Efforts to revive ambitious fish park proposals for Fleetwood have been welcomed.
Fleetwood’s MP Eric Ollerenshaw raised the issue in Parliament when he sought MPs’ support for what he called a “Billingsgate market of the North”.
Billingsate is a 13-acre site in London where fish and seafood from all over the world is sold in one, vibrant site.
The MP hopes funding can be found to set up a similar thing for nearly 30 Fleetwood firms, which process and sell fish for national and global markets, but which would benefit from better accommodation.
Plans for a fish and food park in the town were first mooted at least a decade ago, when Wyre Council hoped for funding from various sources, including the North West Development Agency.
But when the Agency disbanded, the scheme came to a halt.
Paul Wilson, who owns Oban Fish Selling in Wyre Dock, said: “It can only be good news that this is being discussed seriously again.
“If you had all the merchants together in new decent premises it would be really good, providing the site was in the right location.”
Coun Pete Murphy, who recently took over as economy portfolio holder for Wyre Council, added: “We’re fully supportive of Eric in what he’s trying to do, and any assistance would be welcome.”
Mr Ollerenshaw also hopes the fact that parts of Fleetwood have now been designated as a relatively deprived area, with “assisted area” status, may help.
During the debate in Parliament, he said: “Fleetwood still has thriving fish processing businesses, which export all over the world; tons of shellfish go to places such as South Korea. But these businesses are small, and they are in poor buildings and in poor conditions. There is the potential to bring them together in a new Billingsgate of the north, with proposals from Wyre Council that would be a game-changer in terms of adding to new employment and new skills in the Fleetwood area. I am asking today for support from ministers.
“We have massive potential to build on thriving family businesses.”