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Housing, populations and services

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  1. Introduction

  2. Key facts and figures

  3. Housing background

  4. Populations in Blackpool

    1. Homelessness/temporary accommodation
    2. Travelling communities and people living in park homes
    3. Transient children
    4. Our children
    5. Unemployed in deprived neighbourhoods
  5. Mortgage/landlord repossessions

  6. Current services

    1. Blackpool Coastal Housing (BCH)
    2. Housing Options team
    3. Care & Repair
    4. Specialist supported housing
    5. Housing Strategy team
  7. Future need
  8. Local and national strategies

  9. Recommendations


Understanding the housing and property landscape in Blackpool is key for many services. It can guide planning and development for many areas, including future housing, local services, transport, public health, and education/school demand. The recent census has produced a range of housing-related data for Blackpool, which alongside the housing and health page provides useful insight.

Access to decent and secure homes can have a positive impact on communities and areas. Housing is one of the wider determinants of health, and it is accepted that good housing conditions directly promote better health in occupants. Poor housing has an adverse effect on physical and mental health for both adults and children.

 High-quality housing will help to attract higher-income earning households to underpin the local economy, which can have far-reaching impacts. It is also a key component of any sustainable and healthy community. Stability within local communities associated with well-designed neighbourhoods and an appropriate balance of house types and tenures, promotes wellbeing. Conversely, poor housing contributes to issues such as increased crime and disorder and deprivation.

The housing stock and associated neighbourhood environments in Blackpool vary, and are particularly poor in inner Blackpool (namely Bloomfield, Brunswick, Claremont, Talbot, Tyldesley, Victoria, Warbreck and Waterloo wards). This reflects the town's economic fortunes over the last 150 years, with a decline in stays in traditional guest houses since the 1970s. This surplus accommodation has been converted to poor-quality privately rented flats across much of inner Blackpool. It allows people from across the country, who are economically inactive, easy access to a cheap home which creates concentrations of deprivation, which fail to meet residents' needs and aspirations. This also leads to higher levels of transience and homelessness, which all contribute to the burden of poor health.

The council and partners have been addressing these issues for a number of years, and significant progress has been made in planning major changes to the housing stock, particularly in inner Blackpool and on deprived council-owned housing estates, but inevitably there remains much more to be done to turn around long-established issues. The Blackpool Town Prospectus (2024-2030) aims to build on these improvements. 

Key facts and figures

    • There are nearly 65,000 households in Blackpool
    • The average household size is 2.1 people (England 2.4)
    • Almost two-fifths of households (38.0%) are made up of one person (Eng 30.1%).
    • House prices remain lower than England and surrounding areas on the Fylde Coast
    • 31.8% of households are in the private rented sector (Eng 20.5%)
    • Almost half of empty properties are in inner Blackpool

Housing background

This section looks in more detail at Blackpool's housing profile with a range of data and intelligence from different sources, including the Census 2021. Blackpool’s unbalanced housing market is characterised by an oversupply of poor quality one-person accommodation and limited choice of family housing and this is reflected in the area’s property prices. House prices in Blackpool increased by 2.6% (for all property types) between June 2022 and June 2023, to an average of £134,882. This compares to the England increase of 1.9% and the average house price of £306,447.1

House prices in Blackpool are lower than those in surrounding areas, with the exception of Fleetwood. Table 1 shows the median house prices of selected parts of Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre (June 2023).

Table 1: house prices across the Fylde Coast, June 2023
Area Median price
 Inner Blackpool  £109,000
 Fleetwood  £127,000
 Rest of Blackpool  £137,000
 Fylde Coast (whole area)  £140,000
 Thornton Cleveleys  £165,000
 Poulton-le-Fylde and Carleton  £189,975
 Kirkham/Wesham/Freckleton/Warton  £194,000
 Lytham and St Anne's  £230,000
 Garstang and Catterall  £250,000
Source: HM Land Registry

These figures include detached, semi-detached, terraced, and flats/maisonettes/apartments. Median house prices returns the middle value of a range of ranked values and will exclude outliers at either end of the price scale. 

 The table below shows the annual income needed to own or rent a one- or two-bedroom property in Blackpool.

