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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Signs of the Times - on Talbot Road

Roadway signage known only to contractors now on public view seen here at the Talbot Road and Abingdon Street junction. Who knows what lies beneath the tarmac - given the first generation tramway and junction curve at this point?

Much like the first swallows heralding the arrival of Spring, so the multi coloured markings now evident along the lower section of Talbot Road are evidence of pending capital works by contractors for the light rail extension to North Station.

The local press this week carried impressions of how the final redevelopment of the property known as 'Wilkinsons' will look when completed, along with tram station and two track stub terminal. The Developer, Modus, which has responsibility for this final part of the Talbot Gateway scheme will implement a complete makeover of the site to bring it into line with the structural improvements and investment already in place.

It remains only for the run down shabby properties (for the most part) that presently constitute Talbot Road's retail and public space to be similarly flattened or otherwise reformatted all the way down to the current desolate windswept barren area known as Talbot Square. Preliminary signs of utility realignment and groundwork are already noticeable here. Work on the development of a new hotel property to replace the former classic Yates Wine Lodge building is expected to begin this year, in tandem with the tramway construct at this point. Delays to the transfer of the Wilkinson's store and business to a new location adjoining Hounds Hill have meant that the work on the tramway extension will now begin from the seafront junction eastward to the newbuild scheme at Talbot Gateway - as opposed to the earlier intention of the reverse process.

Presumably contracts for the two additional trams from Bombardier are already approved and their delivery can be factored in ahead of the completion and opening of the extension. At least that is the Author's assumption. These probably may be the last imported trams to be financed and delivered - with any consequent expansion of the fleet being subject to a post Brexit contract when EU procurement constraints no longer apply. Hurrah.

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