Bypass plan ‘will kick start investment’

Traffic chaos on the A585. The road is a key link between Fleetwood and the motorway.
Traffic chaos on the A585. The road is a key link between Fleetwood and the motorway.
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Plans for a multi-million pound bypass to solve one of Lancashire’s most notorious congestion nightmares will help put part of Wyre ‘back on the map’, business and community leaders said today.

The Gazette reported last week how Conservative party chairman Grant Shapps paid a

flying visit to Poulton to see for himself the traffic bottlenecks between Windy Harbour and Skipool.

He was there to announce the new £41.3m bypass plan which came as part of a Government £15bn roads giveaway in Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn statement.

And business chiefs now believe the plan – the route and start date for which are yet to be announced – is not only well overdue, but may bring much needed investment into towns like Fleetwood.

Fleetwood town councillor Stan Leadbetter said the current road links into the town are so poor, the port is effectively “cut off” if there are any roadworks.

“We have lost a lot of business over the years and I think our poor road links have a lot to do with that,” he said.

“Personally I think it is about time we had some investment into our main roads. If you get any roadworks on there whatsoever we are almost cut off.

“This will help the town. The area has done well to get this amount of financial commitment from the Government at a time when we still have austerity.”

Coun Emma Anderton, the Wyre councillor for Warren ward, said: “It’s really positive news for residents in Fleetwood.

“I hope it does materialise. It’s the main route out of Fleetwood and at the moment it’s stifling enterprise and businesses from investing here.

“I’m sure Stena ferries would have had second thoughts about leaving Fleetwood if there had been a bypass. Hopefully it will generate business and jobs in our area.”

Fleetwood MP Eric Ollerenshaw said: “It’s brilliant news. It’s what we need and with the extra £5m given out earlier this year to repair potholes, we are finally seeing something happening to improve the roads.”

Wyre Council leader Peter Gibson said: “For regeneration and economic growth in the area we have to improve the A585, so this announcement is just what we need.

“£41m is a massive amount. It is a very busy road and the bypass will be good for the people who live here and work elsewhere such as Preston and Manchester, as well as for workers coming to the area.”

Details for the new route – which could rise to a cost of £50m – will be thrashed out by the Highways Agency and local stakeholders starting with a meeting this week.