Table 2: income required to rent or buy a one- or two-bedroom home, 2019  

Source: Housing Affordability Report, 2019
*Housing Benefit support is now primarily covered by Universal Credit

More people rent than own their home or have a mortgage in Blackpool. This is due in part to the low wage profile and job insecurity, making it difficult to get a mortgage. Having poor credit, other debts, or being unable to save for a deposit also makes home ownership difficult. The cost of living crisis will further prevent home ownership for some people. 

The proportion of households renting privately in Blackpool (31.8%) is much higher than the England average (20.5%), with the highest proportion in inner Blackpool (45.1%). The proportion of tenants in social rented properties (10.3%) is low compared to England (17.1%). The table below shows the actual increases and decreases in numbers across the different tenures. 

Table 3: housing tenure and change in housing tenure in Blackpool 2021 

Area Owns outrightMortgage/loan or shared ownershipPrivate rentedSocial rented
Inner Blackpool 24.3% 21.7% 45.1% 8.9%
Rest of Blackpool 35.9% 29.3% 23.4% 11.3%
Blackpool 31.4% 26.1% 31.8% 10.3%
England 32.5% 29.8% 20.5% 17.1%
Change in tenure 2011 to 2021
Inner Blackpool 335 -1,025 1,077 -49
Rest of Blackpool 717 -2,226 2,064 -231
Blackpool 1,052 -3,251 3,141 -280
 Source:  Census, 2021

The image below shows the breakdown of housing stock in Blackpool. Inner Blackpool has the highest proportion of terraced properties and flats/apartments compared to the rest of Blackpool, Blackpool as a whole, and England. There are lower numbers of detached properties in Blackpool compared to surrounding areas of the Fylde Coast. There are also many empty properties in Blackpool (excluding second homes) with 7,635 recorded in the Census 2021. Of these, 5,055 are in inner Blackpool. These numbers reflect the high vacancy rates and transience in the private rented sector. 

Table 4: housing stock in Blackpool, 2021

 Source:  Census, 2021

Understanding the make-up of our households is important for service planning and the population page presents the household size and composition, with comparisons to the North West and England. The table below shows the household composition by ward. 

Table 5: ward-level household composition %, 2021*
Ward One person household Single family Other households 
 Anchorsholme  41.4 55.1  3.5 
 Bispham  38.4 56.3  5.4 
 Bloomfield  44.6 46.4  8.8 
Brunswick 36.6 55.6 7.8
Claremont 50.7 41.6 7.6
Clifton 37.5 57.5 5.0
Greenlands 33.0 62.7 4.3
Hawes Side 33.0 61.3 5.6
Highfield 34.4 60.7 4.8
Ingthorpe 41.2 55.3 3.4
Layton 34.1 60.3 5.6
Marton 31.6 63.8 4.6
Norbreck 30.6 65.0 4.4
Park 37.0 57.0 5.8
Squires Gate 34.2 60.9 5.0
Stanley 34.8 60.5 4.8
Talbot 49.2 42.2 8.7
Tyldesley 35.0 57.9 7.2
Victoria 35.6 56.8 7.7
Warbreck 35.9 56.1 7.9
Waterloo 43.4 49.7 6.9
Source: Census 2021
*ONS make minor adjustments to values for reasons of statistical disclosure. The ward figures may be imprecise, so they should be considered only as a guide to the real values, although the percentages shown are considered. 

Looking at household deprivation the Census 2021 produced estimates that classify households by four dimensions. These are: education, employment, health and disability, and housing. Households in inner Blackpool are more likely to be deprived in two, three or four dimensions, compared to the rest of Blackpool, and Blackpool overall. 

The total number of households in receipt of Housing Benefit (HB) in Blackpool as of May 2023 was 8,515. This has reduced greatly since the introduction of Universal Credit, which incorporates an element to cover rent for the majority of claimants. Blackpool Council provides HB for a limited number of people: pensioners, and people living in a hostel, refuge, sheltered housing or a supported living complex.

At ward level, Claremont (10.2%, 870 claimants), Bloomfield (8.9%, 754), Park (7.3%, 624) and Ingthorpe (6.5%, 557) have the highest count. The table below gives the full breakdown of HB claimants by ward.

