A chippy owner has realised her dream of buying a leisure complex on Blackpool’s promenade as work starts on the town’s £300m leisure regeneration scheme.
Gayna Sedgwick-Ruddigan, 45, has leased the chip shop and other linked businesses on the famous Golden Mile for the past seven years but always had her heart set on owning it.
She was able to buy the large property which neighbours the Blackpool Central development site - the biggest single investment in the town for more than a century - thanks to a £1.59m commercial mortgage from specialist lender Together.
The finance will save her more than £180,000 a year in rent – meaning she can press ahead with major expansion plans which include renovating the top floor of the complex in a bid to attract well-known leisure brands to the town.
The entertainment venue, opposite the iconic Central Pier, also includes a licensed pub, photo studio, ice cream stand and a shopping court selling Blackpool’s popular souvenir rock.
She said: “I’m proud to own a chunk of Blackpool’s Golden Mile – to me, it’s like owning something in the middle of London’s Oxford Street.
“It’s a crucial time for the town – we saw almost 17million visitors last year and the improvement in attractions means people are staying here longer, to see and do more. The regeneration has been a long time coming and the Blackpool Central development site is going to boost the local economy even further.”
Known for its ‘kiss-me-quick’ culture and six mile-long illuminations light show, Blackpool is undergoing a current resurgence to revive the tourist destination.
The Blackpool Central development is set to create 1,000 jobs and bring £75million into the local economy with new attractions such as an advanced virtual reality experience among other indoor leisure businesses.
Gayna said she was hoping to tap into the latest buzz around the town.
“I live and breathe it,” she said. “I grew up here and have worked in the tourism and hospitality industry since I was nine. My family originate from the fairground and have expanded their business over 40 years, which now means they own Blackpool’s three piers – North, South and Central. We have a deep understanding of property market and know what customers want.”
Michael Street, senior internal sales executive at Together, said Gayna’s background and knowledge of the local property market were major factors in agreeing the deal.
He said: “Straightaway, we saw that Gayna has something special and comes from a family with a wealth of experience. We saw vast potential in her plans to further strengthen the site, aligned with the town’s extensive redevelopments, and we believe it will be a huge success.”