LETTER: M65 and rail link ideas are pure fantasy

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ONE thing you can safely say about Pendle is that it definitely has its fair share of super optimists.

Last week’s “Letters” page thrust into the spotlight just two of the rose-coloured spectacles brigade.

First up is Colne’s Derek Mann, admirable advocate of the Selrap rail-link cause. His claim that the idea is gaining credence is hardly born out by the facts. In its 10-year push for success, it has made many friends but achieved not an inch of actual progress. Why, only a little while ago, the Selrap hierarchy themselves were undecided about the scheme’s viability. The “it will never happen” alas is, I feel, much nearer the mark than Mr Mann’s buoyed-up hopes.

Second to the plate is Jean Riley who has conjured up, almost as if by magic, the prospect of an extension of the M65. Again a fine idea. Again doomed to failure.

We have passed this way before. Around 1990-91 there seemed to be at least a very slim chance of an M65 extension. Support from high-ups, plans prepared, public meetings held - the optimists felt it could possibly be all systems go. But no. The hype seemed to taper off and a mole in County Hall told the “Colne Times” the dream was ended.

The newspaper’s exclusive was dismissed by county and local authority spokesmen as “nonsense and a simply rubbish”. It wasn’t, was it?

The financial ramifications remain the major stumbling blocks to Selrap or M65 extension proposals. For either project, there wouldn’t be much change, if any, out of £100m.. I suspect if people were asked a preference, they would plump for extending the M65. Certainly, it would be better used by both passengers and freight outlets.

I’ve not the slightest doubt... both proposals are plucked from the world of fantasy.

Talking about fantasy... the three local textile chiefs in their photo-shoot described the shuttle in your last issue as “a great thing”, “a very impressive piece of art” and “a good, appropriate piece of work”. All well and good and I bow to their expert opinion. But I could swear the new town centre monolith bears only a passing resemblance to the shuttles I saw on my old mother’s looms many years ago when cotton ruled and Britain’s bread did indeed hang by Lancashire’s thread!

ERIC GREENWOOD

Beaufort Street, Nelson