Ambitious proposals to redevelop the site of Blackpool Tramtown have got the go ahead from town hall planners
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The first phase will see the engineering workshop relocated to space inside the main Tramtown depot on Rigby Road.
The current heritage tram workshop is earmarked for demolition to make way for electric charging points for Blackpool Transport’s new electric buses.
Town hall planners approved an application using delegated powers after ruling despite being outside Blackpool’s main area for attractions, the scheme was viable.
A report setting out the decision says: “Economically, the scheme would enhance the facilities at the site which would appeal to both local residents and visitors.
“The additional usage would support the site financially and jobs would be created by the use.
“Environmentally, the appearance of the scheme would be acceptable and would enhance the existing site. ”
Planners add the development will “create a specialised event space and centre for visitors whilst still incorporating the existing use.
“The leisure offer would be inherently linked to the existing use of the site and so could not be functionally separated.
“It is considered to represent a fairly unique proposal that would not set an undesirable precedent for inappropriate development elsewhere.”
Tramtown has been running heritage tours for around two years staffed by volunteers, and in February announced it had secured £800,000 of funding for the first phase of restoration of its building.
The initial funding has come from Blackpool Council support of the ZEBRA Blackpool Transport scheme (to provide zero emission buses) as well as gate receipts from Tramtown visitors and public donations.
Plans drawn up by architect John Bridge show a new workshop designed to re-use the existing machinery which would be relocated.
Repairs to the structure of the building including the roof, walls and metal work are also part of phase one.
The second phase would see exhibition space created to the west of the building, and the third and final phase would be the visitors centre.
The planning application also sought permission for new doors and glazing to the front of the building, a mezzanine first floor, staff offices, tram bays, and a cafe and shop.