People power wins day over bus cuts threat
Proposals to withdraw evening and weekend bus subsidies have been modified after Pendle residents had their say.
The plans, which we revealed before Christmas, would have seen changes to six services in Pendle, including the withdrawal of the last bus from Burnley to Barnoldswick on Monday to Saturday nights.
Evening services between Higherford and Worsthorne would also have been cut, as would the Sunday service between Higherford and Burnley and the Sunday service from Clitheroe serving Pendleside villages.
However, at a meeting of the county council’s cabinet on Thursday, it was agreed to amend the proposals and to work with bus companies to reorganise their services.
Barnoldswick resident and campaigner Lyle Davy, of Westfield Drive, ran a Save Our Barlick Buses campaign, which received huge backing in the town.
An e-petition he set up was signed by more than 40 people in a day.
Reacting to the news, he said: “Obviously this is great news for the whole town.
“I argued hard that we needed these services for employment, and for socialising. I’d like to thank the hundreds of people in Barlick who’ve helped with the campaign, offered their support and responded to the consultation’.
“This is a victory for the whole town, and shows that people power works. What we as individuals have done is huge. We’ve changed the mind of the county council”.
And County Coun. Paul White, who represents Pendle East at County Hall, said: “This is hugely welcome news.
“Finally the Labour administration, who are targeting their cuts at rural areas and vulnerable people, have actually listened to the people.
“It’s a huge victory for Barlick and for the services saved in Colne and Pendleside too.”
Speaking after the meeting, county council leader Jennifer Mein said: “What this shows is that, although we are dealing with an extremely difficult financial situation, the county council will still listen to residents’ views and that we will think creatively when we’re looking for ways to reduce our spending.
“Central government is severely cutting our funding and we’ve got no option other than to reduce county council expenditure by £300m in the next four years.
“This is forcing us to make some very unpalatable decisions; but the reality is that if we don’t make cuts, we will be in a much worse situation than we are now.”
Under the budget proposals, the county council will spend £757.466m in the financial year 2014/15. It is also proposed that the county council’s element of council tax will rise by 1.99%.