Fylde coast transport plan gets guarded welcome

A transport masterplan is being put together for the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre areas

A transport masterplan is being put together for the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre areas

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Business leaders across the Fylde today gave a muted welcome to a new transport masterplan for the coast.

Lancashire County Council and Blackpool Council unveiled plans to draw up a new over-arching plan for roads and rail to co-ordinate development for the next 10 years.

They want to hear the views of residents and businesses across Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre, and are to stage a series of consultations in the new year.

Among the ideas are:

Proposals for a Blackpool North Interchange to improve links between rail and tram services and provide a terminus to the tramway extension. A bid could be made for Local Growth Funding through the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership;

A study of the South Fylde line to explore potential for investment for improved rolling stock and more frequent and reliable services, plus a link to Blackpool’s tramway;

Carry out a study into improving facilities at stations on the North Fylde line;

Establish design and location options for coach facilities in Blackpool;

Develop a Fylde Coast Long Term Public Transport Strategy, to find the best ways to provide access to services in rural and remote areas.

However, Hugh Evans, from the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said the initial document had no new innovations.

He said: “Continued investment in our local transport infrastructure is vital, because it underpins economic growth and creates jobs and for those reasons we support the measures outlined in the proposals.

“However, the worthy ambitions listed in the masterplan are nothing new.

“There is also little actual detail as to how and when they will actually be delivered.

“Business has had enough of endless discussion and debate about what needs to be done and want to see a clearly defined timetable for when things will start to happen.”

Paul Foster, from the Blackpool-based Federation of Small Businesses, said: “Some of the activities are very much aspirational and long-term, however having them included in a formal plan is at least the first step towards achieving them.

“We would advise residents and businesses across the Fylde coast to take a look at the plans and offer a local insight as to whether the measures announced are the right ones.”

A Fylde Council spokesman said: “Transport is an important issue for Fylde.

“We have many commuters and also attract many visitors, so good transport is vital for the economic future of the area.

“There are a number of significant and interesting schemes in the proposals so far, and all councillors have been invited to a meeting with officers on Wednesday to decide which schemes we most want to see proceed.

“The consultation requires a response after mid-January – after councillors have considered the matter.

A public consultation will run on the masterplan from January 12 to February 20 and planning officers from both councils will be at events at:

Garstang Library January 27 from 2pm to 7pm.

St John the Evangelist Church, Blackpool on January 28 from 2pm to 7pm.

Poulton Library, January 29 from 2pm to 7pm.

Fleetwood Library, February 3 from 2pm to 6.45pm.

Kirkham Community Centre, February 4 from 12pm to 6.30pm. St Annes United Reform Church, February 11 from 2pm to 7pm.