MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

This week Lytham has celebrated another hugely successful festival, which brought thousands of visitors to the area and a great deal of fantastic publicity for Fylde.

Having spent most of the week in Lytham I was extremely impressed by the amount of people the festival brought into the town, who all seemed to be happy to spend money in the surrounding shops, bars and restaurants.

I am sure many local business owners have spent the week counting their takings, while those working in our hospitality industry had a bumper week in terms of tips and gratuities.

While it was shame Wednesday and Sunday nights had to be brought to an early close due to high winds battering the coastline, the festival has historically done very well in terms of weather so I imagine most people will have been understanding of the situation.

On Thursday night, I joined the army of volunteers from Trinity Hospice, acting as a litter-picker for the early part of the evening, in an effort to keep the famous Green clear of debris.

It was fantastic to meet so many dedicated volunteers, including some Trinity nurses who had taken annual leave from their jobs to support the hospice in their own time.

As part of their charitable partnership, Trinity will receive a £10,000 donation from organisers Cuffe and Taylor which I am sure does a great deal to ensure the charity can continue running its vital services.

This weekend will see the return of the ever-popular 1940s weekend to Lytham, and I understand large crowds are expected once again. As I said in my column last week, these kinds of quality events are attracting ever-more visitors to our area, which has always relied on the tourism industry for its success, and all the organisers should be congratulated.

I was disappointed to find out this week that the long-running saga over an illegal travellers’ site near Staining is set to continue.

This has been an ongoing issue since I first came to Parliament and the group has been turned down at every step in its bid to remain on the site. However, an application for a smaller site, previously refused by Fylde Council, has now been allowed by the Planning Inspectorate.

Many of the reasons given in the inspector’s report make no sense and appear to fly in the face of the previous reasons set out for refusal. I have now written to the Secretary of State to ask him to review this decision and to Fylde Council to urge it to use every resource at its disposal to fight this.

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