Cat Smith MP column: Let's hope we avoid traffic chaos as work begins on the A585 Norcross improvements

The public has been consulted on the improvements to the A585 Norcross roundabout
The public has been consulted on the improvements to the A585 Norcross roundabout

This week, Cat Smith MP delivers the latest news on improvements to the Norcross roundabout, and pays tribute to lifeboatmen and teachers

For those of you who regularly use the A585, you’ll know that work is starting on improvements to Norcross roundabout. Over the next week, the plan is to remove the roundabout, followed by the removal of all the islands. This will take several months before the main work begins. Road closures are due to start in August and the whole project is scheduled to continue until April next year.

Congestion is a massive problem on the A585 with 26,000 vehicles using the roundabout each day. With construction of the new A585 Windy Harbour to Skippool dual carriageway expected to take place between spring 2020 and 2022, there is growing demand to accommodate future traffic growth – hence my repeated calls for better transport links and a rail service from Fleetwood to Poulton.

The plan is to increase the size of Norcross roundabout, widen the approaches to the junction and install traffic signal controls. There will also be signal controlled crossings and provision for cyclists.

I hope a great deal more thought has gone into managing congestion during this period of work, than went into the recent roadworks near the petrol station, which led to traffic chaos for miles around.

I’ve written to the chief executive of Highways England seeking reassurances that measures have been put in place to ensure a smooth flow of traffic, and I have urged continuous monitoring of the traffic situation to gauge the disruption caused.

If you have any difficulties or concerns, please get in touch with me at Cat.Smith.MP@parliament.uk or call my office on 01252 490440.

What a busy weekend it was in Fleetwood! Congratulations to the organisers of the annual Fleetwood Lifeboat Day – and happy birthday! The lifeboat team is celebrating its 160th anniversary – what an amazing achievement. And congratulations also to everyone who once again made Fleetwood’s Festival of Transport such a success.

‘Tram Sunday’ has become the UK’s largest free family vintage transport and arts event. It’s certainly the biggest event in Fleetwood, with stalls, music, cars and amusements and a fantastic day full of entertainment for all the family. Each year, the festival just goes from strength to strength. Well done to the organisers and all involved.

So far this year I have spent a great deal of time talking to headteachers about the crisis in education. Universally they are struggling to recruit and retain staff due to the stress and pressures of meeting targets, meeting students needs and delivering on parental and Government expectations.

There’s not enough money to deliver those expectations with budgets being slashed. This week the Education Select Committee concluded its year-long investigation into school funding.

In their report they say “total school spending per pupil fell by eight per cent in real terms between 2009–10 and 2017–18. Per pupil funding for 2019–20 is expected to be similar to 2011–12 levels”. Teachers, unions and parents have described the scale of the impact this has on children and young people, and on those working in education.

The committee has called on the Government to urgently address underfunding whilst demanding an increase in funding for special educational needs and disabilities to address a projected deficit of at least £1.2 billion.

As teaching professionals look forward to a well-deserved break I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them for all their hard work. Give yourselves time to recharge your batteries and then we’ll continue the fight again in September!