Table 6: HB claimant counts by ward, May 2023

 Source: Stat-Xplore, 2023

Populations in Blackpool

This section looks at specific populations in Blackpool who may be affected by housing-related issues. The housing and health page has more information on the health effects of poor/inadequate housing.

Homelessness/temporary accommodation

The council has a statutory duty to assess homelessness and provide emergency accommodation to those thought to be in priority need, including whilst the assessment is undertaken. The Housing Options team work closely with tenants and partner agents to ensure cases are dealt with efficiently and suitable accommodation is found.

Outreach work to find and help rough sleepers is also coordinated by the Housing Options team. Working with partner agencies and enforcement teams within the council, it helps people with multiple and complex needs get the support they need.

Around 2,500 households each year approach the Housing Options service in Blackpool for advice. In the financial year 2022/23, 1,736 households were assessed, with 925 found to be homeless (relief duty owed).2 The levels of homelessness have remained consistent over the last few years, and reflect social issues, chaotic lifestyles, and high turnover in the private rented sector, more than a lack of accessible housing. All homeless households with a local connection are assisted to either prevent homelessness or find suitable alternative accommodation. There are increasing provisions for on-going support and signposting into other services.

Those thought to be in priority need are placed in temporary accommodation hostels managed by Blackpool Coastal Housing (BCH) with a total capacity for around 30 households. This accommodation has often been occupied at or close to capacity.  Further information on the services provided by the Housing Options team are outlined below.

The number of rough sleepers in Blackpool tends to range between 10 and 15 individuals, usually rising in summer. Rough sleepers often have multiple and complex needs and are at very high risk of serious health issues. For the impacts of homelessness and rough sleeping on health, please see the housing and health page. 

Travelling communities and people living in park homes

The accommodation requirements of some of the travelling community will give rise to similar types of housing need as other groups, but in a different context, for example:

Caravan dwelling households:

  • who have no authorised site anywhere on which to reside;
  • whose existing site accommodation is overcrowded or unsuitable, but who are unable to obtain larger or more suitable accommodation;
  • who contain suppressed households who are unable to set up separate family units and who are unable to access a place on an authorised site, or obtain or afford land to develop one.

For those who are in bricks and mortar dwelling households their existing accommodation may be overcrowded or unsuitable ('unsuitable' in this context can include a psychological aversion to bricks and mortar accommodation).

A permanent site containing 26 pitches is provided by Blackpool Council for a stable travelling community within Blackpool which is managed by BCH. The site offers refurbished bathroom and kitchen blocks for each pitch allowing travellers to pitch up their static caravans.

Additional private sites include Parkway Stables (2 pitches), Kinross (11 pitches), Applewood (2 pitches), Holmefield (2 pitches) and School Road (1 pitch). The council is required through its core strategy to identify further potential sites to meet needs and the Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling Showpeople paper (2019) identified the need for five additional pitches for gypsies/travellers and five additional pitches for travelling showpeople in Blackpool (2016 - 2031).

There are also approximately a further 120 park home households spread across four residential parks in Blackpool. Key characteristic of the park home sector is the age profile of its residents, with the majority of park homes occupied by older people. The characteristics of the park home sector suggests that a high proportion of residents are vulnerable with regard to their health status, and this factor reinforces the need for a regulatory regime for park homes that can afford greater protection for these households through the activities of statutory agencies.3

Transient children

Residential mobility (transience) can be a pathway for increased earnings, educational opportunities and standards of living. However, families may be mobile not because they are attracted by opportunities elsewhere but because they are moving away from their current situation. Transient families and high levels of residential mobility can destabilise communities, reduce community attachment, and threaten the service infrastructure of communities as well as contributing to poor social and economic outcomes for individuals and families.

Transience is therefore likely to be a problem for children who move for negative reasons, such as family disruption or economic stress. Frequent residential and school mobility has a negative effect on early educational attainment, with school moves having the greatest effect.4 Children experiencing frequent mobility are disadvantaged and at risk of lower educational attainment. Across Blackpool approximately 15% of children transfer between schools each year with mobility at school level ranging from <5% to 37%. In 2014/15 2,668 Blackpool children changed schools.5

Increased childhood residential moves are also associated with elevated poor overall health, psychological distress and poor health behaviours in late adolescence and adulthood. The elevated risk of poor health in late adolescence remains into adulthood for those moving in childhood, even after adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics and school mobility.6

Our children

In Blackpool, all children who are looked after are referred to as 'our children'. All local authorities have a statutory duty under the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 to ensure that all eligible and relevant care leavers are placed in suitable accommodation when leaving care. In addition, older care leavers may be classed as being in 'priority need' under homelessness legislation. The most recent figures for Blackpool show that 95% of Blackpool's care leavers were in suitable accommodation compared to 88% in England (December 2023).

