Preparation work for tram line 'at own risk'
Underfire council chiefs have been warned advance work digging up part of Blackpool town centre for a tram link is 'entirely at their own risk.'
The junction of Talbot Square and Blackpool Promenade has been closed as part of the preparation for a Â£21m tram track extension to North Station.
A stretch of Dickson Road has also been closed for resurfacing.
In a letter to Tory councillor Tony Williams, Baroness Elizabeth Grace Sugg said the Department for Transport is still currently determing the council’s application for a Transport and Works Act order “to give the council the legal powers to construct and operate the extension.”
Baroness Sugg added: “Until a decision is made on this application any advance steps taken by Blackpool Council may take in preparation for constructing the tram extension are taken entirely at their own risk.”
But Coun Simon Blackburn, Leader of Blackpool Council, said: “The council is committed to the delivery of a 21st century transport network that better connects Blackpool to the Fylde coast for the benefit of both residents and visitors.
“Investment in our network is essential to underpin the great developments that are coming to the Town Centre, including a new conference centre and extension to Hounds Hill.
"The tramway extension is a key part of this, providing the once in a generation opportunity to unify our magnificent tramway with the new electric trains that will soon be coming into Blackpool North.
“The council is confident that it will receive a positive decision from central government on the Transport and Works Act Order, and is expecting confirmation of the decision imminently.
“By commencing the preparatory work for the tramway and other key schemes such as the conference centre now, we can minimise disruption during the 2018 season.”
Tory leader Tony Williams said: “I think the only time that Coun Blackburn should feel confident about this scheme is when the ink is dry on the approval.
"The council should listen to the people and they will hear that a majority of residents don’t want this extension and see it as a waste of Â£21m."