Council tax rise for sea wall

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Fleetwood Town Council has agreed to increase its annual precept to raise £100,000 towards the Rossall sea defences improvement scheme.

The decision will mean a rise of just £2.53 a year on a band D property but will result in a huge contribution of £100,000 over five years.

Councillor Alan Marsh, Chair of Fleetwood Town Council, said: “We’re all in this together and must support Wyre Council to ensure that the bid is successful.

“If this scheme gets the go ahead it will protect 7,500 properties and 20,000 people. We have to work together to safeguard the whole community. Raising the precept is the fairest way of spreading the cost among everyone who is set to benefit.”

Garry Payne, Chief Executive of Wyre Council, added: “I’m absolutely delighted that Fleetwood Town Council has recognised the seriousness of this project and made it a priority.They must be congratulated for being the first organisation to come forward with a significant financial commitment.”

However, Tom Norton, of campaign group the Fleetwood Development Partnership, claimed the town council had been pushed into the move and said the precept should be used for smaller projects to benefit the town - not massive schemes like the sea wall.

He said: “Wyre Council have not given them enough time. The town council had it sprung on them.”

However, Wyre says it is crucial that every pulls together, and other larger organisations have been asked for help.

Mr Payne continued: “We are also in discussion with Lancashire County Council over what it can contribute and I would like to remind businesses in Fleetwood of the importance their contributions will have in securing funding for this scheme. I understand that they are experiencing tough times but every contribution, however small, adds up.

“The backing of the town council and the 1,500 pledges of support from residents combined with financial donations from businesses will send a very strong message to DEFRA and the Environment Agency that the whole community champions this cause.

“I’d also like to thank the Fleetwood Weekly News for helping to raise awareness about this bid. It really does impact on all corners of the community and goes beyond simply improving flood defences.

“Not least, it will assist in supporting regeneration objectives for the peninsula and presents great opportunities to work with colleges and schools to re-skill local people, so that they are best placed to take advantage of job opportunities that arise from what will be a significant construction project.”