MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

IT’S been a tremendously busy week in Parliament and in Fylde with a number of vital issues up for discussion.

Last Friday I made my first ever representation at a public inquiry in St Annes, speaking on behalf of residents who are concerned about the travellers site in Hardhorn on the border of Fylde and Wyre.

This was, I have to admit, a nerve racking experience and a very difficult thing to do, particularly facing a grilling from a top barrister.

In my representation I was very keen to get across the views of residents as well as the importance of adhering to planning laws which, sadly, has not been the case in this instance and I hope those present felt I acquitted myself well.

As a parliamentarian I cannot stress highly enough my regard for the principles of law so, although I do not normally become involved in planning applications which are a matter for the council to adjudicate on, I felt this was an exceptional case.

I also wanted to be fair to the travellers group who also have significant needs and rights and, to that end, I met with them on Friday, at their request, to offer my help in liaising with public services to ensure their health and educational needs are properly met.

In Parliament too another contentious Fylde issue was under discussion – the shale gas drilling currently taking place in the area.

As I have said before in the Express I found the company carrying out the works, Cuadrilla Resources, to be open and honest, and I asked them to engage with local people, councillors and other groups.

I’m pleased to see they have done so and I would encourage anyone with questions to put them to the company.

I have also backed Parliament’s Energy and Climate Change Select Committee inquiry into shale gas which, I’m pleased to see, is now underway.

There was also a briefing by Cuadrilla for MP’s this week and I know my colleagues put more tough questions to the company which no doubt will help this process.

Information is key.

And finally, this coming week I will be meeting with the South Fylde Community Rail Partnership which does tremendous work in trying to improve our local railway stations.

I’m very keen to see what they have to say and hope we can all work together to achieve the vital aim of getting our platforms up to scratch in time for The Open golf tournament in 2012.

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