Discussions to transform a major part of Fleetwood’s dockside into a major leisure and retail centre continue to progress. Wyre Dock Development's imaginative concept for the area of the same name includeds a hotel, themed restaurant, visitor and heritage attractions, retail outlet and private accommodation on what is currently a mix of industrial and fish processing units, many of which are in need of extensive repair to remain viable.
The land is owned and operated by Associated British Ports and on overview of the proposals have been presented to the company’s property department. John Woodman of Wyre Dock Development says, “Fleetwood, like many coastal communities is in urgent need of major investment and bold planning if it’s to reverse decades of decline. Our concept for the Wyre Dock site would be a game-changer for the Town in the same way places such as Hull, Grimbsy and the likes of Belfast and Liverpool have used this type of development to revitalise their fortunes. We have been working for over 2 years with partners who have a proven track record and the experience to deliver this scale of project and have been in very positive discussions with potential funders based in the UK and oversees. Also following a recent visit to Fleetwood and the Fylde Coast by members of the House of Lords Select Committee on Regenerating Seaside Towns and Communities, we have been invited to contribute to the inquiry.”
Two major supporting aspects of the Wyre Dock proposals are what becomes of the existing fishing-industry businesses and the much-debated restoration of Fleetwood to the rail network. Mr Woodman’s fellow director Frank Heald has been working closely with the processors and distributors active on the site now and plans for a new, fit-for-purpose, fish park are set to be unveiled. Mr Heald said, “This is an important first step in the development programme. It releases a large area of the land while giving the fishing industry a home suitable to sustain and develop their businesses for the foreseeable future. All the traders on the site have signed up to the plans and we will be making an announcement about this in the near future.”
How to connect Fleetwood to the rail network is never far from the news and Wyre Dock Development have again been working tirelessly behind the scenes to come up with a realistic proposal. The company has consulted with leading international companies on the most efficient and practical transport options available and believe a mix of tramtrain and light rail technology would be a viable solution not only for Fleetwood but to create an extended transport network for the Fylde Coast.
Mr Woodman adds, “There is an opportunity for Fleetwood and it’s residents to look forward to the future with optimism but it requires the decision-makers to see the massive potential for regeneration in our area from bold ideas and substantial investment. Supported by our partners we have presented our proposals to Associated British Ports and invited them to share in this vision, to be a part of that bright future for Fleetwood and we look forward to continuing to work with them to make this happen.”