Transport Festival at Worden Park 60th

Increasingly popular: The Transport Festival was relaunched in 2009. It will be at Worden Park this year
Increasingly popular: The Transport Festival was relaunched in 2009. It will be at Worden Park this year

A Leyland trader is worried that his business will suffer when the Transport Festival is held at Worden Park this year.

It’s 60 years since the park was given ‘public ownership’, and to commemorate its diamond anniversary, the festival will be held there instead of taking the usual Hough Lane route. But one town centre businessman is concerned that he and other traders won’t benefit from the plans.

Derek Forrest, who owns Solicitor Direct on Hough Lane, voiced his concerns at a South Ribble Borough Council public meeting last week.

He said: “With the Transport Festival being held in Worden Park, that means there are little or no events in Hough Lane this year.

“Tesco is the only business which will benefit from this.”

Coun Phil Smith, who has responsibility for regeneration, leisure and healthy Communities at the council, said: “The council is one of the representatives helping to organise the festival, and we think Worden Park is an ideal location this year because of its Diamond Anniversary.

“We have no plans to hold it there again, this is just a celebration for the park.

“There will be several activities and a parade, and the council is committed to the regeneration of Leyland.”

Work is currently underway to improve the market entrance on Hough Lane, and to spruce up the play area on Worden Park.

Stephen Bullock, trustee of the British Commercial Vehicle Museum, hopes the new location and other anniversary attractions, such as a concert and fairground, will encourage more people to attend.

He said: “Hough Lane will not be shut this year, because we had some complaints in the past from traders who said the festival was affecting their business.

“Having the celebrations in Worden Park will hopefully attract more people, because there’ll be something for all generations.

“Also, 243 vehicles came from all over the UK and Europe last year, and we only just managed to squeeze them all in Hough Lane and the surrounding car parks.”

Vehicles will travel from Centurion Way towards the park on July 9, and those from the 1950s will take pride of place in the park to mark the 60 year anniversary, while others will be placed in the car parks off King Street and Sumner Street.

Mr Bullock added: “We need the good people of Leyland to back this, because the festival died in the 1990s from lack of support.

“The museum relies on these type of events to raise money and keep afloat.”

In 2010, the museum made a small profit for the first time in years, but the 12 trustees are still trying to raise £460,000 for a new roof, and £100,000 for a new heating system.

Mr Bullock hopes that around 40,000 people will attend the weekend event this time, as £10,000 went when it was relaunched in 2009, and £23,000 showed their support last year.

On top of this, the King Street museum will be the focal point for Lancashire Transport Week the following week.