Tourist trams win one year reprieve

The Rocket Tram in the tram depot
The Rocket Tram in the tram depot
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UNDER-THREAT heritage trams have been given a lifeline by Blackpool Council.

The trams will remain in their Rigby Road depot home for another 12 months while an alternative destination is found for them.

Coun Tony Williams

Coun Tony Williams

Blackpool Transport had told Lancastrian Transport Trust to move 13 of its trams out of the depot by the end of the month or face seeing them scrapped.

Coun Tony Williams, deputy leader of the Conservative group, proposed the motion to stop the trams from being sold off.

He had called on the council to ask the chief executive to write to Trevor Roberts, the managing director of Blackpool Transport, “to request that Lancashire Transport Trust continue to enjoy a grace and favour rent period of a further 12 months up to December 1 2012”.

At a meeting of Blackpool Council, Coun Williams said: “We see trams in Manchester and Sheffield and they are a transport system, but here they are an attraction and a link to our tourist trade.

“I’m asking you to support the heritage of Blackpool, because the threat of scrapping trams is unforgivable.

Conservative leader Coun Peter Evans added: “It would be fantastic if we could have something similar to York’s railway museum.

“It would be nice if we could support this.”

Instead, the motion was amended, but the trams will remain in the depot.

Both sides of the council spoke passionately about the importance of the trams and what they mean to the town.

Plans for a museum in Cleveleys seem to be the most likely destination for the vehicles.

Councillors voted in favour of giving the trust until the end of the calendar year to “come up with a credible plan” and show the trams can be moved into a new site.

However, Coun Simon Blackburn, leader of the council, said Blackpool Transport would allow the trams to remain in the depot for another 12 months.

He said: “I believe we are all heading in the same direction. The trams are pivotal to Blackpool’s history and Blackpool’s future.

“Providing Lancastrian Transport Trust are able to come forward with funding and are able to make the contribution of £100 a week for storage, Blackpool Transport Services will allow them to store their whole fleet, not indefinitely, but for 12 months.”

Labour councillor John Boughton added: “We need to think about our history and we need to preserve it.

“The amendment seeks to do that and at least lets all the agreements take place.”