From Paul Maynard MP <[email protected]>
Subject Paul Maynard MP's Letter from Westminster
Date May 7, 2024 11:28 AM
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Dear john,

It has been a mix of sweet and sour in recent weeks.

The sourness has been what has become known as the Fleetwood Stink – though depending on what way the wind blows, it can just as much be the Thornton or Cleveleys stink. For some it may just be a nasty smell, but for others who may have existing medical conditions, it can be having a devastating impact.

The Environment Agency was a little slow to wake up to the risk in my view – not least as the company concerned has ‘form’ when it comes to waste disposal. The Environment Agency itself has now issued an enforcement notice on the company in relation to the Fleetwood site. This notice states that the exposed areas of the landfill be capped by May 15 at the latest. This is, in my view, a hard deadline and not a target and every effort should be made to complete works before that date - I have already seen early signs that work is progressing towards that deadline. I continue to liaise with the Environment Agency over the landfill odour issues and, amongst other things, have requested that stop checks take place on vehicles travelling to the site to ensure that materials being accepted are fully compliant with the operating license, which will now take place.

I still have significant concerns about how Transwaste is operating the site, the types of waste being accepted (which are coming all the way from Yorkshire, and no-one is quite clear what it consists of) and the effort being made to resolve the ongoing problems such as the lorries sitting everywhere each morning waiting for the site to open.

Even if the odour stops, my concerns won’t.

The ‘sweet’ was a more pleasant, but just as troubling, visit to the Stanton & Novelty confectionary makers off Devonshire Road. You may have seen media coverage in the past week or so about the ‘death’ of Blackpool Rock in the face of Chinese imports. With such an energy intensive process, costs for making rock have gone up and so the price of cheap Chinese imitations have made them more attractive. Coupled with the fact that many of the skills associated with rock are dying out - even wrapping a stick properly is a skilled task that is beyond me – it is no wonder that the 10 manufacturers across Blackpool are concerned.

That’s why I have been supporting them with their application to make Blackpool Rock Stick a protected designation in the same way as a Chorley cake or Melton Mowbray Pork Pie so that pale imitations can’t ‘borrow’ the name. It’s a complex process, so I am assisting in trying to raise the profile in Parliament. Together the firms employ almost 150 people – jobs Blackpool can’t afford to lose.

The benefits for jobs and the wider local economy of the Government’s investment in Blackpool and the Fylde has become ever clearer in recent days. The Station Quarter around Blackpool North is coming to fruition, with the tram extension opening on 12 June. The jury remains out as to whether it will make the difference they say it will, and whether it was the best use of £20 million, but the area as a whole, alongside the Holiday Inn looks so much smarter. Coupled with the rising hulk of the new Civil Service Hub and the full opening of the market half of Abingdon Street market, the compelling vision that underpinned the Government’s £300 million investment in the town is becoming clear. No-one said the town could be turned round overnight, but the first fruits are clear.

Further north, journey times between North Blackpool, Thornton, Cleveleys and Fleetwood have significantly improved now the A585 is fully open. Congestion in Carleton and Poulton has significantly diminished also – leading to significant improvement in air quality round the primary schools from having less standing traffic. Not all the teething problems have been fully ironed out, I know, and there still remains the running sore that is Norcross roundabouts. I heard of two friends last week whose car was written off, and another major crash on Saturday. Ongoing reviews and incremental changes are fine, but National Highways needs to understand the navigation of the roundabout from a driver’s point of view in all directions of travel to improve safety.

And at the end of the A585, the much improved exterior of Fleetwood Market is both impressive and inviting, we have new employers such as Trevor’s Food Service opening up in town, the Affinity Outlet going from strength to strength, and Fox Bros plans for the port sound exciting and raise the prospect of creating the engine of local growth and prosperity that the town has always needed.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Maynard MP
01253 473071

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