Preston tram plan ‘is still on’

Vision: The proposed Trampower project
Vision: The proposed Trampower project
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Bosses behind plans to create a tram line through Preston city centre say they will press ahead with their vision, despite it clashing with plans to make the area more shopper-friendly.

Yesterday the Evening Post revealed the £3m Fishergate Central scheme, which includes plans to cut the amount of traffic using the city’s main shopping street, Fishergate.

It will also include making the area look more attractive to visitors arriving from Preston railways station.

But the scheme has clashed with a planning application, already submitted by Trampower, to run a tram service from Deepdale Road through the city centre to the train station.

Bosses at the firm said they still wanted to press ahead with their vision, and hadn’t seen plans for Fishergate Central.

Trampower has previously unveiled a proposal to run trams from Junction 31a of the M6 at Fulwood into Preston city centre.

Development manager Lincoln Shields said: “We have got a planning application in with the county planners at the present time for a section of the Guild Line.

“They are out for consultation with that so we don’t know what views they might have got back. But we still want to go ahead with plans.”

Trampower lodged a planning application with Lancashire County Council last year to turn abandoned Network Rail tracks, from Deepdale Road through the city centre to the train station, into a tramway.

Non-determination of the application meant hopes of getting a demonstrator line up and running by the end of 2012 were scuppered. The plans would see trams running down Fishergate for the first time since 1934, when the route was shut.

Lancashire County Council has been awarded £1.385m from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to help them press ahead with Fishergate Central, with the remaining money needing to be made up by the council.

Documents produced by designers behind the Fishergate Central project do not refer to any provision for trams within the scheme’s plans.