Rosie Cooper was fighting hard for the Ormskirk bypass, local bus services and the Burscough Curves this week in Parliament. Rosie made ministers take notice over the transport problems in West Lancashire by leading an adjournment debate on the transport challenges facing West Lancashire.
Back in January the Ormskirk bypass was not identified as a regional transport priority. At the time Rosie Cooper promised to continue to fight for the bypass and on transport issues. She has kept her promise when in Parliament this week she called for the desperately needed road scheme to become Lancashire’s number one transport priority and to get the go-ahead if the M6- Heysham link was not delivered.
“We need to find a solution to West Lancashire’s transport problems, otherwise, at this rate we will see West Lancashire grind to a standstill with even more environmentally unfriendly car journeys being undertaken and those without cars being left isolated.
“There is no question that the increasing number of car trips, made worse by poor public transport, is bringing Ormskirk town centre to a standstill. I know in the hot weather a local vicar and his wife hand out glasses of water to trapped, exasperated motorists who just cannot get through Ormskirk.
“There is also a threat to life and limb as ever-bigger heavy goods vehicles thunder along unsuitable roads. The Government invested £15 million in a new secondary school in Ormskirk, and when I visited it recently schoolchildren expressed amazement that none of them had been killed or injured as a result of the ever-increasing size and number of HGVs thundering past the school. Other local residents complain that their homes are shaken to their foundations by those vehicles.”
The Transport Minister, Gillian Merron, accepted that the Ormskirk bypass is an important development for the town centre. In her speech she remarked that:
“It would greatly improve access to local services, and the town centre would become a safer place for all road users."
In the course of the debate Rosie also demanded action on the poor state of local bus services. We are now feeling the impact of the Conservative’s privatisation of bus services 20 years ago. She argued that we need to reassess who should benefit from bus service provision.
“I understand that subsidies cannot be stretched to support all possible routes, so it is vital that we explore sustainable and realistic options to ensure some sort of transport provision across our communities, not just along profitable routes.”
“This leaves people trying to negotiate a public transport system that does not get them to where they need to be, at the time when they need to be there.”
In bringing her speech to a conclusion Rosie Cooper said:
“I am not asking simply for more money to be invested in transport provisions; I am asking for a fair distribution of what already exists. People have been patient in West Lancashire, and their voices—rather than just the voices of the big cities—should be heard. We are talking not just about adding value but about what is essential. Without it, we could potentially be creating transport haves and have-nots, and that is not acceptable to any of us.”