Fears for trade as roads shut for tram work

The junction of Talbot Square and the Prom which will be closed

Business owners have warned Blackpool could lose out on vital trade in the run up to Christmas as town centre roads are closed for work to extend the tramway.

As revealed in The Gazette, parts of Talbot Road and Dickson Road will be shut while utility pipes are relocated to make way for new track.

The junction of Talbot Square and the Prom will be closed

Talbot Square will be closed at its junction with the Promenade for six weeks from November 13, meaning drivers will be diverted around the town via Cookson Street and Grosvenor Street.

A stretch of Dickson Road will be closed for resurfacing.

Warwick Tunnicliffe, who owns Warwick’s Amusements, which has two outlets in the town centre, said: “People who don’t have to come into Blackpool for their Christmas shopping will have many other options such as the Trafford Centre, Manchester or Preston.

“So this is hard medicine to swallow when lots of businesses are already suffering.

“I am all for progress, but whether the benefits of the tramway extension will be worth the disruption and cost remains to be seen.”

Mick Sugden, of Ma Kelly’s which has a bar on the junction of Talbot Road and Dickson Road, said; “It is going to be absolutely hectic.

“I think they should have waited until after Christmas to start this work, and I hope it doesn’t stop people coming into town for their Christmas parties.”

Hoteliers also fear their pre-Christmas trade could be affected.

Dawn Bullock, of The Hayward Hotel on Dickson Road, said: “A lot of guests stop in their cars outside the hotel to drop off luggage before finding somewhere to park.

“But once the road is closed, they won’t be able to do that. A lot of our older customers will struggle.

“I understand the council is trying to make the town better, but they are hindering small, local businesses.”

Resort taxi drivers have also warned of “many months of disruption” while work is carried out, especially as it coincides with the closure of Harrow Side and Squires Gate bridges.

Work starts on Monday, and will be carried out in phases until next March.

Pipes need to be moved from beneath Talbot Road ahead of the new track being laid to link North Pier with North Station.

The junction of Talbot Square and the Prom will be closed for six weeks from November 13

The tramway is being extended up Talbot Road

Council chiefs say the work will benefit the town’s economy in the long run.

Coun Fred Jackson, cabinet member for highways, says the work is being done in stages “to try and reduce any inconvenience for road users.”

He added the investment was “helping us to create a better town centre, including better roads and transport”.

Coun Jackson apologised for disruption and thanked “residents and commuters in advance for their patience.”

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