Mark Menzies discusses need for better rail and roads with tourism minister

Fylde MP Mark Menzies met with the tourism minister to press for better infrastructure for seaside towns.

Mr Menzies met Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism Helen Whately, after he called for better roads and rail services during a debate on the tourism industry.

The minister agreed to meet him following that debate.

Mr Menzies said: "I met with the Minister and told her that is is all very well and good having great seaside resorts, but not if we do not have the right infrastructure in place to get people to and from them.

"I asked for the meeting to discuss how the Government can support tourism in Fylde by funding better services and infrastructure.

"In particular, I garnered her support for the South Fylde line passing loop. It is vital we see services through Fylde to Blackpool South at least doubled. Transport for the North has given an undertaking we must have at least two servicves per hour - I told her the Government must now find the money to install a passing loop to make that a reality.

"We cannot have St Annes, Lytham and the likes of Blackpool Pleasure Beach served by one train per hour.

"I also highlighted the need for movement on the M55 link road which we desperately need to see built as soon as possible. While initial works took place, we are now awaiting the start of full construction of the road following the completion of the last legalities."

During the debate last month, Mr Menzies said to the Minister:  “As you are well aware, Mr Speaker, Fylde is at the heart of the Lancashire riviera, with fabulous beaches and world-class golf courses.

“With inadequate transport infrastructure, however, people struggle to access it.

“What representation is the Minister making in Government to ensure that people can visit our seaside gems?”

Ms Whatley told him: “My hon Friend is correct that our wonderful coastline, including in his constituency, is one of the great things that our country has to offer visitors.

“We are supporting coastal tourism, including with the £45 Discover England fund.

“The Government have also invested £229 million in the Coastal Communities fund—including in his area—and there is the English coast path.

“I completely agree, however, that we could and should be doing more to support our seaside attractions.

“I would be delighted to meet him to discuss his constituency’s infrastructure requirements and to arrange a meeting with the Secretary of State for Transport to lobby on his behalf.

“Tourism contributes £60 billion to the UK economy each year and my Department is committed to encouraging visitors from across the world to visit the whole United Kingdom. Our strong and growing tourism industry is good news for the economy and local communities, supporting small businesses and jobs up and down our country.

“The tourism sector deal will help to solve some of the industry’s challenges and establish tourism zones in areas with great tourism ambitions.

“The £45 million Discover England fund encourages visitors to travel beyond London, contributing to levelling up across the country.”