Jane Thompson, a prospective candidate for new Independent group, 'Our West Lancashire' has welcomed news that Scott wards bus service to Ormskirk town centre is safe - for now.
She recently organised a petition of local residents with regard to suggested cuts from Lancashire County Council which was threatening to stop funding the local bus service between Scott Estate and Ormskirk Town Centre, stop repairs of uneven pavements below 25mm, and dim street lights by half to save money in the budget.
She told QLocal: I am delighted that because of pressure from YOU, the residents of Scott ward, the funding for the local bus service will continue.
Thank you to all who signed or returned the petition. The county council also seem to be shifting its position on dimming street lights in the ward. However, it still plans cuts and I will work hard to help give local residents a voice.
She concluded, 'Our West Lancashire is a new group of independents working hard to represent residents. Things need to change. West Lancashire is for residents after all and we aim to be a voice for people ignored and neglected by the main parties.
Responding, Mike Kirby, Director of Transport and Environment thanked her for the petition, saying: With regards to bus services, Lancashire County Council is under severe financial pressure as a result of unprecedented funding cuts by central government, at the same time as costs and demand for services continue to rise. This means that we have to find a further 216m in savings from the council's annual expenditure by April 2018, by which time its overall budget for local services is expected to have reduced to 664m.
In November 2014, Lancashire County Council's cabinet was presented with a series of options, suggested by the Management Team, which could help to deliver those savings. Supported bus services were just one of the many services provided by Lancashire County Council that were being considered as part of the budget options, about which we invited feedback before County Councillor Members decided how to make further savings from the council's budget.
Following the feedback received, the cabinet reconsidered all of the options and have determined that the level of subsidy would not be withdrawn from supported bus services, in presenting its budget proposals.
Final decisions will be made when the Full Council sets its budget at its meeting on 12 February 2015.
In respect to Street Lighting, Lancashire County Council has a programme to install energy saving measures to streetlights which began in 2009 by fitting LED lamps to streetlights and fitting controls which allow them to be turned down or dimmed. In relation to Scott Ward street lighting, there are no immediate plans to implement the 50% dimming regime, as this area has not been investigated for suitability and we do have some longer-term solutions if an area is found unsuitable such as LED's.
As the local highway authority in Lancashire we have a responsibility to maintain the public highway to a safe standard. All roads and pavements in Lancashire are inspected on a frequency dependent upon their classification which relates to their use and during those inspections we note and undertake any safety repairs as required. We also respond to reports made by members of the public either noting the conditions for consideration in assembling future programmes of work or carrying out repairs where we believe this to be warranted due to their scale and nature. This means that not all reported defects will be treated in the short to medium term.
As you have appreciated the county council currently faces financially challenging times as by 2017-18, we have to find 300 million of savings in the council's annual budget compared to 2013-14. To meet this challenge the county council is going through significant transformation however our new organisation will be committed to serving our communities by supporting and creating prosperity, health and wellbeing and having a safe road network with good public transportation is integral to achieving this end.
I can assure you that all changes are being carried out with due care, consideration and extensive consultation with all stakeholders including county councillors, the public and employees. The final budget decisions will be made by the Full Council following receipt of all feedback from all stakeholders.
"I trust this clarifies the current position, he concluded.
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