MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

IT is 2014 and the year started positively with the news that one of Fylde’s most recognisable residents had received an MBE for his work in business and with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Blackpool.

Basil Newby, who lives in Singleton, owns venues including Flamingos nightclub and the world famous Funny Girls cabaret bar and has been a mainstay of the business community in the resort for many years.

I know he has tried to do all he can through some tough times recently to ensure Blackpool continues to offer top quality entertainment for people either visiting or living in the resort.

To be recognised in this manner is an honour indeed and one which I think Basil richly deserves. I continue to wish him every success for the future.

I was also pleased this week when I learnt the Government was to look again at a decision by Fylde Borough Council to give planning permission for a travellers site in Newton.

I raised my concerns about the suitability of this site with councillors and the Chief Executive ahead of the Development Management Committee meeting, but members were still minded to approve the application.

Following their decision I wrote to the Secretary of State, the Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP, to ask him to review the case to ensure the correct procedures had been followed. I have since received a letter from the department to say that the case will be re-examined.

While I strongly believe that planning decisions should be taken by local councils I felt in this instance, with guidance surrounding traveller sites having changed recently, it was vital this case be reviewed by Ministers.

This is a decision which will affect many people in Newton and I wanted to ensure no stone was left unturned while it was being considered.

It has been fantastic to spend some quality time in Fylde over Christmas but I have been looking forward to getting back to work in Parliament and the constituency.

As part of that, this weekend I will be attending the Fylde Conservatives Association Lunch where we are lucky enough to have Philip Davies, the Member of Parliament for Shipley, as our guest speaker.

I know he is a lively speaker and look forward to hearing some of his many anecdotes from his time in Parliament.

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