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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Correction : Not Quite Forgotten Fleetwood

Our Posting on Monday this week drew reference from published media news reports of a Billion Pound fund to aid regeneration of town centre (below). I am advised from an informed source that in fact FLEETWOOD was included in an original list (July 5, 2019) of English towns standing to benefit from this Government initiative. In fact the listing had just been expanded to one hundred town centres across England - of which both Blackpool and Kirkham are beneficiaries.

I stand corrected and now all three Fylde Local Authorities are included in the Government's funded scheme aimed at regeneration of high streets.

Another policy announcement from Number Ten this holiday weekend posted a £1 Billion splurge to aid up to fifty town centres across English constituencies with the regeneration of their High Streets was a further weather vane pointing to a General Election in the offing. At the same time the Prime Minister bounced the ball back to the BBC's court insisting that they have responsibility for ensuring Over 75s' continue to have freedom from the tithe extorted on the British public under the guise of a 'Television License'. That the BBC has grown overly large for its own good and now a repository for mostly third rate 'talent' for its programming - is self evident. A smattering of quality productions like gold dust cover the dross which makes up much of the Corporation's output. Does the public have to be held to ransom to subsidise the enrichment of talking heads; mostly London and Home Counties based - now all too familiar ? Getting back to the header though >

Fleetwood: trawlers, trains, industry, steamers and ferries - how it was in the 20th century.

A list of towns of all shapes, sizes and geographic locations was conveniently provided in the Government's latest policy handout. They are all to benefit from largesse to be doled out to local authorities and agencies, with objectives of regenerating their principal commercial and community centres. Blackpool is on the list, as is Kirkham in the Fylde. Fleetwood is nowhere to be seen. How is that this north Fylde coastal community is unworthy of a government bounty when places like Clacton, Grimsby, et al are considered deserving ?

A port and fishing town bereft of ferry of any kind (other than the vessel traversing the Wyre), bereft of trawlers and bereft of any rail link, now reliant for largesse from a leading local sponsor for multiple quality works, as well as a singularly minded Football Club Owner putting his hand in his pocket to place the town's team on the EFL calendar of matches - providing capital investment for a first class stadium and training ground. The lessons from Bury and Bolton are stakes in the heart of English football swimming in the billions of investment in players (mostly foreign) at the top tier of what used to be a national sport and is now a circus for the benefit of the few. But again back to Fleetwood >

Where are the voices espousing the interests of the town - insisting their representatives at local, regional and national level make a robust case for future generations, as well as the present? A suffocating silence is overwhelming for a town struggling to understand why it is so unloved that its 'leaders' cannot even make a case for renewal. The efforts of Wyre Dock Development Ltd have so far brought not a tremor of reaction from responsible elected representatives in Poulton. More reaction comes from tremors under a field in Plumpton.

The jury is out on what is to become of Fleetwood's valuable waterfront property. But elsewhere housebuilding brands are ruining swathes of Fylde landscape - piling hundreds of what are jokingly termed 'homes' on ever small plots in computerised planning aimed at maximising their returns to shareholders and Directors. Such schemes are alarmingly bereft of public transport services; or indeed any community services. GP surgeries are swamped by increasing lists of new incoming residents, schools facing ever expanding classes, whilst the Fylde's roads are swamped with seemingly endless traffic, morning, noon and evening peaks.

Consequences of the warming climate and rising sea levels threatens much of the Fylde coastline - is now being met by land grabs for ever more sweet deals benefitting rapacious house building businesses eyeing up more fields to ransack. Just where are the jobs for all the armies of new 'home owners' ? If not locally - then a lengthy daily commute hurrying out in the morning and returning tired every night beckons. The cycle continues and becomes ever more wearisome for all of us.

That Fleetwood is NOT on the list of communities considered in need of government subventions joining the fifty towns named today benefitting from this £1 Billion urban centre regeneration kitty is nothing short of scandalous.

Bring on the next Election.

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