It is good to see progress being made on three major roads schemes in Fylde and with spring here, bringing better weather, working on the new Moss Road should get a lot easier for the team delivering this essential new link. While new roads investment is welcome it is important the existing network across Fylde is kept in good condition. It is worrying to see so many of our roads in such poor condition and that resurfacing works over the coming year will not be anywhere near sufficient to fix the problems we have. Rural roads, vital connections for towns and villages are a particular concern and I have made clear my frustration to Lancashire County Council. I am fed up with quick fix patching on our local roads and want to see Fylde at the front of the queue for the next round of investment.
The Easter break marks the start of the busy tourism season for many local businesses. After two very challenging years I know many in the hospitality sector will be keen to make up for lost time. It is good to see so many places busy and know Fylde will offer a warm welcome to visitors over the coming months. Tourism is a big part of our local economy and I know many in the sector are hoping last year’s staycation summer will have encouraged many more to holiday in the UK this year as well.
Of course there are plenty planning an overseas break, for some the first in two years. The easing of travel restrictions across Europe has made a beach break more appealing but issues remain for those planning to jet off abroad. The queues reported at Manchester Airport in recent weeks are concerning. As our region’s gateway to the world the airport it is important that these issues are resolved as soon as possible before they start to impact not only people’s travel plans but the investment potential of the North West.
Another issue I am keeping a close eye on is the service offered by the Passport Office. Over lockdown around five million people have put off renewing their passport. As borders open up again demand is expected to rise and it is important staff are in place to deal with an influx of applications. At the moment the Passport Office states a typical online renewal should take around five weeks. That is not, however, a guarantee. I have asked Minsters to ensure resources are available to prevent unnecessary delays but it is equally important people in Fylde apply in good time, allowing 10 weeks before travel to ensure their plans are not disrupted. Problems at the DVLA, during which drivers have waited months for their license to be renewed or returned, demonstrate how quickly things can get out of hand. It is a situation I do not want to see repeated ahead of the summer getaway.