Unemployed in deprived neighbourhoods of private rented and social housing

The Census 2021 provides a breakdown of wards by socioeconomic classification, which includes ‘never worked and long-term unemployed’ (NS-SEC 14). The chart below shows the wards with the highest proportions (aged 16+) of this classification. These are primarily concentrated within inner Blackpool.

Chart 1: ward population classed as NS-SEC 14, 2021

Source: Census 2021  

A majority of social housing (and private rental properties) are located within deprived areas of Blackpool. The geodemographic section of the population page provides further details around the housing types in Blackpool, including the most prevalent by proportion/count.

Letting practices aimed at the provision of social housing for those in greatest need have had the effect of deterring low-paid economically active potential customers considering social housing as an option regardless of their needs or vulnerabilities. This has exacerbated the concentration of deprivation in areas of council estates.

Multi-agency and preventative working has had an impact on the council's housing estates with some modest improvements in health inequalities. Despite this, deprivation remains stubbornly high due to the lack of economic activity. High quality employment is scarce in Blackpool leading to a lack of aspiration in the population generally and in children and young people particularly. Many young people who achieve academic success leave the community for quality employment elsewhere.

Blackpool Council’s ‘Creating a better Blackpool’ plan, alongside other developments and regeneration schemes, may help contribute to improving housing and other wider determinants of health. 

Mortgage/landlord repossessions

The number of repossessions in the period 2018 to 2022 was 124, with only 22 in 2020 and 2021 (due to reduced court activity from the COVID-19 pandemic). This is down from 332 in the previous five-year period 2013 to 2017.

The court activity of landlords show there has been a rise in the number of landlord repossessions (321) over the five years 2018 to 2022 (despite the reduced court activity) compared to 308 for the period 2013 to 2017.

All possession actions by both landlords and mortgage providers have reduced significantly following the pandemic and the passing of the Coronavirus Act in March 2020. The cost of living crisis may have an impact on both mortgage and landlord repossessions going forward. 

Current services

Blackpool Coastal Housing (BCH)

Social housing providers are in a prime position to support tenants with complex needs and to help address their chaotic lifestyles, increase aspiration and remove the barriers to training, education, volunteering or work opportunities. BCH's role continues to develop and tackle these issues in partnership with other agencies. Customer satisfaction with the service offered by BCH has risen significantly as the quality of the service and home improvements increased. 

Housing Options team

The team responds to housing needs of people living in Blackpool. As well as delivering the council's statutory duties under the homelessness legislation, the team works with vulnerable individuals to stop them from becoming homeless, including helping them find alternative accommodation before they lose their current home.

Much of the work around prevention is non-statutory, but is seen as critical to reducing the harm of homelessness and the greater costs of crisis response. Most of this work is in response to people contacting the council directly, but the team also identify issues from applications for social housing, and referrals from the transience team's outreach work in inner Blackpool. The service also links into other services and multi-agency forums that deal with high-risk cases.

The most common activities are negotiating with landlords to prevent evictions, accessing debt advice and emergency financial help, and helping individuals find their own alternative accommodation. The team liaises with the probation services and Shelter in local prisons, and has a link worker based at Blackpool Victoria Hospital. A specialist mediation officer negotiates with parents and relatives of 16- and 17-year-olds to prevent homelessness.

The Housing Options team has worked with adult learning to establish a three-part tenant training course called ‘Key to Your Door’. Clients and people referred in from other services are taken through the rights and responsibilities of a tenant, along with employment aspirations and healthy lifestyles. It is intended to equip people to keep their tenancies and to demonstrate to landlords their commitment to acting responsibly.

Blackpool Council’s lettings team is within the Blackpool Housing Company, but is funded by Housing Options to find approved good-quality private rented accommodation for residents with a full local connection, underwritten with a rent deposit, and some tenancy support.

