Double U-turn on Colne bypass plans

County Coun Azhar Ali says the Colne bypass is not a done deal

County Coun Azhar Ali says the Colne bypass is not a done deal

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COUNTY councillors yesterday confirmed a double U-turn — on the A56 Colne-Foulridge bypass and slashing rural bus service subsidies.

The Lancashire-wide authority’s cabinet agreed that scrapping its cash support to underused Sunday and evening routes was a step too far for public transport users.

They agreed they would work with bus companies to save the 72 services — including 32 in the East of the county — on a nindividual basis rather than impose a blanket withdrawal of subsidies.

The county’s ruling body also approved a rethink on the Colne-Foulridge bypass after public consultation revealed strong opposition to all six proposals for the link road, including its preferred ‘Brown Route’.

The senior councillors agreed to look at alternative options, including major improvements to the Vivary Road/North Valley Road corridor in Colne to ease traffic jams for vehicles heading from the end of the M65 to the transpennine A6068.

The meeting was attended by protestors against the new road.

County cabinet member and Pendle Labour Parliamentary candidate Azhar Ali said: “It is important to maker clear that the bypass is not a done deal.”

Environment director Steve Browne said no decision on the £38 million bypass was imminent .

He made clear the proposals in the East Lancashire Highways and Transport Masterplan being debated were not final plans.

County transport chief John Fillis said improving rail services, boosting East-West connections improving links to Manchester were key to the success of the blueprint.

Coun Ali also called for better rolling stock and an hourly service on the East Lancashire line from Blackburn through Burnley to Colne and extending it to Skipton to be key aims of the masterplan.

Fellow cabinet member and Burnley county councillor Marcus Johnstone backed proposals in the blueprint to make the M65 three lanes, saying the two lane sections were ‘dangerous’ .

County leader Jenny Mein said: “What this shows is that the county council will listen to residents' views and think creatively. ”

Pendle Tory county councillor Paul White said the bus subsidy U-turn was ‘hugely welcome news’.

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