Energy hub plans for airport lodged

An artist's impression of the energy college building
An artist's impression of the energy college building

Plans to make Blackpool the centre of renewable energy skills for the region have been set in motion.

Blackpool and the Fylde College has submitted planning permission to build an energy college on the site of the former international terminal at Blackpool Airport.

Darryl Platt

Darryl Platt

Fylde Council’s planing department has received the plans which would see a two storey college building constructed with 40 solar panels and 12 solar thermal water heating panels on the roof plus two 12m high wind turbines.

It would mean the demolition of the existing terminal building which has been mothballed since commercial holiday flights ended at the Squires Gate site in October 2014.

It comes as part of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership’s plan to create an enterprise zone on the site focussing on the energy sector along with aviation, food and to complement the existing zones based around the BAE Systems sites at Warton and Samlesbury.

Daryl Platt, executive director of commercial development at Blackpool and The Fylde College, said the building aimed to be as energy efficient as possible to chime with its role as a renewable energy hub.

We are very pleased to have submitted the planning permission to Fylde Council

He said consultation was ongoing with aviation authorities and council officers to ensure that the wind turbine and solar arrays did not impact on aviation in the area.

He said: “We are very pleased to have submitted the planning permission to Fylde Council.

“Our plans are for a green and renewable energy college with the potential to place Lancashire firmly at the forefront of the high-tech, highly skilled energy industry, by supporting the local employers recruit the technically skilled workforce they require.

“With Balfour Beatty’s plans for a proposed Enterprise Zone and a newly built airport terminal, it makes sense to site this centre of excellence at its heart.”

He said the idea was to make Blackpool a hub for higher skills and learning in the energy sector.

He said: “We want to serve the whole of Lancashire in this not just the Fylde Coast.”

College principal Bev Robinson said the announcement earlier this month that the airport would become an enterprise zone from next April was crucial to the college. She said: “The co-location of this innovative training facility on Blackpool’s enterprise zone, will help to encourage inward investment.”

The enterprise zone will be divided into two areas.

One will allow businesses to benefit from rate relief – the most common benefit locating a business on an Enterprise Zone brings – up to a maximum of £275,000 over a five year period for new businesses locating before May 2018. This is subject to certain qualifying criteria.

The other will allow businesses to benefit from Enhanced Capital Allowances (1) for investment in fixed plant and machinery for businesses who take occupation by March 2020.