THAT is the current number of people who are voicing opposition to Warrington Borough Council’s Central 6 Street plan, set to come into force on Monday, June 20.
Having reported on numerous issues in the town for many years, the amount of opposition to these proposals, in particular at Orford, is almost unprecedented, not just in size but also the speed.
With more than 4,400 people signing a protest petition, which is increasing in size with every passing hour, thousands more have joined a Facebook group, with a protest already scheduled to take place outside Warrington Town Hall on Monday evening, ahead of the council’s cabinet meeting.
All this is a matter of just a few days.
No matter how much consultation Warrington Borough Council think they have done and I have no doubt they have met the legal requirements to proceed with the highway changes, it is clear the vast majority of local residents didn’t know about it – or certainly the full implications.
Let’s not forget those who are objecting are those who are going to be most affected, so to proceed without further consultation and reflection, is almost a slap in the face of those who pay their council tax bills.
The fact that is a temporary traffic order suggests highway planners can’t be entirely sure it is going to work – but 18 months is a big chuck out of our lives.
There are clearly a lot of angry and distressed people, who are already under enough pressure after more than two years of a pandemic, compounded by the cost-of-living crisis along with the recent decision to allow a major development at nearby Peel Hall.
From experience, it is always difficult for politicians and highway planners to admit they have got something wrong – but according to more than 4,400 local residents they have got this wrong.
I would appeal to those in power to listen to the people, take on board their concerns and do the right thing and at least postpone these proposals while further consultations and investigations take place. There is no embarrassment in holding up your hands and saying sorry, we might have got this wrong. In fact, it shows the strength of character and the willingness to listen to say sorry.
The council listened to the people over the Bus Gate issue in Scotland Road, going to the trouble of handing back thousands of pounds in fines during an amnesty. So please listen again and let’s all work together to make sure we get the best outcomes for Warrington and most importantly those who are going to be impacted every day of their lives by these changes.