Map may hold route to new resort funds

The congested A585 near Kirkham which may benefit from Assisted Area Status funding in future.
The congested A585 near Kirkham which may benefit from Assisted Area Status funding in future.

The chances of more EU funding and a jobs boost for the Fylde Coast have improved after parts of north Blackpool, Cleveleys and Thornton were added to a crucial aid map.

A draft map of areas entitled to Assisted Area Status has been released and this time the northern part of the resort has been included.

Fleetwood and the Hillhouse corridor and areas of central and south shore Blackpool plus Warton area also included for consideration.

Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard said he was delighted with the inclusion.

He said: “This is great news for the wider Fylde economy and will see businesses being able to bid for EU and Government funding to drive jobs and investment forward.

“I met the Business Minister in December to press for the inclusion of parts of Blackpool, Cleveleys and Thornton, so I am very pleased that we have seen this appear in the draft proposals.

“I will continue to lobby to keep it in proposals, and I urge local firms and stakeholders to take part in the consultation too so as to make the case for our area’s continued inclusion.

“This opportunity will help grow and diversify the local economy, and reinforce the growing recognition of the need to upgrade the A585, which will in turn strengthen the arguments of so many of us. I have long argued that to broaden the economy locally, we need to improve both our skills base and our infrastructure.

“Given the amount we all pay into the EU, that we will be getting something back for a change!”

Coun Fred Jackson, Blackpool Council cabinet member for urban regeneration, said: “Having Assisted Areas status would potentially allow Blackpool businesses to apply for higher levels of public funding when applying to funding streams such as the Regional Growth Fund and the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative.

“It may also encourage new businesses to be attracted to the area. Our officers continue to work hard to ensure we get the best possible deal for Blackpool’s economy.”

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