A WIGAN borough councillor’s calls for works on the borough’s guided busway to be halted were rejected by chamber colleagues.
At Wednesday’s meeting of the full council, Coun Norman Bradbury’s proposal also asked for a working group to be set up to consider several issues caused by the controversial transport project.
But the Wigan Independent Network member failed to gain the necessary support and his motion was knocked back by the ruling Labour Party councillors.
Tempers flared as Coun Bradbury, who represents Atherton, accused the council of “telling lies over and over again” about the busway “just like (former Prime Minister) Tony Blair did regarding chemical weapons in Iraq.”
His motion raised concerns over the cost of the works, the disruption caused to residents of Atherton and Tyldesley and pointed out a recent public meeting attended by 600 residents at Fred Longworth High School which had shown overwhelming opposition to the scheme.
Labour Couns Mark Aldred (Atherleigh), Keith Cunliffe (Leigh East) and Stephen Hellier (Tyldesley) were among those who spoke out about the merits of the busway.
Coun Cunliffe said: “We could call this motion ‘the make the ineffective Coun Bradbury a popular person fund’.
“Saying it should be halted when it’s more than half-way finished is neither here nor there.”
Coun Aldred added that Coun Bradbury had got his financial figures wrong and hailed the accessibility for disabled residents provided by the busway stopping points.
Speaking about the public meeting, Coun Hellier said he represents thousands of residents in his ward in favour of the busway not just a couple of hundred who attending the “crazy” meeting who had been “whipped up for political gain.”
This is once again the Labour Party burying its head in to the sandAtherton councillor Norman Bradbury
Adding it would be “lunacy” to stop the works now.
Deputy leader Coun David Molyneux told the chamber the busway would allow the borough’s young residents better access to employment and education opportunities in Manchester and pointed to the success of a similar project in Cambridge.
Coun Jo Platt, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “We understand the worries about the disruption the works have caused but there are so many merits of the busway, it is so important for our young people.”
Summing up his motion, Coun Bradbury said: “This is once again the Labour Party burying its head in to the sand, taking no notice of the voters,”
The multi-million pound busway project has been designed to improve public transport links between Leigh, surrounding areas, and Manchester city centre.