Call to include bus station in Gateway plans

The new tramway extension for Blackpool

The new tramway extension for Blackpool

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Calls have been made for a bus station to be included in ambitious plans for the next phase of the Talbot Gateway Central Business District.

The £7.8m second phase, revealed in Wednesday’s Gazette, is set to see Blackpool Council purchase the Wilkinson’s building to make way for the expansion of the tramway to Blackpool North train station.

It is proposed to build an interchange between train and tram travel.

The move has been welcomed but some people say the scheme should include a bus station as well.

Coun Paul Galley, who has campaigned for better transport links, said: “I think it is a really exciting step forward for Blackpool, finally we will connect our tram system with the railway system.

“Good transport links lead to economic regeneration, and the impression for anybody arriving at the station will be so much better.

“One thing I would like to see where Wilkinson’s is is a transport interchange with a bus station and facilities for taxis. This would really revitalise the area.”

Businessman Stephen Pierre, who owns The Galleon bar on Abingdon Street, said: “If there is public transport money available, I would rather it was spent on a modern purpose-built bus station.

“I think the cost of running the tramway up that short stretch of Talbot Road outweighs any advantages.

“What we really need is a bus station because at the moment all the bus stops are scattered all over the place in the town centre.”

The council will use prudential borrowing to finance the £7.8m cost of acquisition and initial development of the site.

The money will be paid back at a rate of around £375,000 per year on an annuity basis over 50 years.