VIDEO: HUNDREDS of protesters turned up at Warrington town hall as a petition signed by more than 5,300 people was handed to council leader Cllr. Russ Bowden, opposing the council’s controversial Central 6 traffic reduction masterplan.
After presenting the petition ahead of the council’s Cabinet meeting, petition organiser Rachael Harper vowed to return next Monday, ahead of Full Council, if the council doesn’t show they are prepared to listen to the concerns of local people.
Cllr Bowden told protesters that the council’s consultation had been ongoing for four years and around 2,500 people had responded to the consultation, which he described as a “significant number, ” adding “Most consultations get a smaller response.”
But he said he would take the petition and listen to the concerns. He was also presented with a letter calling for the implementation of the scheme, due to come into force next Monday (June 20) to be delayed while further consultation takes place.
Confirming protesters would return next Monday if the council didn’t listen, Rachael added “The council needs to address our concerns urgently, ideally in the enxt 48 hours. If gthey don’t it will be absolutely shocking.”
After the demonstration, she added: “I am so proud of each and every single Warringtonian that turned up tonight. You did yourself and our whole town proud by defending your right to democracy
“I know a lot of people approached me afterwards to say well done or shake my hand but the truth is if it would have just been waving my poster outside Warrington Borough council then I would have achieved nothing. Democracy is about every single one us, not just me.
“I will say I do have respect for Russ Bowden coming out there today to accept our petition and speak with us as he had no obligation to. I just really hope that he along with the rest of the council take our concerns seriously. That they show they respect democracy and at least delay this thing, until we have more information and more consultation.
Meanwhile Warrington South MP Andy Carter has also voiced his concern saying: “I very much hope that Labour Councillors will listen to the views of local residents who attended the protest at the town hall this evening before implementing the central 6 road closure programme schedule to begin next week.
“Increasing journey lengths because of road closures at a time when fuel prices have increased doesn’t doesn’t help families and it’s important local residents have an opportunity to comment on the schemes fully if they’re adversely impacted.
“The plan will see restrictions introduced in the Westy area as well as other parts of Warrington. The Conservative Opposition Group have put forward a motion at the full council meeting next week to cancel the scheme.”