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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Little Love for Bispham Station etc.

Ever since the closure of Bispham's 1930's tram station structure for tram crews wanting a 'brew up' or checking in with a Duty Inspector - the building has been left uncared for and apparently unwanted. Blackpool Council, which owns the station, has tried to find users for the building but without success, and not surprising given the caveats and restrictions imposed on alternative use.

Now that a tram station 'platform' has been built along the eastern facing frontage and designation of the tramway as a 'light railway' - there is a bar to access of the structure from this side for any commercial (or public) use. A new entrance would need to be built into the seaward facing (rear) wall and the potential for using the property as a kiosk, information or retail type purpose would be totally negated.

Benign Neglect - brickwork needs repointing, windows replacing and much more.

So for the moment Bispham Station remains very much an orphan child albeit an iconic one dominating Red Bank Road down which trams once trundled to their depot on what is now Sainsbury's car park. Directly opposite the Station itself on the other side of the promenade is an art deco designed residential building now successfully marketed as luxury holiday flats by its Owners. They have expended considerable funds and tender loving care to ensure their property is of the highest standard of appearance both inside and out. Not so the tram station.

It all contrasts with the neglectful attitude shown by local traders and dormant Bispham associations supposedly having a role in promoting and otherwise caring for the interests of this part of the town. Boarded up windows, peeling paint, rusting frontage and a general air of dereliction is the hallmark of Bispham Tram Station in 2016 with little interest being shown in its condition or future. An even more lamentable situation exists at the Little Bispham Tram Station stop where the brickwork is losing its mortar and windows lack glazing amongst other neglect. This structure also serves to provide a shelter at no cost to the tramway upgrade other than installation of the standard rudimentary metal bench.

Just why these two iconic structures closely associated with the tram service to Cleveleys and Fleetwood should be totally ignored by the Council and community interests is an indictment of both. It was quite possible in straitened financial times for a new tram stop to be installed at Norbreck North, complete with technical bells and whistles at the cost of well over a hundred thousand pounds - when two period structures in proximity are in a state of disrepair and wholly neglected. To add to this abysmal picture are the row of unpainted tram standards along the route into Cleveleys with fading paint showing the effects of a decade of westerly wind and rain all too obvious to everyone passing by on the promenade whether by car or walking. Those supposedly with concern over structural heritage seem to have little appetite for taking a lead (any lead) in the glaring obvious in Bispham. Even the carefully sited Edwardian shelters installed along the cliffs between Little Bispham and Norbreck have now been left to rot or at least this one:

Has nobody got a paint brush in Little Bispham or Norbreck ? Apparently not.

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