Tram consultation draws to a close

An artist's impressions of how the  tramway could look
An artist's impressions of how the tramway could look
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Consultation ends today on proposals to extend the Blackpool tramway from North Pier to North Station.

The £22m proposal is set to see trams run up Talbot Road.

Council chiefs, who have backed the scheme, say it is vital to link the railway network with the town’s tram system.

But some sectors have objected to the move, including the Blackpool Licensed Taxi Operators Assocation.

It fears installing additional tram tracks will increase congestion, including at the junction of Talbot Road and the Promenade.

South Shore resident Chris Steele has attracted 222 signatures to an online petition calling for the extension to be stopped until the town gets a new bus station.

The petition has been posted on change.org.

Mr Steele said: “The town needs a bus station.

“The disruption caused by the works on the back of the Illuminations, followed by Crossleys bridge is going to condemn the town to years of traffic chaos for very little benefit in the case of the extension.

“The finished product will compound the errors already made on the Promenade that have taken a major road out of Blackpool’s very compact, and now congested, highways network during peak times.

“Access to front of the Winter Gardens, the Grand Theatre and the north side of the Houndshill is going to be made very time consuming.

“That quarter of town will be choked off.”

A new tramway terminus will be built close to Blackpool North station on the site currently occupied by the Wilkinsons store, which the council has purchased.

The council is also paying £4.7m towards the extension with central Government putting up the remainder of the funding.

Coun Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, has previously said the transport network “drives our local economy”. She added: “From bringing visitors in to helping businesses grow, it is all underpinned by a working transport system.”