‘We’ll listen to tram objections’

Tram station
Tram station
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Department for Transport bosses are taking on board objections to Blackpool’s £18m tramway extension despite ruling out a public inquiry into the scheme.

The team tasked with handling Blackpool Council’s application for a Transport and Works order, for the extension from Talbot Square to Blackpool North station, is asking the authority to respond to it’s critics.

They include the creator of a petition signed by hundreds of concerned residents and business owners.

Blackpool Council has, in a letter to the DfT, dismissed the concerns raised – insisting calls for a bus station to be built have no relevance to the scheme being proposed.

An online petition at change.org has been signed by more than 250 people calling for the project to be scrapped.

The objection, posted by Christian Steele, states the need for a new bus station in Blackpool was greater, the cost of the scheme and impact on traffic was unacceptable and the project would not represent good value for visitors.

His is one of five objections submitted to the DfT to which Blackpool Council has been asked to respond.

A council spokesman said: “This is not a formal public inquiry but a back and forth process in which those objecting and the authority have the chance to exchange views.

“The process is expected to end in the new year with a decision on the order likely to be made by next summer.”

Blackpool Council has already responded to the petitioners’ objection.

In a 19-page document submitted to the DfT the authority makes clear there is no other option on the table for the earmarked cash.

It said calls for a bus station to be built were nothing to do with the application.

It is also made clear that a bus station could not be built on the Wilco site, which is included in the second phase of the Talbot Gateway scheme and that, in any case the site would not be practical as services would have to be diverted from their current routes. A new bus ‘hub’ is being proposed close to the new tram terminus and rail station.