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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

An Eyesore on north Promenade

Once upon a time a favoured location for photographing the comings and goings of Blackpool trams was from the roof of the electrical sub-station built in the 1960s next to Lowther Avenue tram stop. Originally this vantage point had neatly painted balcony railings around the roof which afforded enthusiasts (and others) some wonderful summertime perspectives overlooking the tram reservation in both directions. Alas no more. Below : Over fifty years ago - Coronation car 318 speeds southwards past Lowther Avenue looking quite immaculate in its Vambac condition. Image : John Woodman

The roof railings haven't seen a lick of paint for nearly two decades whilst the frontage of the sub station is seemingly abandoned with only the official signage indicating ownership of 'Electricity Northwest' being the responsible body for the structure's care and upkeep - whoever they might be. Given the privatisation of UK energy utilities decades previously, one suspects they are consigned to being a hidden part of some foreign owned conglomerate.

It very much looks as if no part of Blackpool Council, nor the Ward Councillors, have the slightest interest in taking steps to either demolish this structure; or if that is not the preferred course, then to at least make the external condition presentable.

Additional fencing has been added to deter would be photographers on the roof of the building; signifying some sort of health or safety issue, although anyone determined to chance their wellbeing could easily circumvent the temporary barriers which of course do nothing to add to the overall flavour of the site. The tramway sub station at Bispham was given a smart appearance, whilst new structures have been added at several points along the upgraded operation - making the Lowther Avenue edifice a very poor cousin in lineside features and a blot on the promenade landscape.

Given cost cutting and tight budgets in most or all Council departments the Lowther Avenue electrical substation is unlikely to attract investment. Perhaps it might have joined both Norbreck and Rossall tram shelters (both of some historical merit) in being razed to the ground during the general tidying up of the tramway from 2011.

Lowther Avenue's semi derelict sub station facing the promenade and passing trams as seen today.

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