Weekly News readers give their opinions on the issues of the day
New links need more ambition
Back in May, Trams to Lytham campaigned for Blackpool (and Fylde) to apply for the government’s Transforming Cities Fund, an initiative aimed at improving transport in urban regions. We strongly believed the bid should have involved linking the tramway to the South Fylde Line, bringing much prosperity to the area.
Instead, the local authorities ignored this suggestion and prepared a joint bid with Preston which would have improved bus links, provided a new Cottam Parkway railway station and increased train frequency on the South Fylde Line.
Recently, the shortlist of 10 urban areas was announced for funding, and the Preston bid was not one of those chosen. There are likely multiple reasons for the failure of the bid, but it is reasonable to assume that lack of ambition is one of them, since many of the successful bids involve larger scale projects.
While we are fully supportive of any transport improvement in Preston, a joint bid with them was not necessary.
Collectively, a Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde bid would have met the threshold for investment and could have benefitted the local area far more than the submitted proposal.
Increasing train frequency on the South Fylde Line would do very little to improve our transport network without also being reinforced by light rail investment. The line does very little to connect residents and tourists to the key areas of Blackpool, and higher frequency would not change this. Additionally, neither proposed bus improvements nor the Cottam Parkway station would have benefited Fylde significantly.
In contrast, a tram link to Lytham and St Annes would solve many of the transport issues faced in the area, improving connectivity, accessibility, congestion and the local economy. Such a bid would have also had much more substantial public support.
It’s a shame councils have yet again failed to address the transport needs of the Fylde coast, but perhaps this failure will encourage more ambition in the future.
Could you run to help poorly pets?
Many runners will have found out whether they have been lucky enough to secure a much-anticipated ballot place in the 2019 London Marathon.
PDSA is the UK’s leading veterinary charity, and we’re urging animal lovers to run for us and make a difference to the lives pets and their owners.
When owners have nowhere else to turn, PDSA is there. But it costs £60 million every year to provide our vital lifeline and we’re asking runners to help us continue our life-saving work.
Runners joining Team PDSA will be given fantastic support, including a post-race party in London, an after-race massage and goody bag, and a passionate cheering squad to help you round the 26.2 mile course.
For anyone interested in running for PDSA and helping us continue to treat pets and change lives please go to www.pdsa.org.uk/london-marathon.
Fundraiser at PDSA, Telford
A plus side to the Canada-style deal
No one said it would be easy – and the Brexit negotiations show it is far from so.
But we voted to leave the EU and leave we must, and not just in name but in reality.
The EU has not been keen to help with this, as giving us a good deal could be seen as encouragement for other member states to leave. But now Brussels is offering us a Canada+++ deal and we should bite their hand off. Theresa May’s so-called Chequers deal must be ditched.
A Canada-style deal does still leave the problem of the Irish border, but it is not insuperable. Mrs May talks the talk, and she has to walk the walk and follow the Referendum mandate.
North West MEP, UK Independence Party