Storm Jocelyn has battered the west coast over recent days and although Fylde has thankfully been spared the worst of the damage, the impact on homes in communities across Britain has served as a reminder of the flooding we saw across Fylde last summer.
Promises were made to me at the time, and these must be delivered on if we are to avoid last summer’s issues being repeated time and again. This week I am holding a follow up meeting with Lancashire County Council, our Local Lead Flood Authority, as well as the Environment Agency, Fylde Borough Council and United Utilities for an update on the progress made since then.
I am delighted that we now have a completion date for the Kirkham Futures project. I know that road closures, diversions and restricted parking have all caused disruption for residents, but I remain confident about the long-term benefits it will bring once building work finishes next month. Kirkham is already a fantastic town with wonderful businesses, including two of the top three in my recent Business Awards, and I am excited about what the project’s completion will mean for the town.
From there, the next step for Kirkham is to see improved connectivity both across the local area and beyond. The doubling of services on the South Fylde line will make the town more accessible to those in Lytham, St Annes and Preston, and I have also raised the issue of direct services to London and Birmingham on the route to and from Blackpool North with Avanti. Having campaigned for these services in the first place, I was hugely disappointed that they have been discontinued, particularly as the trains that once called at Kirkham & Wesham continue to run but now bypass the station. I want to seem them back on the timetable, a point I have reiterated to Avanti.
The Youth Sport Trust were in Parliament last week and it was a privilege to meet with Sir Mo Farah, who launched his ‘Mo’s Mission’ campaign to get children physically active for at least an hour per day. While PE lessons in school and general play are a great way to achieve this, local leisure facilities also have a key role.
In Kirkham, Wesham and across rural Fylde this has been a real issue since the closure of Kirkham Splash following storm damage, a decision made permanent last year. I discussed this with the Youth Sport Trust and have since followed this up with the YMCA, who visited Parliament on Monday, to discuss the situation and I am working hard to assist efforts towards a replacement pool.
To that end, Fylde Borough Council have opened a consultation into the provision of swimming facilities and, while by no means limited to Kirkham and Wesham, it provides the chance to have your say and shape local priorities for future investment in sports and leisure facilities.