MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

THIS week I was invited to Lytham Hall to look at the current work being carried out as part of a major refurbishment project on the historic stately home.

Whenever I have visited the former seat of the Clifton family, I am always reminded about how intrinsically linked the hall is to the history of this part of Fylde.

I am excited to see the results of the large scale refurbishment which will be happening there over the next couple of years and have been assured the building will retain its historic character while being lovingly restored for future generations to experience in all its glory.

This week is the tenth anniversary of the Morecambe Bay cockling disaster and seeing the coverage always reminds me how close we came to a similar tragedy in the Ribble Estuary.

In 2011, emergency services were time and again called out into the waters off Lytham after the cockle beds were opened bringing an influx of people with little knowledge of the sea, in overloaded small boats with old unreliable engines.

When I visited the foreshaw near Seafield Road I was shocked by just how chaotic the place was and called an urgent meeting with Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon MP to ask him to intervene.

I also contacted Cllr Tommy Threlfall, Fylde Council’s environment portfolio holder, who was upset about the apparent lack of regulation by the fisheries authorities and I promised I would do all I could to assist.

Together, we urged the Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA), which is responsible for issuing permits to cocklers, to look at revoking the licenses of those who caused problems for the local community or were operating dangerously.

Following that pressure, the beds were closed and only re-opened some time later with much stricter restrictions in place so we, thankfully, avoided another tragedy.

This week, I have made the final preparations for a Dementia Friends session I am hosting at the United Reformed Church, St George’s Road, St Annes, on February 28.

The event, between 1.30 and 3pm, is aimed at helping people understand dementia and learn how to support those who may need help when we come across them in our daily lives.

Anyone who wishes to attend should contact my office on (01253) 729846 or register by emailing shirley.green@parliament.uk

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