Appeal to suspend roadworks rejected
Calls to suspend town centre roadworks until January have been rejected by council chiefs.
Blackpool's ruling Labour group also voted against extending free Christmas parking, saying it would cost the council Â£143,000 in lost revenue.
The calls had been made by Conservative group leader Coun Tony Williams at a meeting of the full council last night.
Parts of Dickson Road and Talbot Road including the junction with the Prom, are closed while preparation work to extend the tramway is carried out.
Coun Williams described traffic diversions as "chaotic" and said: "The Christmas season in Blackpool for many traders is a make or break situation in many cases.
"I have had traders phoning me saying they are refusing to pay their council tax, and are expecting the lowest footfall for Christmas shopping and the new year sales ever."
He added undertaking the work just before Christmas was "a stab in the back to retailers" and said "I don't care if we stop the work and start again in January, but at least give the traders a break because they are worried for their futures."
But council deputy leader Coun Gillian Campbell said the work would continue.
She told the meeting: "It is disruptive, but it will definitely be worth it.
"We are going to carry on and get this phase over and done with and further phases will be less disruptive."
A notice of motion by Coun Williams asking for an extension of free parking in all council run town centre car parks was also thrown out by the Labour group.
Coun Williams said the move would help attract more shoppers during the disruption.
His bids to extend the existing free parking offer for December 23 and 24 to weekends throughout December were rejected.
Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn said Coun Williams was basing his claims of lost trade on "conversations with retailers and high street barons".
He added Coun Williams was asking "us to give away Â£143,000 of revenue as a knee jerk reaction to something that just isn't going to happen."
The council offer is for free parking on its town centre car parks on Saturday and Sunday, December 23 and 24.
This is on top of a Â£1 parking offer on West Street, East Topping Street, Central and Talbot multi-storey car parks at the following times and dates:
From 3pm on Saturday, December 2 to coincide with the BID’s Christmas lights switch-on event at the junction of Victoria Street and Bank Hey Street;
From 5pm on Blackpool town centre late shopping nights – December 7, 14 and 21;