Tram action thrown out

Residents at the crossing site.
Residents at the crossing site.
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RESIDENTS have lost a legal challenge against Blackpool Council’s decision to close a tram crossing.

A judge has ruled there is no case to answer and awarded costs of £2,000 against applicant Neil Harrod.

He had lodged a bid for a judicial review of the town hall ruling to close the Lauderdale Avenue tram crossing in Anchorsholme on the basis the community’s best interests had not been taken into account.

More than 3,000 people had signed a petition opposing the closure.

But the judge said the closure, which went before the council’s executive five times before finally being approved in February, had been subjected to sufficient scrutiny.

Mr Harrod, of Blanford Avenue, who was one of four residents behind the judicial review application, said the fight would continue despite the cost.

He said: “I think the council has acted like bullies.

“All my neighbours and lots of other residents have expressed their support and have been very helpful in assisting me to get the court papers ready.

“I will be appealing against the costs and the action and, along with other residents who have been involved, we will be seeking further legal advice.”

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Frank Bilsborrow, of Kelso Avenue, said residents would also pursue legal action on the grounds of the loss of a right of way.

He said: “We will carry on – the feeling is as strong as ever.”

Blackpool Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn said: “This is a classic example of two local councillors using local residents in trying, and failing, to make a political point in the face of an overwhelming amount of evidence.

“We are delighted we now have a safe tram system, and the integrity of the council’s decision-making structures has been preserved.”

Coun Tony Williams, who along with fellow Anchorsholme ward councillor Paul Galley, has supported the residents’ fight, said: “I hope the fight to re-open the crossing continues and I, along with hundreds of residents, applaud the bravery and tenacity of the individuals who are determined to seek fairness from this council.”

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