shops and a former cinema within the boundaries.
It is estimated that the development will draw in 600,000 additional visitors a year with a combined annual spend of £75 million, creating 1,000 jobs.
The project will also see Blackpool Magistrates’ Court move to the site of the former Devonshire Road Hospital.
Last year, a report to the council’s executive said: “The ability to develop out the whole site and complete the master plan presented by the developers cannot be understated with its transformational benefits bringing about greater opportunities for visitor attractions, local employment and supply chain spend and general economic growth across the resort.”
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This content was originally published here.