Burnley MP “appalled” after being asked to post bus petition

MP Gordon Birtwistle collects names for the petition to have the electronic display boards returned to Burnley Bus Station.'Photo Ben Parsons
MP Gordon Birtwistle collects names for the petition to have the electronic display boards returned to Burnley Bus Station.'Photo Ben Parsons

BURNLEY MP Gordon Birtwistle is “appalled“ after Lancashire County Council said they will not receive his bus station petition in person.

Last month, Mr Birtwistle launched the “Time To Sign” campaign at Burnley Bus Station, on behalf of members of the macular degeneration society.

The campaign aimed to get the lights on the departure boards at the Centenary Way site turned back on, after they were switched off in December, as part of Lancashire County Council’s budget cuts. Funding for signs in Nelson, Lancaster, Chorley and Skelmersdale was also withdrawn.

Now, with nearly 2,000 signatures on his petition, Mr Birtwistle wants to present it directly to LCC, while accompanied by three members of the macular degeneration society. But the council have said that the petition should be sent by post.

Mr Birtwistle said: “We’re still going. I think it is disgraceful that people who are paid for by public taxes refuse to meet an elected member and three ladies who have worked hard on this campaign.

“It is absolutely outrageous. If they refuse when we’re there, I will be speaking to Eric Pickles, the community secretary.

“We’re not posting it. We need to show the strength behind the opposition.

“The ladies are being treated with contempt, and so am I. I am not prepared to put up with it.

“The council have not got the right to do this.”

Responding to Mr Birtwistle, County Councillor Malcolm Barron, lead member for buses, said: “The current economic climate has meant that the county council has had to make savings and by not renewing the contract to operate the electronic bus signs, it has saved £47,000. In addition, two new screens would have been needed for an existing interchange, adding further to the costs.

“I understand that we will receive an electronic petition asking us to reconsider using the signs at Burnley bus station. We will respond to the petition in due course.

“Bus information is still available on timetables at the station, the Traveline website, via SMS and internet, or by calling Traveline on 0871 200 22 33 from 8am to 8pm.”