£2m tram heritage plan edges forward

John Woodman, development partner of the Friends of Fleetwood Trams group, with the 1935 double decker which the group have acquired.
John Woodman, development partner of the Friends of Fleetwood Trams group, with the 1935 double decker which the group have acquired.

PLANS for a £2m tram heritage centre in Fleetwood are to be discussed with sponsors and invited guests from local authorities next month.

The proposed centre – previously described as a museum – is planned to house six vintage vehicles from Blackpool Transport’s stock, with further proposals to bring an additional three or four tramcars to Fleetwood from overseas.

The Friends of Fleetwood Trams, the organisation behind the project, still plan to open the centre by July next year, in time for Tram Sunday.

Although the group have yet to name their preferred location for the centre, and funding plans are still being prepared, project leader John Woodman says good progress on the scheme is being made.

Mr Woodman, development partner of the Friends group, says positive discussions were ongoing with local sponsors who will help buy some of the Blackpool trams for the centre.

He said a meeting at an un-named Fleetwood venue, scheduled for Thursday October 20, was not a public session but would allow him to explain further to guests from local councils and other organisations what the scheme will entail.

He told the Weekly News: “We are organising a private briefing for invited guests – sponsors, public authorities and heritage organisations, which will allow us to expand on our plans and allow them to ask questions.

“We want to gather as much support for this scheme as possible.”

It is hoped the tram heritage centre will become a major tourist attraction for the town, and link in with the new supertram, which will be bringing visitors to Fleetwood from Easter next year.

The former Stena depot has been mentioned as a possible site for the facility, but Mr Woodman said he was still keeping those details under wraps until it could be confirmed.

One tram – a 1935 double decker built in Preston , which achieved fame as the vehicle which killed TV villain Alan Bradley in Coronation Street in the 1980s – has already been acquired by the group.

It has been bought from Blackpool Transport, for an undisclosed sum, by Fleetwood businessman Frank Heald, boss of Fylde software company Voiteq Ltd, on behalf of the Friends of Fleetwood Trams. The tram is currently being housed in Fleetwood in readiness for the centre being opened.

Mr Woodman addressed Fleetwood Civic Society about the plans last week and society chairman, Margaret Daniels, said: “We think it will be a marvellous thing for Fleetwood and are very supportive of the plans.”