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LDA scoops Blackpool's waterfront 'People's Playground' scheme - images

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LDA Design has scooped victory in the international competition to design a new £21 million 'People's Playground' along Blackpool's Central Promenade.

The Exeter-based practice was selected to design the new waterfront 'landscape' ahead of a glittering shortlist of finalists which included London 2012 Olympics masterplanner EDAW, Dutch firm NIO Architecten and trendy upstarts FAT.

The announcement will come as yet another blow for unlucky commercial big-hitter and fellow finalist Gensler, which has now narrowly missed out on a brace of high-profile projects in the north-west seaside resort.

Last month the practice was left out in the cold after the surprise decision to hand the country's first supercasino project to Manchester, thwarting the firm's plans for a massive casino in Blackpool.

However, regeneration company and competition-organiser ReBlackpool is adamant the unexpected casino verdict will not scupper LDA's competition-winning plans to transform six new headlands along a 3.2km-long stretch of the town's ageing promenade.

ReBlackpool will now work with LDA Design and its partners Speirs and Major Associates, plus lighting artist Chris Levine and Gardiner & Theobald to finalise a submission bid for the Big Lottery's Living Landmarks Programme.

Speaking about the victory, a delighted Robert Aspland, an associate director of LDA Design, said: 'The brief for the project...called for something that would excite and amaze residents and visitors alike; the creation of a place of escape and fantasy.

'Inspired by the otherworldiness of Gulliver's travels and the strange landscapes of Japanese animated film, we have created an incredible surreal dunescape which will become a playground for all. At dusk a virtual landscape will emerge from the dunes and high above this a spectacular and unique aerial light show will be created - 'the Northern Lights'.'

by Richard Waite

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