Sites that shame our port

Sites of derelict land around Fleetwood earmarked for possible development- land between Wyre Council depot and Lawtons Garage on Copse Road.  PIC BY ROB LOCK'24-2-2014

Sites of derelict land around Fleetwood earmarked for possible development- land between Wyre Council depot and Lawtons Garage on Copse Road. PIC BY ROB LOCK'24-2-2014

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Parts of Fleetwood left abandoned and derelict are shaming the port, community leaders say.

Sites include ABP on Dock Street, the Orient Building on Station Road, wasteland on Copse Road and the former Riley’s Furnishings on the corner of Poulton Road.

Leaders say they are a blot on the landscape, particularly those which line the gateway to Fleetwood, and give the wrong impression to visitors.

Other sites include the former Fleetwood Pier, green land on Highbury Avenue and the former Top Ten bingo building on Lord Street.

But community leaders believe that a vital key to bringing investment to these areas are improvements to transport links, namely the A585.

Suggestions to make Fleetwood an Enterprise Zone have also been made, which would open doors for regeneration funding and business investment.

Fleetwood MP Eric Ollerenshaw said: “In terms of empty buildings the one which I think really needs dealing with is the Orient Building on Station Road.

“It really is a tragedy to see it like that. It’s the gateway to Lord Street and I think that building is a priority.”

Mr Ollerenshaw said transport links to the town were the key to seeing sites improve.

He added: “I met with the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership to discuss regional growth and the A585.

“If we could get the go-ahead for a fish park more business would mean more traffic, which would require better transport links.

“I will be meeting with the transport department to discuss a draft plan for the next few years and I will make sure the A585 is included. In the short term, one solution would be extending tram lines to form a circle line around the peninsular.”

The A585 ‘bottleneck’ route from the M55 has long been blamed for a lack of investment in Fleetwood and was one of the main reasons for the termination of Stena Sealink’s ferry crossings.

Bob Boal, from Fleetwood Community Trust, said: “The ABP site used to be a bustling part of the town but sadly road transport access to it from the M55 led to ABP abandoning Fleetwood.

“This is the crux for the regeneration of the town.

“The other local vacant lots – Riley’s, the old Bingo Hall, spare land behind Aldi, Orient Buildings etc – would attract new building, development and firms to move into the town, if they could get here more easily.

“We already have magnet attractions in Fleetwood Market, Freeport and our super seafront, but until we get the access to them right we cannot hope to maximise the potential of the town.”

Earlier in the year efforts to improve the A585 were left out of the Government’s Growth Deal.

Another idea to bring investment to Fleetwood which would help clear up the port’s derelict eyesores would be giving Fleetwood Enterprise Zone status.

Enterprise Zones are part of the Government’s long- term economic plan to supporting businesses.

Mount ward Coun Ian Duffy said: “We would like to see Wyre Council make the case to Government for this area to become an Enterprise Zone so that it could benefit from the many initiatives that these zones offer.

“Companies would receive a 100 per cent business rate discount for up to five years and relaxed planning orders.

“The Government would also work with local enterprise groups and local authorities to help provide decent transport infrastructure.”

“The A585 would certainly benefit from such assistance and investment.”

Derelict sites and empty buildings in Fleetwood may be looked at as part of Wyre Council’s vision for development in the Local Plan.

A council spokeswoman said: “All the sites put forward are being assessed for their potential for development and the most appropriate ones will be taken forward in the Initial plan.”