Hopes of extending Blackpool’s tramway to the resort’s main railway station could be dashed – because council bosses may not be able to find almost £2m they must put towards the £18.2m total cost.
The council must also find £2m towards a bid for a museum in the Winter Gardens, and council leader Coun Simon Blackburn has warned it will be tough to fund both schemes.
He told a meeting of the council: “It all depends on whether or not we can find the £2m that we will have to put into the bid monies in order to make this happen.
“And if you think that were we to be successful with the HLF (Heritage Lottery Fund) bid for the museum, we would be looking at a contribution of £2m over the period of the museum being developed.
“If we find £2m, and I’m not sure we have it, would we spend it on the tramway or the museum, are we likely to be able to spend it on both? Probably not.
“The second consideration is do we want to go through the palaver of digging up Talbot Road again?
“Do we want to shift all the traffic that would need to be shifted as we wouldn’t be able to have trams and cars on the same road?”
Coun Blackburn said a report on the project would go before the council’s executive in February.
He added: “It isn’t an easy decision to make.”
Transport for Lancashire, made up of representatives from Lancashire County Council, Blackpool Council, Blackburn with Darwen Council and the private sector led Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP), announced in September it had secured more than £16m towards the cost of extending the tram link up Talbot Road.
The grant is part of a £90m funding package allocated to transport improvements to the road and rail networks on the Fylde coast over the next decade.
Coun Tony Williams, leader of the Conservative group, said he believed the tramway should be the priority.
He said: “I understand the balance, but town centre transport is a priority because it brings people in.
“The museum is an important project for Blackpool but I want to look to the future not just glorify in the town’s past.
“I think the museum could be done on a smaller scale and have the same impact.”
The council wants a museum in the Pavilion Theatre at the Winter Gardens.