Its more good news for the proposed extension of the Blackpool tramway up Talbot Road to North Station – which has been approved by local Councillors at their latest meeting held on November 23rd. This is in spite of some serious opposition from the Conservative Party, which is quite a turnaround as the project was actually a key feature of their local election manifesto only last year!
The extension project has had to be passed through various hoops and hurdles since being proposed but the final decision now rests with the Government’s Department for Transport, who will determine whether or not the Blackpool tramway will be extended for the first time since the 1930s.
The Labour Party were key in the scheme’s latest success, with only one Conservative MP voting in its favour. The rest of the party had taken a U-turn after listening to concerns from some locals, notably taxi drivers and a church on Talbot Road. Councillor Maxine Callow used these arguments as the reasoning why she could not back the extension, even after it was pointed out by Council Leader Simon Blackburn that the Conservatives had pledged to support the plans if elected in 2015. The party had also been key in ensuring that points were installed at North Pier during the tramway upgrade, to create the foundations for a link inland to North Station for the future without having to dig up the relaid tramway again.
Hopefully this latest step forward will be the final hurdle and the DfT will decide that the extension is of benefit, but in the meantime all that we can do is wait to see what the outcome will be.