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International shortlist released in Blackpool's people's playground competition

London 2012 Olympics masterplanner EDAW has been named on a seven-strong shortlist in the international competition to design a new 'people's playground' along Blackpool's Central Promenade.

The practice is joined on the shortlist by Dutch firm NIO Architecten, FAT, London-based Fluid Design, Exeter's LDA Design, Studio Baad and commercial big-hitter Gensler - which is already working on proposals for a super-casino in the North West seaside resort.

The practices have been asked by the resort's urban regeneration company ReBlackpool to come up with ideas for what should go on six new seafront headlands, currently under construction.

Backed by Blackpool Council, it is hoped the project will transform 3.2km of the resort's coastline into a 'year-round urban park where local residents can mix with visitors and 'create a mythical playground for children and adults that has universal appeal'.

Speaking at the launch of the contest in September, ReBlackpool chief executive Doug Garrett said: 'This is a once-in-100-years opportunity for the people of Blackpool to show that they have the will and the imagination to transform the seafront and create a 21st-century visitor experience.'

The £21 million project has already been handed a £250,000 development grant by the Big Lottery Fund's Living Landmarks committee.

Now each of the shortlisted finalists will be invited to submit concept proposals for all six headlands, including a more detailed proposal for a headland of their choice. These firms will receive an honorarium of Eu10,000 (£6,800).

by Richard Waite

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