It was a sad start to the year with the death of a serving soldier from the 2nd Battalion the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment from Weeton, while on duty in Taji, Iraq.

The tragedy serves as a reminder of the bravery of all of our troops working overseas in difficult and dangerous conditions.

L Cpl Scott Hetherington was training Iraqi and Kurdish security forces to fight against Daesh – a noble act intended to help keep us all safe. My thoughts go to his family and friends.

Turning to the year ahead, one of my main priorities for Fylde will be infrastructure.

I’ll be looking to ensure the deal for the Moss Road, which I have spoken about so much recently, is finally signed and delivered.

And, while it is the responsibility of Lancashire County Council, I will also be looking at the provision of public transport in Fylde, especially on Sundays.

I will put as much pressure as possible on the county authority to improve bus services, with residents of villages in the borough left with services few and far between.

And there is need for a passing loop on the South Fylde train line. I will continue to make the case for this, but it will take time to convince all of the relevant parties.

I would like to see better connectivity at Preston for London-bound services, and a passing loop, which could double the frequency of trains along the route, would help.

The rolling stock on this line has not been good enough for years, and the decision to not run trains on Sundays in winter is unacceptable.

Improvements in our transport infrastructure will also help increase the number of jobs in the area.

And I will be pressing for more investment on our two enterprise zones, at Warton and Blackpool Airport.

Better infrastructure should see the creation of more jobs, as well as at other sites such as Whitehills Business Park.

I have already written to BT for improved broadband at the Whitehills site which I am aware is causing issues for businesses keen to move into the area. And I want to see further broadband improvements across Fylde for residents and businesses.

BAE Systems’ need for exports is another priority, and I will continue to do everything I can to support the company and its workers to secure orders in an incredibly competitive export market.

This year, I will also continue in my efforts to make Fylde a dementia-friendly borough.

More than one in six people aged 80 and over live with one form of dementia or another – and with a growing ageing population, that means more and more people who will ned extra help from family and friends.



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