Wyre Dock, Fleetwood - awaiting a new role :
The FHLT has engaged in exploratory exchanges with Associated British Ports (ABP) on future redevelopment of its holdings in Fleetwood - with especial focus on Wyre Dock. This follows on the Report of Amion Consulting Ltd: (Transport Museum Feasibility Study - March 2016) who examined location options for heritage transport visitor venues on the Fylde coast earlier this year. Their findings and substantial data on visitor trends and spend in the UK market; in particular Blackpool and the transport 'museum' sector generally - underpin conclusions that point to the importance of 'joined up' displays appealing to wider audiences securing visitor numbers needed to sustain individual venues. Commissioned by Blackpool Council through Blackpool Fylde and Wyre Economic Development Company (BFWedc) - the study's findings now form the basis of the FHLT's engagement with ABP on its own plans at Wyre Dock which is one of several Fylde coast locations examined by the consulting team with cooperation of our Trustees.
There remains considerable effort to move from a visionary approach to what could well become a multi-million pound capital investment. However there are several strands of interest which encourage the Trust to pursue its aim in an area of Fleetwood now destined for radical redevelopment and regeneration.
Having the benefit of a positive relationship with ABP which allows for storage of the Trust's trams in immediate proximity of Wyre Dock is an important starting point for a unique opportunity within a hugely important heritage site in Fleetwood. The expressed desire of traders and the Fleetwood community to seek new leisure and visitor investment in the town are frequently voiced. Renewal of the Marine Hall and Mount, among other existing assets have been important schemes supported locally and with grants from various Bodies and examples of recent developments.
The Trust has a wide brief to bring about its objectives and this is now extended to include a leading European specialist design build 'glasshouse' company for what could well become a landmark waterfront mixed use scheme of some consequence. The Trust's tram display could extend to a short running line and workshop skills centre, as well as commercial vehicles identified with Fleetwood and the Fylde coast in the previous century. In accord with the findings of the Amion Study the Trust briefed Fleetwood Town Council at its formal Meeting this week on our work ongoing over the past six months. Coincidentally the same Meeting heard a positive update from the Poulton & Wyre Railway Society on its own plans in reopening service on a part of the former railway running from Poulton towards Fleetwood (possibly by the end of the year). The potential for these initiatives eventually finding common ground (so to speak) at Wyre Dock has serious merit which we have as an item for future discussion.
We will be relaunching the 'visitfleetwood.co.uk' website specifically to host updates on developments for Wyre Dock. Inevitably these will involve many more Partners and organisations. Although an emergent scheme will take time to formalise given the scale and scope of this important opportunity in which the Trust's assets will play a cornerstone role. It should be stressed that FHLT have received no formal commitment or expression of support from ABP for our outline proposal for a tram display on a part of the Wyre Dock site. But we expect substantive exchanges with the company's advisors in the near term. The Trust thanks BFWedc and Fleetwood Town Council for constructive support as well as ABP for generous facilities at Wyre Dock where quite a number of vintage Blackpool trams which ran to Fleetwood over several decades await the chance to shine on public display year round.