Government green light for £22m tramway

Blackpool's £22m tram extension dream has been officially backed by the Government.

Thursday, 30th November 2017, 9:53 pm
Updated Thursday, 30th November 2017, 10:08 pm
Artist's impression of the new tramway on Talbot Road
Artist's impression of the new tramway on Talbot Road

The Department for Transport (DFT) tonight revealed it had approved the plan to extend the track from North Pier to North Station along Talbot Road, re-establishing a link which ceased operation in 1936.A new tram terminal will also be built on the site of the Wilko’s store, which is moving to Tower Street as part of the second phase of the Houndshill Centre.The tramway extension is being funded through the Lancashire Growth Deal with Blackpool Council contributing towards the cost.The DFT today granted the council an order under the Transport for Works Act to go ahead with the scheme, although work had already begun.It said the Secretary of State had received 14 objections, 27 expressions of support and two neutral representations, but some of the objections were later withdrawn.It also considered a 257-name petition against the scheme.Town Hall chiefs say the scheme will provide "a better service for passengers" - but some businesses and traders had objected to the scheme.Among those to oppose the scheme were Stephen Pierre, owner of the Galleon bar who was behind the petition, and Blackpool Licensed Taxi Operators Association which said the scheme would contribute to traffic problems and deemed the council's traffic analysis was "unreliable" and said they had a "poor record of congestion forecasting".One amendment to the scheme was maintaining an eight-space taxi rank on Market Street rather than reduce it to six, as originally planned.The 12-page document said the Secretary of State was "content the scheme would bring better integration of public transport services and have accessibility benefits to users, both for residents and visitors."Services to North Station could begin in April 2019.No one from Blackpool Council was available for comment last night.

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