Burnley bus services face the axe

Burnley Bus Station. G160212/2b
Burnley Bus Station. G160212/2b
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Bus services around Burnley could be slashed in a bid to make multi-million pound savings by county hall chiefs.

Main routes from Burnley to towns including Nelson, Colne, Padiham, Clitheroe and Accrington could be axed on evenings and Sundays.

Buses to areas including Rosegrove, Rosehill, the Stoops Estate and Kibble Bank are under review by Lancashire County Council bosses as part of plans to save £3.8m. over the next two years.

Evening, Sunday and Bank Holiday services to outlying villages including Worsthorne, Harle Syke, Fence and Newchurch in Pendle are also under threat.

Council Leader Julie Cooper said the loss of “lifeline” services would be a big blow for hundreds of people in the town.

She said: “It will inevitably affect the most vulnerable people in the town like the elderly, the unemployed and young people who cannot afford cars. It is going to lead to increasing isolation especially for older people because the bus service can be a lifeline. It is very regrettable.”

Coun. David Heginbotham, who is the ward councillor for Worsthorne and Cliviger, added: “The situation is really grim. I spent 20 years battling to get the Todmorden Curve link in and now they want to take the bus services away.It will affect businesses and the elderly.”

The county council says it is proposing to reduce support for buses receiving subsidies to focus on maintaining daytime services and ensure the county’s most vulnerable people can access public transport.

Council chiefs propose to invest a further £500,000 in dial-a-ride services so community transport providers have the capacity to cater for those most in need.

A consultation on the proposals has been launched but if given the green light the services could be withdrawn by May 2014 as part of £300m. county council cuts over four years.

County Coun. John Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “We have to find ways to drastically reduce our budget due to cuts imposed by central government.

“Our first priority is to safeguard the most vulnerable members of our society but to achieve this we have to look at everything we do and propose some difficult solutions.”

The consultation documents and the full list of services affected can be viewed online at www.lancashire.gov.uk/haveyoursay. You can respond on the website before January 10th.