Build more homes in villages, says MP

MP Ben Wallace (below) said new housing should be spread out and not cause centres such as Thornton to merge with nearby places.
MP Ben Wallace (below) said new housing should be spread out and not cause centres such as Thornton to merge with nearby places.

An MP has called for smaller villages to “share the burden” of future development plans to prevent urban areas of Wyre from merging.

Ben Wallace, MP for Wyre, made the comments during a public meeting held by Thornton Action Group to discuss Wyre Council’s local plan.

MP Ben Wallace

MP Ben Wallace

The group estimates more than 8,016 properties could be built in the borough by 2030 under the terms of the plan, 1,617 of which they claim could be built on land in Thornton.

Mr Wallace told the meeting: “If you spread it out, some of these villages would be happy to see these developments on green fields.

“We are very conscious at this end of Wyre that Thornton has a separate identity to Poulton, which has a separate identity to Fleetwood.

“It’s important that we maintain these barriers between each community because I’d hate to see them seen as just a suburb of Blackpool.

“I will be brave to my villages, and other parts of Wyre, and say you need to share out the burden.”

Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP, Paul Maynard, also spoke at the meeting, which was held at Thornton Methodist Church, on Victoria Road East.

He said: “The bottom line has to be we don’t want to see our communities merge.”

Coun Penny Martin, Labour representative for 
Cleveleys Park on Wyre Council, said: “I’m really pleased to see (Mr Wallace) say we need (developments) to be spread across the borough.”

The floor was opened up to around 90 members of the public in attendance.

One local resident, Bill Waller, said: “I know (new towns) Letchworth and Milton Keynes very well.

“Why not build a new town perhaps Over Wyre?

“Put all these houses there but not in one group.
“Gradually build it up with industry, schools and libraries.
That would save all of the green space round Thornton, Fleetwood, Poulton.”

Robert Drobny, chairman of Preesall Town Council, said: “I don’t necessarily agree with Mr Wallace because rural communities have different requirements to other areas and if you have people moving into this setting it can create problems with the lack of infrastructure and links to transport.

“Having housing built on green land and areas susceptible to flooding is wrong and they should be building on brownfield sites.”

A spokesman for Wyre Council said: “We are currently working jointly with Blackpool and Fylde Councils to establish housing needs across the Fylde coast and expect the number of homes required to increase across the borough however we don’t know what the numbers will be yet.”

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