‘Let my people go by bus and tram’

Norbreck residents who are calling for their tram stop to be retained.
Norbreck residents who are calling for their tram stop to be retained.

My residents face being stranded!

That is the warning from Coun Peter Callow who claims people living in his ward are being denied both bus and tram travel.

Coun Callow has been battling for two years for the reinstatement of the Norbreck North tram stop which was closed when the new tramway opened in 2012.

But now he says residents also face being unable to catch buses into Blackpool.

Last week Blackpool Transport announced it has no plans to put on extra buses to coped with increased demand when free tram travel for pensioners living in Cleveleys and Fleetwood is scrapped next month.

Coun Callow says if the buses area already full, and there is no access to the trams because there is no tram stop, elderly and vulnerable residents will be left high and dry.

He said: “They are going to be stranded.

“Pensioners from out of town won’t pay to go on the trams so the buses will be full, which will make it difficult for elderly people in my ward to get on them, and the elderly and disabled cannot stand up on the bus.

“Yet at the same time, because the Norbreck North tram stop has not been put back in, it is a long walk to the nearest stop for them to use the trams which residents of Blackpool can still travel on for free.

“So this means getting the stop reinstated is more urgent then ever.

“I also want to make sure any money goes towards the Norbreck North stop as a priority, and is not channelled to proposals to extend the tramway up Talbot Road.”

There is currently a 1km gap between boarding points.

The Sandhurst Area Panel has agreed to put in £5,000 from its budget towards restoring the platform at Norbreck North, while councillors Peter and Maxine Callow are putting in £20,000 from their ward budget.

Blackpool Council has confirmed the stop will be reinstated once the tram contract is finally signed off and surplus funds are available.

Blackpool Transport has said it is reviewing its services ahead of the changes to free tram travel, but any alterations would take eight weeks to come into force.

From April 1 Blackpool Council will no longer fund free trips on the trams for passengers from outside the resort with a NowCard, a move it claims will save £700,000.

It means many people are expected to switch to the number 1 bus, which runs parallel to the tram route, where the concessionary travel cards will continue to be accepted.