One of the trams which could come to Preston, and an artist impression of the Deepdale station
It’s been forever delayed but it looks like Preston’s much talked about tram system could be getting a green light.
Trampower has applied to run a test line in Deepdale using a section of the former Longridge-Preston railway line.
A number of previous attempts to restart Preston’s tram system have been blocked by Preston City Council’s planning committee.
Now planning officers have given their backing to the latest proposal for the pilot station and line off Deepdale Street in the St Matthews ward.
The tramway would pass close to homes in Deepdale Road, Lincoln Street, Peel Hall Street and Castleton Road.
Tramway’s plans state the test line would operate 9.30am-11.30am, 1.30pm-3.30pm and 6.30pm-9pm on Mondays to Fridays and 10am-7pm on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays.
Objections to the tram have come from nearby residents, who state the traffic survey undertaken was not adequate as it does not take into account the traffic from nearby Muslim schools in Peel Hall Street.
Five letters of support have also been tabled, with one declaring ‘the Trampower scheme could signal that Preston is open for investment’.
Professor Lewis Lesley, the man behind the scheme, said: “Trampower welcomes the recommendation to the Planning Committee to approve its application to build a tram depot and reactivate the overgrown railway tracks as a tramway.
“There is still a lot to do but this is an important first step. Other cities have got the benefit of a tramways; less traffic, congestion and pollution. The letters of support to the committee are most welcome, and we hope that by opening in stages a modern and sustainable tramway, will make the people of Preston proud. We also know that on the strength of the Guild tramway, new confidence will bring extra investment and economic regeneration to the City.”
Planning officers state in their report to councillors: “Objections and letters of support have been received and the issues raised have been taken into consideration.
“Although the proposal would result in the loss of employment land and would not strictly comply with Development Plan policies in this regard, it is considered that the principle of the use can be supported at this location.
“The proposal would not create a commercial operating tramway, but solely permit a pilot project tramway.
“Any commercial tramway would require consent under the Transport and Works Act. Therefore, subject to conditions specific to a pilot project tramway, this nature of proposal would not have a severe impact upon the highway network.
“It is considered that the proposed hours of use of the development would be acceptable, and that subject to conditions the proposal would also be acceptable in terms of design and layout and impact upon heritage assets.”
Read more: A brief history of when Preston had trams
You can see the full plans on the city council website, and tell us what you think on the issue of trams in the poll below.
Preston’s planning committee – who have rejected the plans for trams a number of times – are due to meet on Thursday (10 November) from 1.30pm at the Town Hall to consider the latest proposal.
Should Preston have trams? Do you live in the area? Let us know your views on the comments below