Mixed reactions from residents to bypass plan

New proposals for an M65 to Foulridge bypass have been met with mixed reaction from Pendle residents.

As part of our “Build Our Bypass” campaign we have been out and about talking to local people about the latest Lancashire County Council plans.

If given the green light, the ideas, which form part of a major East Lancashire Highways and Transport Masterplan, would be implemented by 2021.

For many, the bypass would be a successful way of solving traffic congestion problems on North Valley Road and surrounding estates.

But for some, there are fears that businesses could be affected and that a bottleneck could be created through rural villages.

Those welcoming the news include Union Exchange landlady Maggie Owens, Clifford Smith and Buchanan Solicitors and Estate Agents solicitor Stephanie Collier, and North Valley Residents Association Chairman Jim Smart.

Mrs Owens said: “I think it is a fantastic idea.

“From early in the morning, nine o’clock, the traffic (on North Valley Road) is horrendous, and also at five o’clock when everybody comes home from work.

“How there haven’t been more accidents I will never know.”

And Mr Smart, who has been campaigning to stop speeding on Birtwistle Avenue, added: “I think it is a good idea if it comes to fruition. But I don’t think the money is there at the minute to do it.

“I would like to think it would stop traffic coming through, and using the estate (Birtwistle Avenue) as a rat run.”

For staff working on North Valley Road, the bypass proposals have been labelled “bitter sweet”.

Customer services manager at Matalan Umar Arif said: “As a business I think it may be pretty difficult, because it might be taking away passing trade.

“With the high street they made them pedestrian only and that has taken away trade and we’ve seen the death of the high street.

“As a local I do think it’s a good idea. A month and a half ago I was stuck in traffic for an hour and a half.

“The bypass could be made a toll road, so if somebody does really want to get out they would be willing to pay.”

What do you think of the new bypass proposals?

Click here to register and have your say on the stories and issues that matter to you