£750k road scheme U-turn

Rossendale Free Press - - Front Page - CHAR­LOTTE GREEN

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.”

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