Buses boss: ‘Timetables a work of pure fiction’

Gridlock in Blackpool town centre caused by the Talbot Gateway redevelopment.
Gridlock in Blackpool town centre caused by the Talbot Gateway redevelopment.
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Drivers are facing long delays in Blackpool town centre as traffic is diverted around the site of a new supermarket and council offices.

Bus operators say services have been held up, while one business fears the gridlock is putting customers off visiting its showroom.

Diversions are in place while construction of a Sainsbury’s supermarket and council offices on the site between Cookson Street, Talbot Road and Buchanan Street, goes ahead.

Town hall chiefs say traffic has been flowing adequately.

However, Blackpool Transport says eight to nine minutes are being added onto journey times through the area being developed as the first phase of the £220m Central Business District.

Bob Mason, director of delivery at Blackpool Transport, said: “The work has been causing delays for our services and we have held meetings with the contractors to try to resolve it. We are doing everything we can.

“We have spare buses and drivers out and when services are running late we are doing everything we can to get them back on time.”

Philip Higgs, of Classic Bus North West, said their services had been affected too.

He added: “The busy half term week has certainly tested the Promenade and Talbot Gateway area.

“Because of the roadworks at Talbot Gateway, we are diverting our southbound journeys along the Promenade but here they are facing the usual congestion issues with traffic backed as far north as Imperial Hotel.

“It is certainly causing bus timetables to become a work of pure fiction because of the extended journey times and we are getting a lot of complaints from passengers.”

Darren Olive, of the Tile Discount Warehouse on George Street, said: “It is gridlocked every day.

“Every single customer is saying what a nightmare it is getting to us, and we’re worried it is going to kill our business.”

The scheme is being carried out by contractor Muse which is the council’s development partner.

A Blackpool Council spokesman said: “We are sorry to hear people have been experiencing delays.

“Every effort has been made to maintain a reasonable traffic flow while the essential building works are completed.

“Those on site who are well placed to judge as they are present throughout the day have reported that traffic flows have generally been adequate.

“There have been no major changes to the road layout for some time, however, it is half-term week and, as a result, there has been an increased volume of traffic.

“The contractor is working in a number of areas within the CBD site to ensure all works are completed by the start of the school holidays and we are currently on target to meet that goal.”

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