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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Fleetwood's Moving

The Fleetwood Weekly News carries a forthright headline on its front page this week '£150M dock plan is not pie in the sky'. A comment made to a local Town Council Member who voiced concern that he 'had heard this all before' at a recent meeting of Fleetwood Town Council. A great deal of activity is underway at many levels involving both Associated British Ports, owner of Wyre Dock, and Wyre Dock Development Ltd.

Wyre Dock, Fleetwood - as at 2017

Meetings with businesses and organisations are ongoing to bring forward an outline masterplan for Wyre Dock - one that is deliverable with financial partners at hand. Wyre Dock Development over the past weeks have held focussed discussions with : Blackpool Transport Ltd., Transport for the North, Beijing Construction and Engineering Group Ltd., Fleetwood Back on Track, BrockCarmichael Ltd., Merlin Ltd., Wyre Council, individually with almost all of Fleetwood's Fish Merchants and Traders; China Britain Business Council, NPL, Halite Ltd., Fleetwood Town Football Club, Minister for the Northern Powerhouse, Trampower Ltd., Smiemans bv, Eric Wright Group, Rossall School, Helical Technology are all among diverse property, construction and professional contacts examining with positive interest our vision for 'Fleetwood Quays'.

Arrangements are now in place for fact finding visits to Rotterdam (dockside regeneration) Arnhem (open air heritage museum, Antwerp (light rail and transport museum), The Hague (port redevelopment and tramway links), Belgian coastal tramway and operator - all during June. The Fylde coast 'Business in the Community' project team; LEP, Lancashire County Council, Northern Powerhouse structure, and the office of Lancaster and Fleetwood MP - Cat Smith, are keenly aware of proposals for Wyre Dock's regeneration under the brand 'Fleetwood Quays'.

The originating trigger for the entire project - a new heritage museum featuring representative tramcars that served Fleetwood over successive decades is beginning to take form in conjunction with overall regeneration objectives. The venue is expected to feature newbuild exhibition space for the Fleetwood Museum's hidden treasures as well as waterside experience focussed on the town's fame for its trawler fleet. Both a visitor tramride as well as reconnecting this multi-million pound development with the national rail network through modern tram train service from Fleetwood (no wires necessary) are both essential elements now being pursued. Understandably the multiple layers of investment and new infrastructure needed demand considerable effort on the part of the Principals - with not one penny of public funding solicited at this time. Equally important is a need to bring into view the fit for purpose modern fish processing and trading centre now urgently needed. Design build planning is underway for a new site in close proximity to the Fish Dock under a joined up team involving both ABP and Wyre Dock Development Ltd.

Nothing comes easy these days and especially creating an entirely new economic driver for a coastal town. Fleetwood is in good company in this regard, but local support from both business and the community and our credible objective is making a huge difference.

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