LETTER: It is SELRAP silly season

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It’s that time of year again - the SELRAP silly season.

This, as most of your readers will know, is the organisation that wants to open the Colne-Skipton rail line. It was their laudable ambition when they were formed 10 years ago.

Last year at their annual junket, they said it was a “matter of when, not if” for the project ideas to advance.

Now, in 2011, they are still getting carried away with their fairytale hopes and dreams.

In your last issue, Peter Dewhurst presented a concise coverage of the annual meeting.

SELRAP chairman Mr Derek Jennings referred to the Grand National and boldly suggested: “We are running down to the finishing line”. That’s even before they’ve even come under starter’s orders.

Past and present Pendle MPs have been lavish in their support for the link scheme. “SELRAP is leading a fantastic campaign”, said Andrew Stephenson. Last year, Gordon Prentice said the plan was “a priority”, but at the same time, “couldn’t pontificate” about the proposed closure of the children’s ward at Burnley General Hospital.

Is that what they mean about getting one’s priorities right?

SELRAP have done remarkably well to build up a flush of support from Westminster and Brussels, as well as local authorities and private industry. But how long before some of the support wanes after 10 years of so little progress?

In the near full-page coverage of the AGM, 13 words under the heading “Issues highlighted” were, I feel, of particular significance.

Those words ... An urgent need for a major assessment of the viability of the project.

Have the SELRAP top brass now realised the scheme is no longer within the bounds of possibility? That it is now financially unworkable or feasible? Perhaps some of the SELRAP supporters are beginning to feel that way too.

The idea is excellent, but it never has been practical nor, 10 years on, it is even less practical now.


Beaufort Street, Nelson