Drive to open up cross-Pennine transport links

Paul White Pendle Council

A £300,000 study including the option of building a Colne bypass, extending the rail line from Colne to Skipton and the improvement of trans-Pennine road links into Yorkshire will get underway next month.

And the government’s announcement  has been welcomed by Pendle Council leader Paul White who declared it could transform the borough’s economy.

Paul, who is to step down at the next election, said: “The right transport connections in the future will open Pendle up for greater economic growth and prosperity.

“This study and investment for Transport for the North has the potential to develop Pendle from being a transport cul-de-sac into a thriving east-west corridor for economic growth.”

Coun White added: “We have been actively lobbying for better road and rail links for years, supported by Lancashire County Council, Lancashire Enterprise Partnership and our business and local community.

“Following a 13 week public consultation in 2018, Pendle Council advised the Government’s Transport for the North Plan.

“Highways England is including the issues we face in this study and will invest £13bn on better transport connections for the North.

This has the potential to transform our local economy.

“The announcement is fantastic news as it could drive forward our ambition for a better connected Pendle.

“This has the potential to transform our local economy, support jobs, housing and economic opportunities in our area.

“Part of the study will look at ways to relieve congested roads in Pendle which people have had to endure for a long time,” he added.

The study will focus on the feasibility and cost of a new A56 villages bypass including a new road from the A6068 Vivary Way which currently cuts off the route of the railway line.

Coun White said: “By tackling this, the Colne to Skipton railway could be re-instated.”

The government’s study will not look at extending the M65 into Yorkshire but at improving the A6068 to Keighley between Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Findings from the study will be published in the autumn.