The recent meeting addressed by the Secretary of State for Transport drew a large and voluble audience with a lot of points to make. One especially relevant question by Councillor Callow concerned reinstatement of the former tram stop at Norkeed Road. This, along with the stop at Norbreck North was removed from the lengthy stretch from Norbreck to Little Bispham in the light rail scheme - requiring local residents to make a very long walk on the exposed coast to either point; or wait for the Number 1 Service bus at peak times when it is usually full to brimming in both directions. Neither are any of the bus stops serving the Number 1 Promenade service in this part of Blackpool favoured with shelters - a somewhat discriminatory practise when compared to brand new shelters being installed for visitors using the same Promenade buses (Number 1 Service) along the stretch from North Pier to the Pleasure Beach.
Three other local tram stops in this area omitted in the light rail ‘culling’ included Melton Road just north of Little Bispham (admittedly little used); the infamous road crossing at Lauderdale Avenue (very helpful indeed for Anchorsholme residents), and Rossall Beach tram stop formerly at a convenient midway point on the stretch to Rossall School.
Much inconvenience has been caused by omitting Warley Road tram stop which was of particular benefit for visitors to the Blackpool Hilton. Taking this tram stop away and at the same time moving the Gynn tram stop northwards to the Savoy Hotel has created a very long gap from the Imperial Hotel to the Savoy. All of this may be efficient for the transport operator, but far less so for customers they serve, particularly the elderly and families with children. Cocker Square, the original northern terminus for the original conduit line of 1885 was also removed entirely - not necessarily a great inconvenience but equally noticeable for visitors wanting to walk up to hotels, B&Bs and the residential area around Dickson Road.
Given that BTS is owned by Blackpool Council - a certain degree of empathy might have been expected from planners and the Operator - in reinstating tram stops of year round importance to local residents (read voters). Norbreck North and Warley Road being the most obvious examples. Considerable focus is expended on seasonal heritage tram schemes at Rigby Road. A parallel level of consideration to stakeholders in Blackpool’s transport operation and those with travel needs twelve months of the year might well be a matter for concern.