£750k road scheme U-turn
ACONTROVERSIAL £750,000 double roundabout scheme has been scrapped.
The decision was announced that the public realm scheme for St James Square would not be going ahead following talks between the Bacup’s Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) board and Lancashire County Council (LCC).
The single roundabout will now be kept, and funding will be redirected into improving pavements, lighting and a safer pedestrian crossing.
In a statement, Bacup THI board chairman Coun Andy MacNae said that the town’s county councillors had confirmed their opposition to any proposal that moved the existing roundabout.
He said: “Given our reliance on LCC funding for the project, this means that the proposed Bacup THI Public Realm Scheme cannot go ahead.
“The existing scheme is therefore stopped. Whilst this decision may be popular with those who have opposed change I believe that the great majority of people in Bacup will be deeply disappointed that our chance to deliver transformational change to the town centre has been lost because of this opposition.” The THI board will now draw up a final public realm plan to be completed by 2018. The £747,000 scheme was to be funded with £418,000 earmarked from the £2 million lottery grant along with further LCC funding for the changes to the road system.
Bacup representatives councillors Peter Steen and Jimmy Eaton had objected to the scheme at the meeting on behalf of the ‘people of Bacup’.
Coun Steen said: “It wasn’t our crusade, it was the opposition of the people of Bacup to the twin roundabout that was voiced to myself and Jimmy over many months that we then took to the meeting. We will be sticking with a single roundabout and enhancing the public realm around it, [under the new proposals] the pavements would be brought up to a decent heritage standard and the lighting would be improved. There would be a pedestrian crossing outside the library but it would allow traffic to flow, we can’t make it a pinch point. The people and taxpayers of Bacup didn’t want [the old plan], but now we can get what they do want.”
County Coun Keith Iddon, LCC cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “We are working closely with Rossendale Borough Council and the THI board to develop alternative proposals which will support the local economy by improving the way this area looks and feels, and at the same time consider the issues raised by residents and county councillors who want the design to reflect the culture and history of an old town centre like Bacup, with the fountain being retained.
“The funding we have already committed will remain allocated to the scheme, and we’ll consider any extra costs which may be needed to deliver it as they arise.”