This week, we learned that Lancashire County Council are revisiting their plans for the Colne and VillagesBypass, having belatedly realised that their proposals, published in October, for six different by-pass options crudely drawn on a map posed more questions than answers.
Despite, like the majority of Pendle residents, wanting to see a solution to the traffic problems in Colne, I welcome this decision.
The county council’s failure to put plans in Colne Library led to my office receiving numerous complaints and I publicly called for the consultation deadline to be extended.
It was then brought to my attention that the council had not written to residents or even organised a leaflet drop of areas that could be affected by their plans.
I therefore started to write to local residents making them aware of the consultation and urging them to respond.
My actions undoubtedly raised awareness of these plans and put pressure on the council to extend the deadline for submissions which they did eventually by a week. I even raised the legality of the timescale of the consultation with Ministers after meeting with concerned residents in Foulridge.
Everyone wants to see a solution to the congestion in Colne, but this rushed consultation, with certain county councilors talking about going “at this at 100mph”, has not helped.
Plans need to be drawn up on the basis of evidence and proper traffic studies, showing where the traffic is coming from and going to and why a multi-million pound bypass is a better option, than say a radical redesign of the North Valley road.
In times when the Government is still dealing with a massive budget deficit, there needs to be a thorough appraisal of all the options to the traffic problems in Colne if the council have any hope of securing the funds to proceed.