/ News / Consultation announced on future of transport on the Fylde Coast

Lancashire County Council and Blackpool Council have unveiled a wide-ranging vision for how roads, rail, tram and cycle networks need to be transformed to boost the Fylde Coast economy, avoid gridlock on the roads and support healthy lifestyles over the coming decades.

A six-week consultation will start in January on the plan, which sets out options for major changes to highways, public transport and walking and cycling facilities to create conditions for economic growth and prepare for predicted increases in traffic.

Lancashire County Council is producing a set of five Highways and Transport Masterplans to cover all 12 districts of Lancashire and, where necessary, neighbouring areas, to begin to make the case for multi-million pound investments in the transport infrastructure needed to support future housing and business development. The Fylde Coast masterplan covers Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde.

The draft document marks the start of a long-term planning exercise to decide the basis of future investment priorities, with a focus on identifying the problems, gaps and opportunities on the highway and public transport systems serving the county.

The masterplan also outlines travel patterns on the existing transport network, the key business sectors and sites which the network needs to support, sets out projects already in the pipeline and identifies opportunities to attract external funding for improvements from developers or the government through ‘growth deals’ which combine public and private funding.

County Councillor John Fillis, Lancashire County Council cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “The Fylde coast is a very diverse area and the transport network needs to support a vibrant tourism industry as well as the UK’s most significant centre for aerospace manufacturing and large firms specialising in energy and environmental technology, chemicals and polymers.

“But this success hides problems and challenges in terms of socially deprived communities who need better transport to access wider opportunities, and an aging population in rural areas who face increasing isolation.

“The future development of our highways and transport networks is therefore critical. As well as ensuring the visitor economy and industries can continue to grow we must ensure that everyone who lives on the Fylde coast can reach the opportunities they need to thrive.

“We must also take account of future residents and ensure that new housing can be accommodated without overwhelming existing communities with the extra traffic.

“This is a draft strategy for the next 15 to 20 years and we now need to know whether people agree with the priorities we’ve set out and help us to make the final plan as strong as it can be.”

Councillor John Jones, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport said: “So many of our transport networks overlap with our Lancashire neighbours and it is only through working together that we can develop a plan to improve routes in and around the Fylde coast.

“Having a joined up rail network that everybody can use will be a big boost to both residents and visitors, while better coach facilities should also give us more scope for our increasing visitor figures.

“There is something in our masterplan for everybody and I hope it will bring big benefits to drivers, as well as cyclists, pedestrians and rail users.

“As always, I am keen to speak to local businesses and residents about their views and am looking forward to hearing their opinions on the kind of transport system that is best for Blackpool.”

Among the key developments for the future are:

  • The extension of the Blackpool Tramway from the promenade at North Pier to Blackpool North railway station which will improve access to the UK national rail network from Blackpool, Fleetwood and Cleveleys.
  • A new junction 2 on the M55 near Preston and ‘Preston Western Distributor’ road which will improve links to the Fylde via a direct dual carriageway connection from the motorway to the A583/A584 – this is being funded through the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal and the Highways Agency.
  • The commitment recently announced by central government to A585 Windy Harbour to Skippool improvements. This Highways Agency scheme proposes a new bypass of the village of Little Singleton. This scheme would remove the current bottleneck at Five Lane Ends and give the opportunity to improve the A585 Mains Lane/A588 Shard Road junction. It could also remove rat-running traffic from Singleton.
  • The masterplan also puts forward proposals for the future to:
  • Design and consult on proposals for a Blackpool North (Talbot Gateway) Interchange to improve links between rail and tram services and provide a terminus to the tramway extension. A bid could be made for Local Growth Funding through the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership.
  • Carry out a study of the South Fylde railway line to explore its potential for investment. Improved rolling stock and more frequent and reliable services could make it a much better option for commuters, and there may be further benefits to linking the line to the Blackpool Tramway.
  • Carry out a study into the potential for improving facilities at stations on the North Fylde railway line. Electrification of the Blackpool North line will see changes to a number of stations to accommodate Pendolino trains, and the study will look into the potential to improve features such as accessibility and parking.
  • Establish design and location options for coach facilities in Blackpool.
  • Develop a Fylde Coast Long Term Public Transport Strategy to find the most cost effective ways to provide access to services in rural and remote areas, and market improved facilities to encourage visitors to consider alternatives to the car.
  • Take opportunities to make cycling a better option for shorter journeys, and develop a Fylde Coast Cycle Network which builds on existing routes and initiatives already underway to create better routes for commuters and family-friendly routes for tourists.

A public consultation will take place on the Fylde Coast Highways and Transport Masterplan from Monday 12 January to Friday 20 February 2015, with a number of events being held where planning officers from both councils will be available to discuss the strategy and record comments.

  • Garstang Library, Windsor Road, Garstang on Tuesday 27 January from 2pm to 7pm.
  • St John the Evangelist Church, Church Street, Blackpool on Wednesday 28 January from 2pm to 7pm.
  • Poulton Library, Blackpool Old Road, Poulton-le-Fylde, Tuesday 29 January from 2pm to 7pm.
  • Fleetwood Library, North Albert Street, Fleetwood, Tuesday 3 February from 2pm to 6.45pm.
  • Kirkham Community Centre, Mill Street, Kirkham, Wednesday 4 February from 12pm to 6.30pm.
  • St Annes United Reform Church, St Georges Road, Lytham, Wednesday 11 February from 2pm to 7pm.

Copies of a leaflet which accompanies the masterplan will be available from public libraries and council offices when the consultation starts, and the masterplan can also be viewed or downloaded from Lancashire County Council’s website. Search for Local Transport Plan at www.lancashire.gov.uk. You can also respond to the consultation by completing an online questionnaire when the consultation begins, by email at enquiries@lancashire.gov.uk or in writing to Fylde Coast Highways and Transport Masterplan, Environment Directorate, Room C4, County Hall, Preston, Lancashire, PR1 0LD.

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