An externally commissioned tenancy sustainment service (Calico) is used to work with people who are at risk of losing their tenancy and need some ongoing support to get on top of things. This is accessed through Housing Options and commissioned by social services as part of their housing-related support budget.

The council operates a local connection policy for the services that it provides and commissions. Providing housing advice is a statutory function, but active assistance with finding and maintaining housing in Blackpool is only available to people who have been in the town normally for three years, but at least for six months. If someone is new to the town, the focus is on re-establishing connections back to suitable accommodation in their home town.

Statutory duties are limited to providing housing advice, determining homelessness applications within a statutory framework, providing temporary accommodation to those in priority need and providing long-term housing to this group. Much of the work of the Housing Options team is concerned with helping people find a home if they are homeless or in housing need and have a local connection of three years residence, close family in the town for five years, or employment here. 

Residents presenting to the team are assisted with access to social housing and private rented housing, but also by referring into and tracking progress through the hostel accommodation commissioned by social services.

Care & Repair

Blackpool's home improvement agency - Care & Repair - part of the BCH service provides an assortment of services whose aim is to maintain the independence of the most vulnerable residents within the area. These include:

    • Adaptations - referrals are received from occupational therapists for all adaptation requirements for residents living in housing association, social housing, private rented and owner-occupier properties. Applications are processed for disabled facilities grants for adaptations such as level access showers, stairlifts, ramps and other pieces of mechanical equipment.
    • Home safety inspections in properties of the over-60s and under-60 (if a disabled resident), to provide additional security measures and maintain fall prevention. Some measures include the installation of grab rails, bannister rails, extra locks, safety chains and smoke alarms. As trusted assessors, assessments can be undertaken and equipment provided to maintain safety of the individual and help them with their daily living needs.
    • The ‘handyperson service’ provides, for a small charge, small pieces of work such as joinery, flat pack erection, power washing etc, and undertakes the equipment service work.
    • Community equipment services - working closely with the NHS and Blackpool health professionals, in particular, occupational therapists (OTs) to assess and provide specialist equipment to adults and children to live at home, maintain independence. These assessments and interventions significantly reduce hospital admissions.

The table below shows the past three years’ demand for adaptations. 

Table 7:  Care & Repair adaptation service to 2022/23
 Year Referrals received Adaptations completedCost of adaptations 
 2020/21  482  194  £1,110,059
 2021/22  622  401  £2,297,001
 2022/23  703  413  £2,297,056
Source: Care and Repair adaptation service data

 Specialist supported housing

BCH also manages the largest proportion of sheltered accommodation in the town, with around 791 properties designated sheltered. The majority of this accommodation is let to tenants who are over 55-years of age. The last 'Survey of Tenants and Residents' (STAR) of sheltered housing customers in 2013 identified that just under 11% of customers who responded were under 55 with over 86% of customers stating they have some form of vulnerability. Whilst some BCH managed sheltered schemes are exclusively let to sheltered tenants the majority are situated adjacent to or are in blocks of flats beneath general needs housing.

Other social housing providers offer sheltered housing services in Blackpool. Great Places Housing Group have three supported housing schemes in Blackpool. They include Windmill House, Douglas Leatham House and St George's Court. These schemes consist of self-contained flats and are available for residents age 55+ with low/medium levels of support needs. Great Places also owns and manages the two flagship extra care schemes for older people: Elk View Court at Bispham and Tulloch Court at Marton.

Jobs, Friends and Houses (JFH) supports, empowers and employs people in recovery from addiction, or have experienced offending, homelessness, mental health problems, long-term unemployment or family breakdown.  Jobs, Friends and Houses have recovery homes in Blackpool to support people in taking the next step in their recovery journey.

The homes offer supportive and safe accommodation for individuals who have achieved abstinence but are seeking additional help to take the next step in their recovery journey. JFH's experienced recovery team will also work with and support residents.

Streetlife is a charity working with vulnerable young people in Blackpool. They provide advice, support, information and counselling for young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Streetlife has its own night shelter accommodation for young people who need a roof over their heads. Their dedicated staff team and volunteers also provide advice for young people who have drug, alcohol or mental health issues.

