Preston’s tram plan gets the green light

Photo Neil Cross Lincoln Shields, of Trampower

Photo Neil Cross Lincoln Shields, of Trampower

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Plans to create a tramway pilot project in Preston have been given the green light, after years of stalling.

The plans, which will see a stretch of the former Longridge to Preston railway line reinstated in Deepdale, were unanimously approved by Preston City Council’s planning committee on Thursday.

First tabled back in 2010, the plans, which sees the site based on Deepdale Street and Fletcher Road, faced a series of rejections at planning committee.

Lancashire-based planning consultancy PWA Planning was brought in earlier this year to advise applicant Preston Trampower on achieving a successful planning consent.

Under the approved proposals, the tram operation will not be open to paying customers, but will be used for training purposes, as a demonstrator for other local authorities, and to raise public awareness of trams as a sustainable mode of transport.

Councillors did have some concerns over running times on weekday mornings, weekends and bank holidays due to the site being in close proximity to Quwwat Ul Islam Mosque and Preston Muslim Girls High School.

So altered running times were agreed, 7.30pm until 9.30pm rather than from 6.30pm and 10am-4pm on weekends and bank holidays.

Councillor for St Matthew’s Javed Iqbal said: “I’ve lived in this area for a long time and anything that can improve it is definitely a good thing.”

Preston Trampower’s wider vision would see the company seeking approval to extend the project with the ultimate objective of linking up to the railway station with the north of the city.