Focus Article April 2018

I continue to get out and about in the constituency in order to keep up to date with local news and offer my assistance where I can. 

There are many issues which are regularly featured in my mailbag, such as health cases, benefit issues, employment matters, flooding, planning issues, road safety and road maintenance. 

I am liaising closely with all the relevant authorities including your local and County Councillors about these and many other local issues of concern. 

Road maintenance has featured heavily lately and I appreciate the concerns local residents have about the state of our roads.  This winter, particularly, has been terrible for the roads and created more potholes. 

On top of this I know the bad weather has hampered repair works. I continue to work with all County Councillors and have met recently with both County Councillor John Shedwick and County Councillor Matt Salter, who I know are working hard on this issue. 

In recognition of the importance of our road network and the impact which potholes can have, the Government has made £1,718,000 available to Lancashire County Council from the Pothole Action Fund during the 2017/2018 financial year. 

This is on top of the £20,514,000 which the County receives through the 2017/2018 Highways Maintenance Block Needs Formula. 

When Lancashire County Council announced its budget in February, the Leader confirmed that £23 million was to be spent on highways maintenance in total next year, with £10 million of that budget to be allocated to tackling potholes.  The current administration has added £10million to the highway repair budget since taking office last year. 

The County’s policy on pothole repairs is that they are filled in when they reach a depth of 40mm.  However, too often the repairs have not been lasting. As a consequence the County Council has recently invested in six high velocity wagons which cut out the pothole, put adhesive down, fill the hole and then seal it. This repair comes with a two year guarantee, but work cannot be done until the weather improves.  I hope this will mean that we start to see a real improvement in our roads in the near future.

I was delighted recently to meet with Wyre Chief Executive, Garry Payne, and the Leader of Wyre Council, Councillor David Henderson.  I believe in communication at all levels and I know the importance of speaking to local and County Councillors to get their take on local issues.  I also never forget who I represent so please do not hesitate to contact me if you think I could help with an issue or to give me your opinion of local or, indeed, national issues. 

I am making representations to the current administration at County Hall about the Sunday bus service (operated by Catch 22 Bus) that runs between Knott End and Poulton. 

As many of you will be aware the service is due to stop at the end of April.  I know this service is extremely important to many constituents.  I disagreed when the last administration at County Hall stopped the subsidised funding for this and many rural bus services. I was grateful to Catch 22 Bus for plugging the gap by offering an extension of their 24 route on Sundays to cover the 2C route as a goodwill gesture, even though it was not profitable for them to do so. 

Given the background to the case and the goodwill which Catch 22 Bus has shown to local residents I have asked the County Council to consider providing funding to enable the Sunday extension service to continue.  I will let you know the outcome.

I am also in touch with the Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group regarding the out of hours GP services (known as Extended Access Service) it provides.  The Extended Access Service for Fylde and Wyre currently operates from Freckleton Health Centre and Fleetwood Health and Wellbeing Centre. 

I am concerned that the locations of these two hubs disadvantage my constituents in Over Wyre, due to the distance they will be required to travel to access the service.  My concerns have been reinforced by data which I have recently received on the usage of the Freckleton and Fleetwood centres: out of the 3452 appointments which were booked between September and the end of January only one patient from Over Wyre used the service.

It is clear that Over Wyre patients are unable to access the service and this will be exacerbated if the Sunday bus service between Knott End and Poulton ceases to run. I advocate the provision of an additional hub in Poulton. I am due to meet Dr Tony Naughton, Clinical Chief Officer at NHS Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group, in April and I will be raising this matter with him again then.

In March I was delighted to invite Rose Brewin, from Garstang, and her family to have tea with me at the House of Commons.  Nine year old Rose organised a New Year’s Eve party and raffle to raise funds for a young friend who suffers from cerebral palsy to undergo life-changing surgery. She wrote letters to various businesses asking them to donate prizes for a raffle.  Her letter writing efforts secured over 40 prizes for the raffle, including a signed football from Manchester United which she auctioned on Facebook. Rose is an inspiration and I wanted to thank her for her determined efforts and selflessness. It was a real pleasure to meet and chat with her and her family.

If I can be of any assistance to you please ring my Office at the House of Commons on 0207 219 5804 or my Constituency Office on 01995 672976, email me at wallaceb@parliament.uk or write to me at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.