Blackpool Council's social services commissioning team has commissioned a range of hostel accommodation which is provided by Bay Housing Association, Caritas, the Ashley Foundation and Places for People.

Housing strategy team

Blackpool's housing strategy team directs, supports and funds a range of initiatives aimed at improving the housing stock so that vulnerable, low income and disabled residents in Blackpool are able to live in their own home in comfort and warmth. These initiatives include a Lancashire-wide energy efficiency scheme - Cosy Homes in Lancashire(CHiL) - as well as specific insulation projects in Blackpool for homes that are referred to as 'hard to treat' of which there has been approximately 8,000 identified.

The housing strategy team work in close cooperation with Care & Repair to deliver a wide range of measures aimed at keeping vulnerable residents warm and well in their own homes for as long as possible (see above).

The team also lead on the transience programme which supports Blackpool Council in addressing the challenges associated with a transient lifestyle. The programme supports the implementation of the discretionary licensing schemes introduced by the council within the most deprived areas of Blackpool to help address poor property conditions. With a person-centred approach the programme supports vulnerable people into healthy, sustainable lifestyles. The programme aims to develop resilient neighbourhoods that foster personal responsibility and reduce dependence on public sector services. It is a comprehensive, multi-agency approach where vulnerable residents are encouraged to access a wide range of support, ranging from simple low-level brief interventions and motivational interviewing, through to referrals to other agencies to address multiple and complex needs.

Future need

Blackpool's population is predicted to remain at current overall numbers, but the total number of households will increase slightly as the average household gets smaller. This means that more new homes are required - the Blackpool Council Core Strategy 2016 set the annual requirement for new housing at 280 additional homes each year for the next 15 years. A new local plan to 2042 is currently being prepared, which will set out a vision and policy framework, including housing requirements. The Fylde Coast Strategic Housing Market Assessment (2014) included a housing needs assessment which suggested that an additional 267 households each year will not be meet housing needs without public assistance. This means that we continue to need more new affordable homes, as well as continuing to meet needs for accessible and affordable housing in the private rented sector. However, homelessness in Blackpool is likely to continue to be strongly linked to social issues and deprivation, including the cost of living crisis, as well as government policies on the availability of welfare benefits, rather than the housing supply and access to affordable homes.

The key challenge remains to improve the quality of much of the housing stock in Blackpool, and the safety and attractiveness of many residential neighbourhoods. As the population on average becomes older, and most older people in Blackpool remain on low incomes, the demand for adaptations and improvements within the existing housing stock is likely to continue to rise.

Local and national strategies

The Blackpool Town Prospectus (2024-2030) identifies nine 'principal asks' to build on improvements to the town. These include housing, health, employment and education, economic growth, transport and sustainability. 

The Fylde Coast Strategic Housing Market Assessment 2014 forms part of the evidence base of housing need and demand across the Fylde Coast over the next fifteen years and beyond.

The Fylde Coast Authorities Gypsy and Traveller and Travelling Showpeople Accommodation Assessment (2014) and the Gypsy, Traveller & Travelling Showpeople paper (2019) provides an understanding of the likely permanent and transit accommodation needs of Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Show people within Blackpool as a whole, and for each of the three participating authorities.

The Renters (Reform) Bill is expected to become law in October 2024, aiming to improve both renter and landlord experiences in the social and private rented sectors. Linked with this is the Decent Homes Standard, which sets out requirements for rented propertie, as an estimated 25% of homes across England do not meet basic standards.


 Please see the housing and health page for recommendations around fuel poverty and energy efficiency.

[1] Land Registry, June 2023

[2] GOV.UK. Tables on homelessness - initial assessments of statutory homelessness duties owed, 2022-23

[3] House of Commons Library, research briefing - mobile (park) homes, September 2023

[4] Hutchings HA, et al. (2013) Do children who move home and school frequently have poorer educational outcomes in their early years at school? An anonymised cohort study. PLoS ONE 8(8)

[5] Blackpool Council, School Mobility summary, 2014/15

[6] Brown, D et al (2012), 'Childhood Residential Mobility and Health in Late Adolescence and Adulthood: Findings from the West of Scotland Twenty-07 Study' Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, vol 66, no. 10, pp. 942-950