A sunny Easter Bank Holiday weekend brought out the best in Fylde with busy beaches, parks and visitor attractions. I took the opportunity to call in at Lytham Hall and was given a very warm welcome, along with hundreds of other visitors making the most of the magnificent surroundings. Despite the challenges of the past two years the dedicated team at the Hall continues to invest and it is great to see spaces like the Billiard Room being restored to their former glory. I know there is still plenty to keep them busy but work goes on and there seems to be a real buzz of excitement for the future.
Growing visitor numbers is, of course, good news for local businesses. Tourism is crucial to Fylde’s economy and the coming months will be important for many local firms as they look to build back from the pandemic.
One thing I know is frustrating local people and business owners is the service on the South Fylde rail line. I want to see investment made to double frequency along the line, with a passing loop between Ansdell and Lytham. The Secretary of State for Transport, on his recent visit, saw just why this is necessary and I want to see a decision made by his department sooner rather than later. In the meantime constant delays and cancellations are a cause for real concern. The level of service delivered by Northern for South Fylde passengers and for our local communities is simply not good enough, a point I will be making to managers this week.
The summer timetable change next month sees many services restored which were lost to the temporary pandemic timetable, including an hourly Sunday trains. I do worry these are improvements which will be delivered on paper but not in practice. Passengers in Fylde deserve better and Northern has a great deal to do to rebuild the trust of local people.
Returning to Westminster following the Easter recess gives an opportunity to digest the Government’s Energy Policy announcement, made just a couple of weeks ago. One thing I am keen to learn more about is the role Small Modular Reactors can play in rapidly expanding nuclear capacity. Rolls Royce now believes the technology can be approved by regulators within the next 18 months, a huge leap forward if true. This British innovation has the potential to massively bring down the cost and the timescales involved in new nuclear. That can only be good news for the workforce at Springfields here in Fylde who are ready to begin manufacturing fuels for the next generation of power plants. It should be good news for consumers too, helping lower our reliance on imported fossil fuels and, in the longer term, bills too. It is fantastic the UK remains a world leader in such specialist technology and I look forward to seeing more progress and innovation to ensure we can meet our future energy needs.