Fylde MP calls for skills to head off developers

Fylde MP Mark Menzies visited a new housing development in Staining and discussed a potential skills shortage in the local building trade.

Tuesday, 12th July 2016, 12:00 pm
Mark Menzies MP with Simon Whittaker and members of the Jones Homes team and Fylde Borough Council building control department

And the MP touched on a controversial issue vexing people across the Fylde and Wyre – the number of new housing developments coming through the planning pipeline.

Mr Menzies was welcomed to the Jones Homes site, The Heathers, by regional director John Roocroft and given a tour of two homes, one nearing completion and another fully furnished show home.

During the visit, he took the opportunity to discuss issues with staffing which could affect build-out rate on Fylde developments.

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He said: “I am concerned because there are thousands of new homes with planning permission in Fylde but if they are not being built quickly then we will never be able to say we have a five year supply of housing.

“That is a key part of planning legislation and is designed to ensure areas have enough homes to cover future requirements. However, if build-out rate is slow then somewhere like Fylde may never meet that target and more and more homes may keep being given planning permission without being necessary.

“I was keen to get the views of a local developer as I know this is something the Department for Communities and Local Government will be looking at keenly in the coming months, to combat the housing crisis in other areas of the country.

“Britain desperately needs more tradespeople and I always tell young people to consider their futures carefully when deciding on their next step after leaving school.

“For many, university will not be the answer and a career in construction could be a well-paid alternative to further education.”

While he was at The Heathers, Mr Menzies was also introduced to site manager Simon Whittaker, who recently beat stiff competition to be named Local Authority Building Control Residential Site Manager of the Year for the North West.

He added: “Speaking to Simon I got the impression that he was really passionate about what he does and from the high quality finish of the properties on The Heathers, I can see that is reflected in the work.”