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Fleetwood workers on site as huge project officially begins

The launch of work on the new sea wall at Rossall. From, left: Councillor Roger Berry, Cabinet member with responsibility for sea defences at Wyre Council; Councillor Peter Gibson, Leader of Wyre Council; Environment Secretary Owen Paterson MP; Eric Ollerenshaw OBE, MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood.

The launch of work on the new sea wall at Rossall. From, left: Councillor Roger Berry, Cabinet member with responsibility for sea defences at Wyre Council; Councillor Peter Gibson, Leader of Wyre Council; Environment Secretary Owen Paterson MP; Eric Ollerenshaw OBE, MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood.

Construction jobs on the new £86m sea wall project Rossall and Anchorsholme have already gone to Fleetwood people with more on the way.

As the first rocks arrived in Fleetwood for the massive coastal protection project last week, some of those ready to start work on the scheme are people from the town who have been specially trained locally.

The work, which will take three years to complete, is creating around 180 jobs and project bosses say 15 per cent will go to local residents.

Roberta Austin, centre manager of Build Up, the training agency which is part of Blackpool and The Fylde College, said people from across the Fylde coast, will be directly involved.

So far 17 people from Fleetwood have been signed up for the scheme in areas such as preparing the site, vehicle marshalling and plant operating. And she said others who have already been trained up, or are still in training with Build Up, will be ready when more work becomes available as the scheme progresses.

She added: “Although this scheme will not employ massive numbers of people just from Fleetwood alone, there will still be a good number who do benefit.

“The contractor, Balfour Beatty, has engaged fully with us and there will also be opportunities with the subcontractors.”

At the official launch of the sea wall scheme, held last week, a Wyre councillor stated the new coastal defences at Rossall couldn’t come soon enough.

Coun Roger Berry, member with responsibility for sea defences at Wyre Council, said the recent battering the Fylde coast took during storms in December and February meant the work was essential, especially as Rossall and Anchorsholme have been identified as at high risk of flooding.

Coun Berry said: “The first rocks arriving at Rossall mark the fruition of years of effort to bring about major coastal defence improvements.

“The new sea defences will protect 7,500 homes in Fleetwood from flooding and bring peace of mind to residents, something that can’t come soon enough after the weather and tide conditions we’ve experienced in recent months.”

Environment secretary Owen Paterson visited the construction sites at Rossall and Anchorsholme to see how the money will be spent protecting 12,000 homes and creating jobs for local residents.

He said: “This is one of the biggest schemes I have seen - it’s an enormous sum of money. It is a significant economic activity in its own right that will bring employment.”

He praised the work of the local councils, who managed the bring the cost of the project down from the original estimate of £104m.

Fleetwood MP Eric Ollerenshaw was on site at Rossall, added: “This is real money coming into Fleetwood, creating real jobs and apprenticeships.”

 

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