County council urged to reconsider cuts to Ribble Valley countryside services (From Lancashire Telegraph)
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County council urged to reconsider cuts to Ribble Valley countryside services
LANCASHIRE County Council (LCC) has been urged to ‘think again’ over plans to cut evening and Sunday bus services in the Ribble Valley.
The borough council has sent a letter objecting ‘in the strongest possible terms’ to the proposals following the completion of a public consultation.
The feedback from the consultation is to be published in February, the county council said.
County Hall currently subsidies a number of bus services across Lancashire, which costs them £8million each year.
The proposal protects the majority of bus services but services to Blackburn, Burnley and Preston would be affected.
The borough council’s stance has been supported by county councillors for the Ribble Valley.
Nine routes would be affected if the plans are approved including Longridge to Clitheroe, Clitheroe to Nelson, and Skipton to Preston. Villages including Gisburn, Ribchester, Chipping, Read, Whalley and Waddington would also be hit by the change.
In a letter to LCC Bill Alker, community development officer at Ribble Valley Borough Council, said: “Ribble Valley is a predominantly rural area and, as such, public transport is not only highly- valued but much needed for those without a car.
“Many of the routes you are recommending to axe currently enable people from villages to travel into larger towns such as Blackburn and Burnley.”
He added the ‘further cuts’ were ‘inconsistent with the concept of ‘localism’ and will do nothing for rural mobility’.
“We would ask LCC to think again and, more importantly ‘think rural’ when considering any cuts to bus services.”
County Coun John Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “We would never have chosen to be in this financial situation but have to find ways to drastically reduce our budget due to cuts by central government. Our first priority is to safeguard the most vulnerable members of our society but to achieve this we have to look at everything we do and propose some difficult solutions.”
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