PEOPLE in Pendle overwhelmingly support the building of the controversial bypass between Colne and Thornton-in-Craven, according to a major survey.

Three-quarters of Pendle Council's Citizens panel, which represents a cross-section of local people, backed the proposal to build the new road which aims to ease traffic congestion in the North Valley Road area of Colne, the town of Earby and villages such as Foulridge and Kelbrook.

Of the 1,500 people questioned, 77 per cent backed the by-pass, 18 per cent were against it, one per cent said nothing should be done and three per cent wanted none of the options outlined in the survey which was carried out on behalf of Lancashire County Council as part of its public consultation on the scheme.

"Clearly local people support Pendle Council's view that a bypass is needed to relieve severe traffic congestion at North Valley Road in Colne and along the A56," said council chief executive Stephen Barnes.

"A final decision, however, is in the hands of Lancashire County Council which is responsible for the highways."

Opponents of the by-pass argue it will have little effect on the gridlock along Colne's North Valley Road which, they claim, is mainly local traffic.

They fear the road will lead to new businesses and homes being built along its route. The survey results have been passed to the county council.

A final report will be compiled before county councillors make a decision in the next few weeks on which one of four road schemes, including the Pendle by-pass, should get the green light.

The Citizens Panel, the first of its kind in Lancashire, was set up last year to help Pendle Council to consult people on how to improve its services.

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