MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

A HEALTHY debate has been going on In the pages of the Express for some time concerning the number 78 bus.

The area, in and around Singleton Avenue, Shepherd Road and Clitheroe Road, is affected by subsidence and I have heard a number of complaints from residents about the effect that buses and other heavy vehicles are having on road surfaces and houses.

People tell me their windows shake and vibrate and say that roads are being damaged.

I have no reason to doubt the sincerity of the residents who are, understandably, concerned about their homes.

On numerous occasions I have written to Lancashire County Council to put forward these concerns and they have been very understanding.

They have carried out investigations into the effects of heavy vehicles in the area, including performing seismic surveys and the possibility of imposing a weight limit on the affected roads.

Chief highways engineers have also been to the affected areas and have talked directly to some residents to get their views.

Highway bosses also ensured that, when a new company took over the route in January, it was written into the contract that small, single decker buses had to be used.

Many are still keen, however, that the bus should be re-routed.

The issue is though that not everyone in the community shares that view – many rely on the bus as a vital form of transport.

They need the bus to shop, see friends and get from place-to-place.

Many of these people are elderly and they should not, of course, be left without transport.

It seems to me that, in effect, a community is split down the middle on the issue.

That’s never nice to see. It puts neighbours in conflict and the county council in a difficult situation.

What’s more I can understand both points of view and can’t fault residents on either side for wanting to make their voices heard.

You can’t, ultimately, please all of the people all of the time but I hope, for everyone’s sake, a compromise can be found.

As I hope the Government are showing people, by working effectively together, a solution is generally possible if you try hard enough and are willing to work together.

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