Bypass plan means end of rail hopes

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Putting aside the merits or otherwise of the proposed bypass, two things are certain.

First, it will be built if only as a reward for local MP Andrew Stephenson’s loyalty to the present government, voting how and when requested by Cameron’s whips.

Second, it spells the death knell for the SELRAP rail proposal. At least some of the bypass route will follow the old train track and makes it impossible to realise the dream of the Colne-Skipton railway reopening.

The very strong case for the railway has local and regional, if not national, sense. At a time of increasing demand, it is vital to have alternate routes over the Pennines. The heroic campaign by the loyal and intelligent members of SELRAP has been scuppered by the callous indifference of the Department of Transport.

Like most MPs in the north of England, Andrew Stephenson offered his support for SELRAP in the past.

Like his predecessor. the not-missed Canadian exile Gordon Prentice, this has turned out to be tokenism.

The importance of an integrated and comprehensive public transport system for the UK has never been appreciated nor acted upon by all recent governments.

Having lived abroad and being familiar with other European countries and languages, I can assure readers that in this matter we are the poor relation of many places in Europe.

Andrew Stephenson is a career politician without seeming any other interest in life save the retention of his Parliamentary career. That requires our votes at the next General Election and I for one have my doubts about his capacity to represent the best interests of Pendle.

There is only one party that would – if given the chance to make the decision – spend the money currently in Europe on transport integration and that is UKIP. I am not a member of any party, but they shall have my support.

Edward Johnson

Aspen Lane, Earby