COUNCIL leaders today spoke of their excitement at the completion of Blackpool’s new tram tracks – and say it will be business as usual by Easter.
Blackpool Council deputy leader, Fred Jackson said the pain of the delays and inconvenience caused by all the work will be worth it.
He added: “I know it has been a long time coming and it has caused problems for people, especially in Fleetwood and Cleveleys.
“I really would like to applaud people who have shown so much patience with regard to the delays we have faced due to unfortunate circumstances.
“As a town we are proud of our tram heritage and I am very excited about giving residents and visitors a quicker, smoother, quieter and more reliable service.
“It couldn’t have come at a better time, around 200,000 people will descend on the coast for the Open and of course the Illuminations celebrate 100 years.
“Visitors will see a real transformation this year with Merlin and of course the Promenade which has also been along time coming.”
The completion of the Prom works, including the tram tracks, will be followed by the start of work on the new Central Business District, including a flagship Sainsbury’s store office space.
As The Gazette revealed, yesterday, the return of the trams comes as there are exciting plans for the revamp of The Tower’s frontage.
But it will not all be good news for the council as 2012 also brings a further £10m of town hall cuts although the Labour party has vowed to protect public services.
Coun Jackson added: “We are still working out the final figure but we want to ensure public services for residents are continued.
“That means clean streets, improved roads and it is essential we protect our vulnerable people as there are a lot of vulnerable people in the town.
“Overall I believe it will be the most challenging and exciting time in the history of Blackpool, a town in which we should be proud.”
Blackpool Council cabinet member for tourism Coun Graham Cain added: “We’ve had a bumper year this year and I think next year it’s a case of getting people to come and look at everything we’ve got now.
“We’re looking forward to the first wedding at Festival House on January 12 and we’re hoping that will bring people in.
“And the biggest one for me – and I’m already well under way with plans – is the centenary of the Illuminations. We acknowledge there have been problems this year but next year we’re going all out to make it something spectacular.”