MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

AS someone who comes from a retail background nothing infuriates me more than seeing empty shops and businesses in our town centres in Fylde.

It’s a subject that was highlighted as part of the Portas Review, an investigation into Britain’s high streets by retail guru Mary Portas, and remains a significant issue.

I know the review proposed a number of steps to try to help tackle these issues including the idea of giving council’s the power to act on such premises.

But, while the review is considered and the Government looks at the recommendations, a bit of community action never goes amiss.

That’s why I was very keen to support Kirkham Town Council this week as they look to tackle an increasing problem in their area – the St George’s Hotel.

The hotel and pub, which was closed some time ago, is right at the very heart of the town and could be a magnificent building which provides a focal point to the bottom of Poulton Street.

Instead, for whatever reason, it has been allowed to become an eyesore where fly tipping is a problem and pigeons are nesting.

I’m also led to believe that there is now a tree growing out of one of the chimneys.

It’s a sad state of affairs and I’ve written to their owners, Scottish and Newcastle Pub Company, via their Chief Executive at Heineken UK, to call for them to act and be responsible to the community nearby.

If business owners have similar concerns about closed shops near to them I would urge them to do the same.

Talking of people power there is, of course, a great deal of community activism taking place in Fylde.

We’ve, of course, seen large groups pull together to put forward their opinions en masse about local developments, fight for community facilities they wish to retain and work on improving our local parks for the benefit of their communities.

Whatever your views on the issues themselves it is inspiring to see so many people able to work together and that community spirit is what Fylde is all about.

That is what localism, at the heart of the Government’s policies, is all about and long may it continue.

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