Next stage of Blackpool North Station extension works to get underway

It may have been some time coming but Blackpool Council have confirmed that the next phase of the Talbot Gateway regeneration scheme will get underway at the start of June. This phase will include the completion of the new tramway interchange at Blackpool North Railway Station with a new deadline for trams running along Talbot Road now set for May 2021 – meaning we could be enjoying a tram ride along the newest section of the Blackpool Tramway in 12 months time!

But before that is a possibility – and let’s hope that it will be possible and that the restrictions we have become used to over the past couple of months have been lifted sufficiently by then – there remains a deal of other work to be completed. The most obvious piece of work needed to start with will be the demolition of the old Wilkinson’s store which is scheduled to take place between June and December 2020.

This will then be followed by the construction of the high street underpass, the Holiday Inn Hotel and then finally the tram extension and track completion. All this is due to be completed by April 2022 but will be dependent on there being no further delays due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Work will start on Monday 1st June with Robertson Construction Group having been appointed jointly by Blackpool Council and development partner, Muse Developments. The complete Phase Two of the Talbot Gateway scheme is expected to take two years.

Cllr Simon Blackburn, Executive Leader of Blackpool Council, said: “The team have been working tirelessly around the clock to ensure that the delivery of this flagship commercial development stays on course and goes ahead as planned. We are confident that all the correct procedures have been put in place to secure the health and safety of all the construction workers, which is our top priority at this critical time, and we will be monitoring activity on site very closely to ensure that all the government workplace guidelines are followed. As we emerge out of the current emergency crisis and into a period of recovery and rebuilding, it is really important that as a community we stay committed and focused to the successful delivery of the ongoing regeneration projects throughout the town, to ensure the town is in the best possible place it can be to achieve economic recovery, improve long term resilience, create new opportunities and secure long-term jobs for the people of Blackpool. Phase Two of Talbot Gateway will transform this key entrance into Blackpool and we are delighted to be one step closer to realising our long term ambitions for the town.”

It was previously announced that a temporary tram terminus would be constructed first with the permanent structure following as part of the hotel construction but this latest news release has made no mention of that. As well as the construction of the tram interchange for trams to terminate, other tram construction work will be required including the installation of the overhead, completion of trackwork, full fitting out of the one platform stop in Talbot Square and other rectification works required. But the proposed schedule says that this will all take place between January and May 2021 and presumably trams would then start to run following this period.

The full proposed schedule of works is:

* Demolition of Wilkinson’s building – June to December 2020

* Construction of the high street underpass – November 2020 to 30th April 2021

* Construction of the Holiday Inn Hotel – October 2020 to April 2022

* Tram extension and track completion – January to May 2021

After the delays this project has experienced hopefully it will be all systems go and trams will be running up Talbot Road again in the not too distant future! And we can all do with a bit of good news at the moment can’t we!

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