Labour’s Corbyn visits museum
JEREMY Corbyn called for better transport links and a reversal of plans to close the Valley’s last police station front counter, during a visit to Rossendale.
The Labour leader visited the Whitaker Museum in Rawtenstall, where he was given a tour by managing director Carl Bell.
A wide-ranging discussion with the Free Press covered topics including a Rossendale rail link, police cuts and the government’s controversial 4,000-home housebuilding target for the borough.
Mr Corbyn, who was speaking before an announcement that Rossendale’s last remaining police front desk will definitely be closed, said the Waterfoot base needed to stay open to maintain vital ‘face-to-face access’.
Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw announced in June that it was at risk.
The Labour leader said: “I think there has to be face to face access to the police. Not everybody has access, particularly older people, and the need to be able to talk to police directly is important. Otherwise they become more and more remote in the community.
“It’s not just about the number of people who use the counter it’s the perception of police accessibility because you want the police and community cooperation.”
Mr Corbyn called for an “holistic” approach to planning. He added: “If you are building new homes that’s good, but they have got to be genuinely affordable and that includes social housing.
“You also have to build the infrastructure that goes with it so you don’t just build large numbers of new properties without at the same time ensuring you’ve got health and education and transport services.”
Describing the East Lancashire Railway as ‘a great achievement’, Mr Corbyn said there was nevertheless consideration given in other parts of the country for heritage lines to be opened up to mainline use.
He added: “There’s now a regular service to Swanwick which there hasn’t been for 30 years. It’s well worth looking into, and to have a connection into Manchester and the main line. The short-sightedness of branch line closures in the 1960s is coming back to bite us time and time again.
“In many cases where track beds have been preserved, reopening is possible. We would start with a national investment bank for the whole country, which would be regionally-based. There will be a local basis of that infrastructure investment.”
Rossendale Scribbler on Corbyn and policing - page 8
Rossendale police desk closure fury - page 14
●● Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn at the Whitaker museum