Page last updated at 15:47 GMT, Thursday, 3 December 2009

Resort bosses in bid to buy tower

Blackpool Tower
The tower was built in 1894

Blackpool Council is making a bid to buy two of its most famous landmarks.

It is hoping to secure Blackpool Tower and the Winter Gardens venue for between £30m and £40m.

They are both currently run by the firm Leisure Parcs, with Lancashire-based business tycoon Trevor Hemmings the majority shareholder.

The council wants to buy them because if they are owned by the public sector it is easier to get funding to develop the attractions.

The plans are being put forward on the condition the council can get money from the European Regional Development Fund.

The deal also includes The Golden Mile Centre and Louis Tussauds waxworks museum.

They are two of Blackpool's best assets and a highly significant part of our history that we must build on to secure our future.
Councillor Peter Callow
Blackpool Council

Blackpool has seen a drop in visitor number since its heyday in the 1940s and 50s.

A report by Sir Howard Bernstein on how to breath new life into Blackpool looked at ways of attracting new investment money.

It concluded that finding a private investor to put their own money in would be difficult.

Councillor Peter Callow, leader of Blackpool Council, said: "For a long time there have been questions asked of us as to what we can do to help the Winter Gardens and Tower and bring them in line with other regeneration activity in the town.

"They are two of Blackpool's best assets and a highly significant part of our history that we must build on to secure our future.

"This is still at the very early stage of the process and there is a great deal of work that needs to be done to secure the funding but what it does show is the council's ambition for Blackpool's future."

'Favourable' offer

A decision will be made on the funding in the New Year.

A statement from Leisure Parcs confirmed an approach on behalf of Blackpool Borough Council had been made.

It said: "At this early stage, Leisure Parcs confirms that it is considering the approach in a favourable manner.

"If the funds cannot be secured by the end of March 2010 the transaction will to be able to proceed."

Blackpool Tower was built in 1894 and was modelled on the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

The Winter Gardens is hosting the Royal Variety Performance on Monday.



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