Andy Mitchell from Radio Wave - July 25, 2018

I've found myself a new pasttime in an effort to quell some of the rantings you see on social media.

Wednesday, 25th July 2018, 3:31 pm
Updated Wednesday, 25th July 2018, 3:32 pm
Tram tracks are being laid in Talbot Road, Blackpool town centre (Picture: /@TramstoLytham/Twitter)

It has become quite apparent that we could probably do much more locally to explain what’s happening in the town centre. The reason I mention this is that I randomly “took on” one keyboard warrior the other night, not for the sport, but to see if I could actually change opinion by explaining.

We had the usual rant about the tram tracks up Talbot Road. It is still apparent that, away from the die hard opposition to the scheme from those with their own well thought out point of view, there are some who believe it is just a length of tram track between the top of Talbot Road and the bottom, a bit like the old train on North Pier, just there and back.

This is where you get lines like “oh it’s just for the councillors to get from Bickerstaffe House to the Town Hall”.

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It took me a while to understand why this point of view had gained traction.

The bit that hadn’t been explained very well in the melee about talking up Talbot Road and North Station, is that it will actually join the rest of the network. We forget some people are new to the story.

I decided to take this chap’s points one at a time, thinking, maybe I’d probably get nowhere because, whilst I was aiming to answer with plain facts, I was probably up against strongly held opinions.

To my surprise, I discovered that the correspondent was crying out for the facts. He’s lived out of town for many years and had only picked up bits and pieces about what we are up to from what he’d read online in opinion pieces.

We worked through his questions and I explained how the thing is a big jigsaw puzzle with the whole picture only becoming clear on completion.

I got such a buzz out of managing to inform someone of what Blackpool was doing, why it’s doing it and most importantly WHEN it will have finished doing it.

Communication about the bigger picture is key to telling our story. I’m not sure that we sometimes spend the time we should explaining.