Petition to have guided busway sent for review

Andy Burnham
Andy Burnham
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RESIDENTS have begun a petition to have the decision-making process behind a controversial transport project sent for judicial review.

Campaigners want further legal scrutiny of the consultations and decisions which led to the go-ahead of the route running from Leigh to Manchester city centre, which has caused widespread fury due to the motoring chaos caused by the construction work.

Residents from the online Facebook group Enough is Enough set up the petition to Leigh MP Andy Burnham at change.org, which has currently attracted more than 1,700 signatures.

The campaigners say the decision to launch the petition was mainly caused by a feeling of deep frustration that residents’ feelings and opinions were not being taken into account.

Higher Green resident Sandra Robinson, who created the petition, said: “I just don’t feel they are listening to us. The way they are going about this project is just ridiculous.

“We don’t want it and we are not the only ones. People in Little Hulton, Walkden, Swinton and Salford are all going mad, Atherton didn’t want it because they’ve nowhere to park and Mosley Common residents are unhappy because they’ve no stop and are expected to travel to Ellenbrook.

“When you look at what they’ve done the steps don’t add up. When places such as Liverpool are taking bus lanes out I want to know why they think it was a good idea to spend millions of pounds of our money on a white elephant.

“I’ve set up the petition out of sheer frustration.

“We are asking to be heard and this is the only way we can think of to get somebody to hold a conversation.”

Sandra and her fellow campaigners have outlined a long list of problems opposing the busway, from the destruction of wildlife habitat and green land to concern over children making their way across Tyldesley square to a perceived lack of benefits compared to the cost of the project.

Sandra says she is particularly angry about the plans for Tyldesley town centre, which will see traffic stopped so buses can travel against the current one-way system.

The issue of the busway has caused deep anger in Tyldesley, Astley and other communities along the route, with the authorities and the project’s political supporters coming in for heavy criticism amid claims of a lack of public engagement.

Sandra also believes the money on the £76m busway project could have been better spent improving other aspects of the area’s public transport infrastructure, in particular through upgrades to the rail network.

John Mitchell, assistant director for legal at Wigan Council, said: “We are aware of the petition and will respond formally it in due course.

“However, I’d stress that the approvals given for the busway by the Department for Transport complied with all appropriate legislation.”