Professor Sir Peter Hall is to step down as the chair of ReBlackpool, the town's urban regeneration company, to head up a bid for European funds to develop an extension of the Blackpool tramway to serve Blackpool Airport and Preston.
The plan is to use a revolutionary new technology, launched in the German city of Kassel last August: a hybrid tram which switches from electric to diesel power to run on non-electrified railways like the South Fylde line. ReBlackpool is going into partnership with Kassel and with West Flanders, which has a similar coastal tramway to Blackpool's, to test the new technology in parallel with a national technical test.
Professor Hall said today: "After nearly four years in the chair at ReBlackpool, helping to develop the casino bid and then the post-casino regeneration strategy to rebuild the town's economy, published in our Blackpool Task Force report to government last summer, I think it is time to move on. As ReBlackpool shifts from strategic thinking to delivery my successor will lead on this delivery. Meanwhile, provided our bid is successful, and I am confident that, fully supported by NWDA and other partners, it is more than good enough – I will focus on delivering the next stage of development of the Blackpool Tramway as part of the regeneration of the town".