Museum on track for planning clash

John Woodman of Friends of Fleetwood Trams
John Woodman of Friends of Fleetwood Trams

PLANS for two building projects in Fleetwood are set to collide if an agreement cannot be reached between the council and a developer.

Wyre Council has planning permission for its own £1.5m proposals to build a new waste depot on Copse Road, with a recycling facility and the prospect of jobs.

But next door is the site of the last original tram depot on the Fylde Coast, a spacious tram shed which the Fleetwood Leisure heritage trust are hoping to use as a tram museum.

The old depot building would be the centrepiece of an ambitious £17m tram heritage scheme set over three sites.

However, the Trust would like to make use of some of the neighbouring council land, as this additional space would be vital for site access and extra car parking.

John Woodman, chairman of the trust, is now attempting to have the tram shed approved as a listed building by English Heritage.

He said: “Wyre Council has set itself this very quick deadline, at best giving minimum notice or consideration to the community or businesses around this site.

“By being so inflexible, Wyre Council is sabotaging a potential tourist attraction.”

Mr Woodman has also enlisted the help of the Victorian Society which is concerned about the future of the tram depot which was erected in 1897.

If the building was listed it could be grounds for turning down plans for a council building immediately adjacent.

He added: “We provided the officer with an alternative development scheme which would provide exactly the same level of facilities, resources and parking and utilise exactly the same area without affecting the heritage building.”

Chris Costelloe, conservation adviser for the Victorian Society, said: “Wyre Council should be supporting this valuable scheme, not putting it in jeopardy by plans to build a shed so close that it blocks out much of the natural light.”

Margaret Daniels, chairman of Fleetwood Civic Society, said: “It would be good to use the old building for its original purpose.

“You would think there would be some way people could get together to discuss it and make it possible.”

A Wyre Council spokeswoman said: “The sketch scheme for the tram shed would require a substantial amount of land at the Copse Road site.

“If this could have been agreed without prejudicing our development, the council would have done so, however, the sale of that land would prevent the development of our new depot and the investment of £1.5m into Fleetwood.”