In one of Geoff Crambie’s erudite lectures on “Old Colne”, he relates how, when he asked Alderman Frank Wilson, the last Freeman of Colne, why he and his fellow generation of councillors had allowed the destruction of so much of old Colne, the reply given was simply: “Geoff, we knew no better”.
With this in mind, let us look at the situation we now find ourselves in regarding the proposed Colne-Foulridge bypass.
Twenty five years ago, some of our local politicians did all in their power to stop the eastward extension of the motorway into Yorkshire along the South Valley.
The predictable result of this is the situation we now experience on the North Valley.
The first answer of the politicians to this problem was: “Let’s tarmac over the railway track to Foulridge”.
This has now been refined into the various bypass schemes we can see on display in Colne Library.
The most telling version is the one that shows the road extension from Foulridge around Noyna to join the road over the Moss. I say this because I think it shows the planners know very well that most of the traffic is actually going in that direction, over to Keighley, Bradford and West Yorkshire.
The new proposed road to Foulridge will take only the traffic going to Skipton, the Dales and North Yorkshire. The rest will still be crawling through Colne.
The other problem with this route is that it will only transfer the problem further down the road, to Earby, or Crosshills and Cowling. But at what cost?
We could see this new road running around the whole north side of Colne in one big arc.
Anyone who loves the glorious countryside to the north of Colne will find they are never more than a few hundred yards from this road. The peace of Blakey Bottoms, Old Ebbys and the canal will all be gone; the views ruined and for what?
If the road goes to Foulridge, it goes in the wrong direction; if it goes all the way to the Moss it is a huge detour through our cherished countryside.
Then will follow all the development around the corridor of the bypass, and the added traffic that will regard this road as a new, fast west/east link from the M6.
Politicians of the past, having damaged so badly the town of Colne, are leaving it to the politicians of today to now ruin the countryside around Colne.
Don’t give them the chance to say: “Geoff, we knew no better” a second time!
Harrison Drive, Colne