Talbot Gateway Coming On Strong
Blackpool is finally getting a new central district fit for this century. After much planning and promises - the town's commercial gateway adjoining Blackpool North station is changing for the better. In partnership with MUSE a Manchester development group, Blackpool Council are now at last realising their ambition to remodel the area formerly centred on Talbot Road Bus Station and the original North Railway Station terminal. The station site is now given over to a new build hotel and terminus of the on-street tramway extension from from North Pier. The 1930s Excursion Platform structure remains very much as built becoming the main railway station concourse - a neat way of avoiding capital spend by Network Rail. But for the time being a presentable structure alongside emerging development now known as 'Talbot Gateway'.
Blackpool Transport's bus routes dominate Talbot Road with a brand new backdrop providing a very much improved urban setting, far removed from the 1960s concrete wall now consigned to history. The new Holiday Inn is being fitted out in these images taken today while the new Marco Pierre restaurant is gaining its public image on the ground level. Some diners may even have a grand view of arriving and departing trams on the north side of the building.
Of greater consequence is the multi storey office building now well under construction on an east west axis behind the former Bus Station and Car Park. The steel work and elevator shafts clearly impact on their surrounds, if hidden from view of arriving rail travellers. When completed in the coming year the new government complex will transform the locality and bring a much needed year round economic boost. Which is indeed the objective of the Council planners and their team.
Whether the on street tram extension will serve to stimulate a whole new line along Talbot Road to Layton and then on to Victoria Hospital with its ever expending specialist units, remains to be seen. However the combined benefit of a tramway that delivers patients and visitors to this major Fylde coast health facility, and additionally serves the popular zoo (with its recent orang utan birth) and the green attraction that is Stanley Park has to be one of several light rail deliverables in the coming decade.
Below : New Look Blackpool. The reclad Talbot Road Bus Station and Car Park on the left, the Council Executive Offices in the far background and the new multi level Government office structure well advanced on the right. Well done Muse and Council Planners.
For the moment however getting the tramway finally back to its original role of connecting with mainline rail services in Blackpool has to be realised and phased in with other traffic plans. But at this time it very much like the pieces are coming together, if perhaps a little later than planned.