Cat Smith MP: These exciting schemes will help everyone access our wonderful coastline

The Bay Cycle Way is to be extended from Glasson Dock, pictured, to Fleetwood, in a bid to attract more tourists.
The Bay Cycle Way is to be extended from Glasson Dock, pictured, to Fleetwood, in a bid to attract more tourists.

In her weekly column, Fleetwood MP Cat Smith welcomes new initiatives to attract more visitors to the port and revamp the town centre

I’ve been pleased this week to throw my support behind a project to transform our town centre. Some of the ideas being considered include improving access routes into the town, create ‘zoned’ areas such as retail, business, culture and community, improve digitalisation, installing pedestrianised areas and turning Fleetwood into an eco-friendly town.

I’ve written to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government urging them to consider the town’s request for a portion of the Future High Streets Fund. I’m delighted, after supporting a bid to make the Morecambe Bay area more inclusive, the project is to go ahead.

This is a really exciting scheme that will have a fantastic impact on the whole of the constituency.

Morecambe Bay Partnership has been awarded the funding to extend the Bay Cycle Way for 24km from Glasson Dock to Fleetwood. The scheme will also create five new family friendly cycling routes as well as the three electric bike hubs at Fleetwood, Grange and Morecambe.

This project will establish the Morecambe Bay area as a centre for walking and cycling whilst creating more inclusive access for disabled visitors and young children, and providing better access for everyone to the Bay’s inspiring natural landscape, heritage and cultural sites.

The team will also create a new family-friendly signature cycling festival in 2020 to attract new visitors. Its forecast the project will generate a 5.8 per cent uplift in the visitor economy, create 18 direct jobs, support more than 900 indirect jobs and safeguard over 11,172 jobs around the Bay. 0.35 ha of brownfield land will be redeveloped and 30,000 sq m of the public realm will be improved. Congratulations to Morecambe Bay Partnership and I look forward to enjoying the new facilities with my family when the project is completed.

I’ve also given my support this week to the Access Fylde Coast Project.

It’s so important that people with disabilities have the same opportunities to access and enjoy our amazing coastal areas here in Wyre. I’m therefore delighted to support the plans for a new digital app to make it easier for people to find disability-friendly attractions, accommodation, restaurants, shops and welfare facilities. A new ‘buddy’ system will also make a difference, with trained volunteers linking up with people with disabilities to help them experience all that the area has to offer.

The team behind the project, Disability First say if successful they’ll be able to support local businesses and help them to develop their accessibility. In turn, this will bring additional benefits to the area with an increase in tourism and revenue.

This is a pioneering project which will play a huge role in changing preconceptions of disability.

I’m very disappointed that just one Conservative MP was able to block the progress of an updated sex and relationships curriculum in Parliament.

The actions of a single Tory MP have prevented the whole of the House of Commons voting for the new guidance on sex and relationships education. Opposing it sends a terrible message to LGBT young people at a time when we should make it clear that we’ve moved beyond the shameful days of Section 28.

We have a moral imperative to ensure that all children receive LGBT inclusive education, and there is a clear legal requirement for schools to comply with the Equalities Act.

I hope the government will now make clear we will pass this guidance at the earliest opportunity and that there will be no going back.