Is this the end for the return of trams to Preston?

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.

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3 Responses to Is this the end for the return of trams to Preston?

  1. Christopher Callan says:

    Certainly projects continue to linger like a bad smell. Simply keep returning. Almost never ending. With revision after revision. media briefing after media briefing. Usually somone elses fault…. never theirs…

  2. Nigel Pennick says:

    When perfectly viable tram schemes like Leeds, South Hampshire, Bristol, Liverpool, West London and Cross River have all failed in the last decade, the chances of Trampower Preston being successfully progressed had very long odds – rather like the Parry systems that have been proposed all over the place but not one constructed.

  3. Martyn Hilbert says:

    This is not surprising in a place where the powers that be are in total denial of the constant traffic problems – even outside of the peak hours, and allow the de-phasing of traffic signals in busy streets causing deliberate hold-ups. The opportunity has been lost for a radical solution, the City Council and Lancashire County Council are a complete and utter waste of space. Trampower should have stuck to the scheme of connecting the two disused railway formations – (the old East Lancs Line to Bamber Bridge, and the former Longridge Branch, both meeting in Preston Station into the old number 9 platform which is not used by passenger trains. In the City Centre a multi-million pound scheme has just been completed along Fishergate (the main shopping throughfare), and there is now no room for a tramway.
    A real shame – the councils and the powers that be talk big about green issues and reducing congestion but sit on the sidelines and do nothing.
    A little while ago the council was looking at introducing a congestion charge – no wonder they don’t want a light rail system!
    How refreshing to see on the local BBC news programme about the new Metrolink line to Manchester Airport and the regeneration that the service will bring to the communities along the new route.
    A radical solution is needed in Preston, but yet again the opportunity has been lost.