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£39.5m funding bid for revised East Lancashire bus scheme
A REVISED bid for a £39.5million bus scheme for East Lancashire will be submitted to Government bosses.
The Pennine Reach bus scheme was designed to link Darwen, Blackburn and Hyndburn via a high-speed bus lane, together with new, or improved, bus stations.
Transport ministers rejected the original £50million bid last year.
Now Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council and Lancashire County Council have shaved off £10.5million from the original bid.
They have dropped plans for a bus lane in Darwen, reduced some routes in Hyndburn, cut back on public realm improvements and downgraded ticketing technology.
Transport chiefs said they were more confident about the bid as it shows that developing some sections would boost economic regeneration in the the Burnley Road area of Blackburn, as well as encouraging more people to take public transport.
The scheme sparked controversy because some residents faced losing their parking spaces and, in some cases, their gardens to make way for a bus lane.
Under the new plans, which transport chiefs said took into account feedback from the consultation, the Oswaldtwistle section will be removed.
Plans have been scaled back for Blackburn Road, Accrington, as well as in Rishton and Great Harwood.
There have been no changes to the plans for Clayton-le-Moors, Church Gateway, Stanhill, West End and Knuzden.
At a Blackburn with Darwen executive board meeting last night, the revised project was resubmitted in time for the September 9 deadline.
Council leader Kate Hollern said: “We’ve still got some bits to sort out, but it is really important this bid is submitted.
“There are very few chances to draw funding into the borough. This is one and we’ve got to go for it.
“It is important that when we get investment residents can actually see the benefit of it.”
The Government will make its funding decision on the scheme in December 2011 and, if the bid is accepted, works could begin in 2013.
Click on the link below for more information on the proposed changes.