A county councillor is urging residents to make their voices heard on new proposals for an A56 “Villages” Bypass.
The consultation on the proposals, which could see the M65 and Foulridge linked together around Colne by 2021, was set to close tomorrow. But due to demand, it will now be continued for another week.
County. Coun Paul White said: “I’m delighted that the views of residents have been heard. It’s not a huge amount of time, so we need to make sure that people respond in the extra week they have.
“I would urge everyone to respond, tell their neighbours and spread the word so that their views can be heard.
“It’s a small victory for those people who had concerns about the process.”
County. Coun. White had written to the leader of Lancashire County Council County. Coun. Jenny Mein earlier in the week, complaining about the way the consultation has been conducted.
In his letter, he said: “The consultation documents were not available at Colne Library when they should have been, meaning that the window people have had to view them has not been great enough. Many people are only just finding out of the proposals now. Indeed I believe that there are still no plans available at Colne Library for at least one of the proposed routes.
“I believe that plans should have been made available, and consultation events held, in all of the villages affected. The plans are very difficult to find on the Lancashire County Council website too.
“Has there been a deliberate attempt to make this the consultation which does not consult? It is beginning to look as though this consultation is just part of a process, rather than to actually listen to the views of residents. Well no more. I will not stand by as the faces of these villages are changed forever without the residents being aware.”
In his document, County. Coun. White also expressed his differing views on the proposed bypass - stating that it is “integral to the future growth of Pendle” but that resident’s homes in Blacko, Foulridge and Higherford will be directly informed.
He added: “I have been informed that 10 property sales have fallen through in Foulridge alone since it was splashed on the front page of the paper.”
Responding County Coun. Mein, said: “An indicative new route for the longstanding proposal for a A56 Colne to Foulridge bypass features as part of a much wider transport strategy which is the first step towards ensuring current congestion problems don’t hinder future economic growth in east Lancashire.
“Before the consultation began, Coun. White had expressed an interest in the masterplanning process and been invited to view the document as well as receiving an invitation to a briefing for councillors.
“It’s very early days and we need to do a lot more work to establish the need for a bypass, including which if any of the various route options to take forward, before we’ll be in a position to consult meaningfully in more detail with residents and businesses who could be affected.”