M55 Link Road (The Moss Road)

The proposed M55 link road is a project I have been working on for several years and one that I know is close to the heart of local residents.

This is something I have dedicated a lot of my time to over the years and a lot of work is going on behind the scenes - work that many will not be aware of, but which is bringing the project closer to fruition.

I regularly attend meetings with the Conservative administrations at Fylde Borough and Lancashire County Councils, and the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, to ensure progress is being made.

As it stands, we hope to see contractors on site by the end of this year starting construction.

Ever since the Conservatives took control at Lancashire County Council, we have seen a renewed sense of purpose on this project; the previous Labour administration had no political will to see it come to fruition and would not even send its portfolio holder for roads to the meetings.

The new Conservative portfolio holder, County Councillor Keith Iddon, now regularly attends and the authority is once again fully engaged in the process.

I recently had a full update on all aspects of the scheme, from the final funding bids to the milestone chart detailing how far along more than 60 different tasks associated with the project are.

The scheme is far more complex than a simple road and many will not be aware of the amount of service cabling which will have to be moved for the project. National Air Traffic Services still has cabling for the airport which has to be maintained and therefore moved for the new road at significant cost and work.

All of these projects must be carefully coordinated.

County officials are finalising design works and legal agreements for landowners are being drawn up, while the last funding bids are awaiting final approval.

Kensington Developments has agreed to fund a huge portion of the road in one fell swoop, rather than in four stages as part of its permission to develop an estate off Queensway.

The Government has agreed to pay £5 million towards the scheme, Highways England a similar amount, Lancashire County Council is paying £1.7 million and Conservative Fylde Council, which is not a highways authority and which has no obligation to fund a road, £1 million.

There is a clear determination from all around the table now that this road will get built with work starting this year.

It has been too long in the making, but the sooner this road is built, the better. I will continue campaigning at Government and local level to ensure this work starts as soon as possible.

I have raised the issue with the Prime Minister at Prime Minister's Question time, met with roads ministers several times, and have helped secure millions of pounds of funding for the scheme. I'll continue to press the matter at our regular meetings.