Keeping pressure up on tram card dispute
Trams, trams, trams, questions about them are asked over and over again. The tram saga has been a hot topic since the current administration at Lancashire County Council (LCC) decided to withdraw the funding in April 2014.
The decision made at (LCC) effectively banned Wyre NoW card holders from using their cards on the trams.
I thought this was unfair, and in some ways counter-productive.
There is now a new potential threat to the trams’ existence beyond Little Bispham, with the same Labour group now considering to cut off Cleveleys, Thornton and Fleetwood from the network by considering removing the maintenance funding.
The residents who know me know that I am not one to play party politics. I have always tried to put people first, but sometimes the actions and deliberate decisions of a group of councillors from one party has an effect and consequence.
Let me be clear about this, Labour made the decision to deny the use of NoW cards on the tram for Wyre residents, and now they are looking at hitting Wyre residents even harder.
Labour may play the blame game, but Lancashire County Council is the transport authority, they have the resources and authority to fund the NoW card. To suggest a scheme to put that cost on to Wyre, with its small budget and no statutory funding for transport provision, is at best disingenuous, and worse is hiding the truth behind smoke and mirrors.
I am pleased our MP Paul Maynard has been constantly raising this issue in Parliament and other authorities.
The Secretary of State for Transport visited and agreed the funding should come from Lancashire County Council, even the Prime Minister agreed with this when asked at PMQs once.
Paul Maynard has a debate on concessionary fares in Blackpool North and Cleveleys.
This will continue to keep the pressure on, and the minister has to reply.
Town council next step?
The first Monday of each month is Cleveleys Forum.
The forum is where residents, retailers, schools, churches, community groups and representatives come together to discuss issues facing out town.
At the last forum, more than 100 people attended at the Community Centre and many issues were discussed. Action points were taken away with progress to be reported at the next meeting.
One action I am very excited about is the Shop Local Scheme, a discount card that residents will be able to sign up for free and receive a discount at businesses along the coast. It is surprising what money can be saved through this growing scheme.
I am eager for residents to come to the next forum and see what they are missing out on.
We are also supporting the formation of a Friends of Jubilee Gardens.
The friends group, when properly constituted, will be work with the council and others to bid for funding to build up on the great start made by people like John Hodgkinson and David Walmsley.
What the forum shows is there is plenty of life in Cleveleys and plenty of people willing to get involved in the town.
Perhaps now is the time to look at a Cleveleys Town Council. A town council will have the authority to enact many of the changes the forum would like to see.
A small precept on the council tax each year would see a town council have its own funds to spend in the town, on the priorities the people of the town, through the elected town council committee, see fit.
I would be interested in what people think about this, a town council seems to serve Fleetwood well, perhaps it will serve Cleveleys well too.
Cleared dykes stop flooding
I’ve been working with MP Paul Maynard to tackle flooding across my area in Thornton Cleveleys.
Although we have been spared the worst of it this year and have been so much luckier than other parts of the county and indeed Cumbria, there have still been pockets that have affected residents here in Thornton and Cleveleys.
Key to protecting our homes locally is to ensure the dykes and brooks are free flowing, cleared of rubbish and debris and the pumping stations are set at the right flow level to deal with the volume of water coming out of the skies.
I know Paul was successful working with Lancashire County Council and the Environment Agency at White Carr Lane, which meant this year flooding around there was less bad than previous years.
But we must keep on top of this, and as we move into spring Paul and I will continue to ensure the dykes and water courses are maintained.