Pennine Reach focuses on the trunk bus routes between Accrington and Blackburn via Clayton-le-Moors, Great Harwood, Rishton and Oswaldtwistle and between Accrington, Blackburn and Darwen.
The Pennine Reach Major Scheme Bid was first submitted to the Department for Transport in April 2009 and was granted Programme Entry, the first stage of funding approval, by the department in March 2010.
Following the Coalition Government's Comprehensive Spending Review in October 2010, the funding approval for Pennine Reach (and a number of other projects across the country) was withdrawn. However, the Department for Transport later invited the submission of a new 'Best and Final' funding bid for all such transport schemes, including Pennine Reach.
In order to be as competitive as possible in the final bidding process and to increase the viability of Pennine Reach, the scheme had to be streamlined to show how the benefits and opportunities of the original proposals could continue to be delivered but at a reduced cost. Accordingly, a detailed review of the initial scheme was carried out and the proposals revised. Importantly, the review and scheme amendments take into account the feedback we received from local residents and businesses and have been designed to improve facilities for everyone in the area.
The revised bid was submitted to the Department for Transport on September 9th 2011 and was granted approval in December 2011.
The Major Scheme Bid was first submitted to the Department for Transport in April 2009 and was granted Programme Entry, the first stage of funding approval, by the department in March 2010.
The key changes to the original scheme as put forward in April 2009 in Hyndburn are:
There have been no changes to the plans for Clayton Le Moors, Church Gateway, Stanhill, West End and Knuzden.
The next and final stage of the Department for Transport's procedures is a bid for Final Approval of the scheme.
Lancashire County Council's Cabinet will be asked to review and approve the Final Funding Bid before it is submitted to the Department for Transport. Subject to ratification of the Bid by the Cabinet, it is the intention to submit to the Government in early 2013 with the Department for Transport expected to make its definitive decision on the scheme approximately 6 weeks after submission.
Works on the ground could therefore begin in 2013.
The scheme proposals have been subject to rigorous assessment, audits and a cost review. Detailed engineering designs are now being developed for the whole route in advance of the Final Funding Bid submission.
The detailed designs include the identification of the proposed location of existing/ new/ relocated bus stops along the route. Where there are changes to bus stops, the proposals will be consulted on as the scheme progresses and plans will be sent to those people directly affected.
Local people will continue to be involved and kept updated on the progress of the Pennine Reach scheme and Final Funding Bid.