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Councils reject aid offer

March 2004 Fylde by Air aerial view.
Junction of Mill Lane and Lytham Road, Warton. PIC BY ROB LOCK

March 2004 Fylde by Air aerial view. Junction of Mill Lane and Lytham Road, Warton. PIC BY ROB LOCK

Two parish councils have rejected Government plans for their villages to be made “assisted areas”.

Warton and Westby have been put forward as areas which could benefit from the scheme – run by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and aimed at providing help to businesses in areas of “potential growth”.

Becoming an assisted area means that those areas are more likely to attract grant funding to help firms.

But, explaining Warton Parish Council’s reason for objecting to the plan, chairman Coun Julie Brickles said: “If you are in an area that’s economically disadvantaged it could be a positive thing, but I don’t think anybody would call Warton or Westby disadvantaged.”

Mike Wright, from the campaign group Warton Residents Against Poor Planning, said: “The idea is to try to attract EU grants that local businesses can then apply for to invest in plant and machinery etc.

“On the face of it, this sounds attractive but it has caused a lot of concern in the two parishes not least because of the lack of consultation.

“In Warton, many residents are worried that the money will instead be used to turn Warton into a town and build up to 1,200 houses here - which, as most people are aware, the vast majority of residents and the parish council are strongly opposed to.”

A number of other areas across the Fylde coast have been earmarked for the status - which has won the backing of Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard.

A spokesman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said: “Assisted Area status means that businesses in these areas will be eligible for funding, although it doesn’t guarantee it.

“That could be UK or European funding.

“The main criteria is it has to be an area where there is potential for economic growth.”

The consultation has now finished and the successful wards are now expected to be decided in May or June.

 

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