The Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps visited Poulton-le-Fylde to make a major policy announcement. Following an election promise, he launched a new government fund to reinstate lines lost as a result of the Beeching cuts in the 1960s & 70s.
“Many communities still live with the scars that came from the closure of their local railway more than five decades ago,” Mr Shapps said.
“Investing in transport links is essential to levelling up access to opportunities across the country, ensuring our regions are better connected, local economies flourish and more than half a century of isolation is undone.”
£500m has been allocated to fund feasibility studies into reopening lines. This includes £100,000 to develop proposals to re-open the Poulton to Fleetwood line.
Responding to the announcement Geoff Mason, Policy Manager at the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce said:
“Reinstating the rail line to Fleetwood is a positive step to improve connectivity. The area currently suffers from significant road congestion which discourages visitors and makes commuting very difficult. Improving access to the town should benefit the local economy with increased visitor numbers, access to a wider talent pool and more investment.
“While this move will be welcomed by businesses and residents alike the government must follow through with further funding. The £100,000 to develop proposals would need to be followed up with substantial investment once a plan has been agreed.
“Reducing congestion and increasing capacity on public transport have significant economic benefits. Smaller local projects like this alongside larger national and regional projects like HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail are all important steps to achieve this.”
The Secretary of State was joined by local MP and Transport Minister, Paul Maynard who represents the Blackpool North & Cleveleys constituency.
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