Claims Blackpool’s tramway extension could be delayed by hold-ups on other town centre regeneration schemes have been rejected by town hall chiefs.
READ MORE: Blackpool Regeneration 2018
The £22m project to extend the track up Talbot Road is linked to the demolition of the Wilko’s store, with Wilko’s set to relocate to phase two of the Houndshill Centre on Tower Street.
Blackpool Council owns the Wilko’s building which will be bulldozed to make way for a new tram terminal, linked to a proposed new Holiday Inn hotel and Blackool North Station.
But Conservative group leader Coun Tony Williams claimed at a meeting of full council that development deals were not yet in place for the Houndshill extension which also includes an Imax cinema.
He said: “Wilko will not be able to move until at least 2020. That means the tram station will not be built until 2020 and not operational until much later in the year.”
Coun Gillian Campbell, Blackpool Council deputy leader, said: “This is a complex project but negotiations are at an extremely advanced stage with several parties involved including Wilko, the Light Cinema Group and the Houndshill Shopping Centre.
“Agreements for all the work and moves have been drawn up with lease details now being finalised ready for signing.
“Each of the companies involved is committed to the development having appointed relevant specialists such as legal representatives, project managers, engineers and architects to drive forward negotiations to reach a speedy conclusion.“An indication of the advanced stage that we are at is that the owners of the Houndshill Shopping Centre have already gone out for tender for the construction of the development on Tower Street that will include the new Wilko store.
“The same applies to the Light Cinema Group which is actively engaged with the council and Houndshill to enable them to open their cinema.
“As with other major work, we have no doubt that this development will go ahead and be completed well before 2020 with no impact on the plans for the tramway extension.”