Blackpool tramway extension gets Council approval

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.

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11 Responses to Blackpool tramway extension gets Council approval

  1. Sam Flynn says:

    There’s one more written response exchange to go, the Council have to respond to the objectors one more time by early December.

    After they have, it’ll move to the decision stage, where the Secretary of State will consider all arguments from both sides. This take up to 3 months but hopefully it’ll be quick. And given there are at most 4 remaining objectors vs 26 supporters it hopefully will be right decision.

    So March at the latest permission will be granted, after that they need full funding approval from the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (they already have conditional) and then need to sort out contractors.

    All things considered late 2017/early 2018 construction should start, commencing East to West and presumably starting with the demolition of Wilko.

    It’s been a marathon to get here but it’ll be worth it and this is hopefully only the beginning!

  2. John Stewart says:

    I think that the opposition was on the basis that they had done the sums, knew that it would be passed but felt like making a point. Any Local Authority that bases decisions on the views of taxi drivers would be as irresponsible as one could get.

  3. Tony Stevenson says:

    The least said about local Blackpool politics the Better.

  4. Ken Walker says:

    I can’t believe that politicians have gone back on an election pledge! Or that taxi drivers are opposed to a bit of competition.

  5. Tony Blews says:

    “Coun Peter Callow said although points had been put in, the potential junction was not necessarily to take trams up Talbot Road. He said they could have been for the track to go up Clifton Street which is where trams had operated in the past”


  6. Nigel Pennick says:

    Good that it has gone through. But when will local decisions not have to be sent to Whitehall to be authorised? This is not ‘The Northern Powerhouse’ in action. Get on with it.

  7. Ste says:

    If this is actually built it will be a miracle! It also is possibly the most pointless extension over as you can see the prom from the terminus! To my mind an extension serving the town/hospital etc would have been much more use.

    • Franklyn says:

      I agree. By the time you’ve waited for a tram at North Station you could have walked to the promenade. Reemmber there used to be trams to North Station and the route closed. And thatw as when Blackpool had far more visitors comming into the town by train than it does now.

      If the really wanted to do something useful why didn’t they go for an extension to Lytham St Annes (as proposed as far back as the 1930s) to bring more tourism and development opportunities to that very overlooked part of the coast.

      • Sam Flynn says:

        Small acorns. And the fact that Blackpool is the only UK system not connected to heavy rail has to be addressed. No doubt St Annes and Lytham that’ll be the next one.

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