Museum man in depot ruling blast

The former tramshed at Fleetwood which is to be turned into a museum.
The former tramshed at Fleetwood which is to be turned into a museum.
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A tram museum will go ahead, despite a decision to put a massive council depot immediately next door.

And the man behind the heritage scheme for Fleetwood has blasted councillors for their lack of assistance in making sure he can build the new attraction.

A new £1.5m council depot on Copse Road was given the green light yesterday by Wyre Council’s planning committee which saw no objection put forward to the main building on the site being less than 5ft from a Victorian tram depot where the museum will go.

John Woodman of the Friends of Fleetwood Trams said afterwards: “The lack of concern for Fleetwood’s heritage is quite remarkable.

“I think the three minutes we got to raise objections in front of the committee was something of a show trial.

“There are a lot of determined people who support our proposals for the town.

“It’s evident they are not represented in this council chamber.

“There are other Government organisations and private individuals, not to mention private groups, who are looking forward to seeing this scheme be successful.”

Mr Woodman had argued to the committee the tram depot, was a classic structure, built in 1897 and was a pre-eminent example of late-Victorian progress.

But the 25ft tall building in the council’s new yard would block sunlight from the tram depot’s large windows, he claimed.

Eight trams are being stored locally ready to go on show and offenders from Kirkham Open Prison are set to begin restoration of two of the trams.

Mr Woodman was supported by Steve Abbott of Fleetwood Car Centre, which owns the Victorian building.

Mr Abbott said the museum would bring jobs to the site.

He added that the council building should be moved to another part of the site.

He told councillors: “We can work together.

“You could move the building to the south side of the plot and everyone is happy.”

But the committee was told English Heritage did not think the building should be listed as being of historic importance.

Michael Ryan, Wyre Council director of people and places, said moving the council building had been considered, but it would restrict access.

There would be 150 people working there and there would be less space for parking.

Coun Paul Moon said the depot had been needed for many years.

He added: “This is an industrial building in an industrial area. There are many other industrial buildings around.”

Coun Ron Shewan added: “I am very pleased to see the site will come back into use.

“We need this investment for Fleetwood.”

The council wants to make an early start on the new depot which will be used for recycling and refuse vehicles.

The depot needs to be in place by April when a new contractor will take over refuse collection.