Masterplan unveiled for Fylde coast transport

Traffic tailbacks on the M55
Traffic tailbacks on the M55
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Blackpool council is teaming up with the county council to draw up a transport masterplan for the Fylde coast.

The two authorities have unveiled a wide-ranging vision for how roads, rail, tram and cycle networks need to be transformed to boost the economy across Blackpool Wyre and Fylde, avoid gridlock on the roads and support healthy lifestyles over the coming decades.

A six-week consultation will start in January on the plan, which sets out options for major changes to highways, public transport and walking and cycling facilities.

It will be one of five Highways and Transport Masterplans to cover all 12 districts of Lancashire and will be used to make the case for multi-million pound investments needed to support future housing and business development.

It will outline travel patterns on the existing network, the key business areas which the network needs to support, set out projects already in the pipeline and identify opportunities to attract external funding for improvements from developers or the government through ‘growth deals’.

Key ideas include:

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.

Lancashire County Councillor John Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “The Fylde coast is a very diverse area and the transport network needs to support a vibrant tourism industry as well as the UK’s most significant centre for aerospace manufacturing and large firms specialising in energy and environmental technology, chemicals and polymers.

“But this success hides problems and challenges in terms of socially deprived communities who need better transport to access wider opportunities, and an aging population in rural areas who face increasing isolation.

“The future development of our highways and transport networks is therefore critical.

“This is a draft strategy for the next 15 to 20 years and we now need to know whether people agree with the priorities we’ve set out.”

Coun John Jones, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport said: “Having a joined up rail network that everybody can use will be a big boost to both residents and visitors, while better coach facilities should also give us more scope for our increasing visitor figures.

“There is something in our masterplan for everybody and I hope it will bring big benefits to drivers, as well as cyclists, pedestrians and rail users.

Public consultation will take place from January 12 to February 20, with events being held where planning officers will be available.

The Local Transport Plan can be seen at www.lancashire.gov.uk. People can respond to the consultation when the consultation begins, by email at enquiries@
lancashire.gov.uk