DCSIMG

ANGER OVER TRAM NETWORK

CAMPAIGNERS for an improved tram network stretching from Fleetwood to St Annes have expressed disappointment that nothing has been done to take the plans forward in two years.

In 2002, an ambitious 1 billion bid to expand the Fylde coast's tram system was launched. The plans included extending the tracks beyong Starr Gate to St Annes in the south and to new housing estates in Fleetwood to the north.

A further phase may see a new link between Blackpool, Fleetwood, Poulton and Thornton.

The proposals followed the government's pledge, in 2000, to build 25 new tram lines by 2010.

But the Fylde coast's plans are still no closer to fruition, despite Lancashire County Council and Blackpool Borough Council's joint bid for a government grant.

Those behind the plans expressed frustration after transport minster Dr Kim Howells, speaking in the Commons last week, commented that it was "important to keep the existing tramway in good condition" after a question from Fylde MP Michael Jack on how the transport bid was progressing.

Mr Jack, Fleetwood MP Joan Humble and Blackpool MP Gordon Marsden are all behind the improvement scheme.

Coun Eddie Collett, portfolio holder for regeneration, said this week: "The lack of news is beginning to be a concern."

He added: "We have answered all the government's questions many times. I have been going down to London, in one form or another, for two years."

Fleetwood and Blackpool were first linked by tram in 1900, after Blackpool Corporation acquired the system in 1892. Today's tramway stretches 11 miles from Fleetwood to Starr Gate and carries 6.5 million passengers a year.

 
 
 

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