It looks as if the proposal for trams to return to Preston is over following the release of a document recommending the rejection of the latest planning application submitted by Trampower. This planning application was submitted earlier this year and was for a much reduced line between the old coal yard off Deepdale Street and the rear of St Chads Road (totalling only 0.45km) which was a far cry from the original four line plans originally proposed.
The Trampower group will forever be remembered for their only tram – the City Class tram numbered 611 at the time – catching fire in Blackpool during testing but they have been involved in the plans for reintroducing trams in Preston for quite some time with the proposals changing considerably over time. Last year we reported that it seemed the plans were over but this was soon rejected by the group who released a statement saying that they were still planning to go-ahead. However at the time of writing despite the fact they submitted revised plans this year their website has not been updated since 2012 and their Twitter account has only had one entry in 2014.
The latest setback for the plans has come as a result of the 2014 planning application, which in effect was just the reinstatement of a railway line with some associated tramway infrastructure constructed (including a depot and platform), with planning officials saying that they have not been given enough information to allow them to make the approval. The planners have two major areas of concern, namely the effect the line would have upon the “strategic and local highway network and upon the safety of pedestrians and passengers” and also the effect it would potentially have on the local wildlife. Because of the lack of information provided by the promoters the planners could only to the conclusion that it would conflict with national and local planning policies and they state in the report that this would be an unacceptable state of affairs.
This report will now be presented to a full meeting of the Planning Committee on Monday 3rd November where they are expected to agree with the report and decline the application. Where Trampower will go if this decision is made is unclear although they do have another planning application lodged (which has been under consideration since 2012) for the installation of tracks and associated infrastructure within the existing highway although that is unlikely to much good without this refused application.