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November 5 in blog by Katie

First and foremost, I know that this Letter from Westminster is not supposed to be a partisan piece. It can sometimes be hard to conceal political views, I know, but I do my best. Nonetheless, it would be remiss of me not to point you in the direction of my website with my response to Cllr Blackburn’s Open Letter – you can read it athttp://paulmaynard.co.uk/blog/response-to-blackburns-open-letter. Any comments or responses are welcome – either by email in reply to this, or by any other means.


The letter presented an interesting contrast to the meeting I had last Friday morning with some of the community leaders and other interested groups about how to maintain the development and improvements we have seen in recent years in Grange Park. I always make the point that I think the area gets a bit of a raw deal in terms of ‘reputation’, and it has significantly improved in recent years thanks to so many pulling together. That’s not to say it doesn’t have problems, and we spent a useful period of time discussing how to ensure we tackle problems such as adult illiteracy, for example, but I was struck by the constant theme of optimism. The new Grange Park Community Association, led by the ever-active Terry Bennett (certainly to judge from a glimpse of his diary), is proving to be a superb focal point, and you can never go anywhere in Grange Park without realising the contribution Maureen Horn makes in holding everyone to account. But it would also be nice to see some good news stories about the area more often…


One suggestion for the Gazette is about a new Scout group. I was particularly pleased to hear of the plans to develop a Scout troop for the estate, something which I know has been long anticipated. The Scouts in Blackpool have been a superb force for good over so many years, and Grange Park has no lack of unmet need in this area. I hope they will all be able to come down to London at some point as did a handful of the Scouts from 2nd Norbreck last week as part of the Scouting movement’s ongoing engagement with the work of Parliament. MPs were invited to join their local Scouts for a quiz session (sadly, despite my heritage of appearing on 15 To One we failed to win!) and they then had a tour round Westminster the next day. I think they enjoyed their chance to ‘peek’ behind the scenes – I’m only sad I couldn’t help carry them to victory!


Another crucial meeting took place down in Westminster as I met with the Highways Agency to discuss ongoing issues with the A585, which remains a barrier to economic growth. The Highways Agency took me and my colleagues on the Fylde Coast through the challenges facing the road in the years ahead if all the economic development plans currently in the pipeline actually occur. The extra journeys involved will put an immense strain on a road already under pressure. We discussed the pinch points, the needs of pedestrians, and the likelihood the ‘blue route’ ever going ahead – and it is immediately clear we need to ensure that the Local Enterprise Partnership fully understands the need to progress this project urgently. It remains clear that the A585 is a bit of an ‘ugly duckling’ in the Highways Agency’s portfolio of a ‘strategic road network’ as the port of Fleetwood (very sadly) no longer has ferry services. Whilst we may hope this will one day change, my focus is on ensuring that even now, we keep trying to find ways to relieve the commuting nightmare that so many face (and I used to face when I had to commute).


Finally, I had a whirlwind of other meetings, including one with local representatives of the police to discuss how they see the current situation for the profession, as well as a trip to meet with the Wyre Cabinet to discuss items of mutual interest and survey the overall scene. I was also able to pay a visit to Myerscough College, which I had never been to before, to address the regional conference of the Riding for the Disabled Association about my own experience of RDA. The RDA has two branches on the Fylde – one at Wrea Green, Seaside Venture, and one at Midgeland Road. We were able to hear not just from me but also from the parents of a young girl who attends the Midgeland Road centre, and I believe it gave a good insight for the many volunteers gathered as to what the impact of attending RDA is. Whilst many might think success is measured in terms, perhaps, of Paralympic medals, I would suggest that a charity like RDA’s success is as much about the young children who develop social skills and the discovery of a sport that they can do well at, rather than facing a childhood where sport didn’t have a role to play. I was delighted to meet some of those I remembered from my own time as an RDA rider. I suspect few thought I was heading to be an MP as I practised my dressage skills! Midgeland have just launched a £40,000 appeal for a mechanical horse simulator (called Queenie) so am sure they would welcome any donations…

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About Paul

Hello, and thanks for visiting my site! As the Conservative MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, my job is to serve the interests of my constituents and represent their concerns in Westminster. Hopefully, my website will bring you a little bit closer to what is happening and how you can get involved. Find out about where I stand on the things that affect us locally and how you can share your thoughts with me by using the links at the top of the page. I look forward to hearing from you!