Hawkins\Brown is behind the designs for the campus. Credit: Blackpool Council

Blackpool firms up project team for £65m Multiversity

Avison Young has been assigned as the scheme’s planning consultant, while Civic Engineers will provide structural and civil engineering consultancy services.

Blackpool Council has made key project team appointments in recent weeks in order to move the £65m Multiversity along. The higher education facility will be built in conjunction with Fylde College and offer courses on artificial intelligence, data, clean growth, and the future of mobility.

CBRE has also been appointed to the team as the project manager and cost consultant and, according to a council document, Civic Engineers will enter into a sub-contract arrangement with specialist façade consultant Fortis for the provision of the exterior design. Hydrock is the acoustic and fire engineering consultant.

Julian Broster, co-founder and chief operating officer of Civic Engineers, said: “It is fantastic to be appointed as civil and structural engineer on the design team for this transformational project.

“We’re looking forward to playing our part in delivering the high-quality design, which will enable significant regeneration and see a world class university learning experience created in the town centre.”

Designed by Hawkins\Brown and supported by Lancaster University, the scheme will see the relocation of Blackpool and Fylde College’s Park Road campus into the town centre.

Blackpool Council has received £49m state funding for the Multiversity, with £40m from the Levelling Up Fund and £9m from the Town Deal. The £9m is being used to fund the acquisition of a three-acre site close to Blackpool North train station, where the scheme will be located.

The authority has already negotiated deals to acquire properties off Cookson Street, Milbourne Street, George Street, and Charles Street to enable the redevelopment. These buildings will be demolished to make way for the campus.

The council approved the final £16m facility in March to fund the construction of the 190,000 sq ft Multiversity, with the facility expected to be open to students in September 2026.

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It’s a shame that the Council couldn’t have spent that money on improving the shopping facilities in the town centre. The town centre relies on the footfal generated from the retail trade without which it will slowly degenerate. If Blackpool is to achieve its ambition of becoming a 365 day a year resort then it needs to provide decent shopping facilities as well as tourist attractions and currently this is in need of a decent revamp. I would recommend that members of the Council acquaint themselves with locations where this has taken place, probably the nearest good example being Liverpool One. We, that is residents and visitors alike, need full, all-year-round shopping facilities, free from the effects of unseasonal weather and boasting a good and varied selection of retail outlets. Just a look above the shop fronts along Church Street is sufficent to show what a mess the centre of the town is in and there is scant protection for any shopping outside the Houndshill Centre when the weather is cylconic!

By Lance Fogg

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