Better road links ‘vital for growth’

Calls have been made for better road links better road links between the M55 at Kirkham and Fleetwood.
Calls have been made for better road links better road links between the M55 at Kirkham and Fleetwood.

The “tortuous” road link between the M55 Kirkham junction and Fleetwood needs to be sorted out to stop jobs and business going elsewhere.

That is the view of an influential businessman whose hi-tech engineering firm was visited this week by the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin.

Marcus Addison, of Addison, based at the Hillhouse site, spoke to the minister who was touring the area as the £50m Government funding for the Blackpool and Fylde coast area was announced as part of the Lancashire Growth Deal.

Mr Addison highlighted the plight of businesses in the Thornton and Fleetwood areas caused by the traffic snarl-ups between the M55 and the Hillhouse Business Park, which includes the A585, A586, Mains Lane and Amounderness Way.

And his views were echoed by Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard who organised the visit and who is campaigning for an improvement in transport links to the area.

Mr Addison said: “Addison is on a journey of growth and having good transport links in and out of the Hillhouse site to the motorway network is vitally important to delivering competitive parts to our customers and to attracting the highly skilled engineers to the company.

“The current road network, particularly at peak times, can be torturous and the increased journey times can also make us uncompetitive when opportunities arise across the North West.

“At times it is like treading through treacle. When we are trying to attract quality engineers, the transport times can be off-putting and we have to plan for the extra cost when we send our engineers out to Manchester and Runcorn.”

He said when the firm was considering where to build their new research and development facility, the company almost decided to place it nearer Preston to avoid the travel misery.

He said: “A faster road network will undoubtedly allow us to be more competitive, enable us to take on more staff and safeguard existing jobs.

“The Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin MP appeared genuinely interested and impressed with the work we do here.

“Having the opportunity to discuss these issues openly with him, I considered very encouraging that something will be done about improving the main arterial road network. This can only be good news for business in the area”.

He showed the minister around the new manufacturing facility, opened earlier this year by the Prime Minister, where Addison manufactures and develops composite and exotic steel parts for the medical industry, such as knee joints, aircraft landing gear for the aerospace industry and parts for F1 racing cars.

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