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Found on the road out of Rishton heading towards Great Harwood, Lee Lane was originally a dirt track. Now the B6535.

Once the canal was built and a bridge built over it at Norden, the track was still only wide enough for a single cart, this was in 1810. By 1814 a deep depression in the land was filled in, but still Lee Lane remained a single-track path.

In the 1930s Captain Petre from the Dunkenhalgh Estate gave land for a road widening scheme, which was to include any bends being eliminated as much as possible, footpaths constructed and the gradient of the road improved.

Opening of Lee Lane.

Work started on the 6th April 1936, and John Booth, Chairperson of the Buildings and Highway Committee officially opened the road on The 3rd August 1938. A red, white and blue ribbon was placed over the road for this official ceremony.

The council surveyor reported at a council meeting on the 7th May 1936, that work had commenced on the Lee Lane widening scheme on the 6th April. Quotations were presented for the supply and delivery of reinforcement bars for the Culvert, also 2,000 linear yards of 6" x 12" Stone edging, and a the supply and delivery of Inspection frames and covers, along with arterial road type gulley frames and grates. The quotations from Messrs. The grip Steel Bar Co., Ltd., for reinforced bars was accepted, and the quotation of Messrs. Peacock Bros (Mellor) Ltd., for 6" x 12" stone flags, and finally the quotation of John Grundy Ltd, for castings.

The quote received from Messrs Brookes Ltd was accepted by Rishton Council for the supply of stone flags 2 1/2 inch thick, non-slippery, reconstructed, in June 1937. These were to be used for the pavements on both sides of the new road. A tender was received for the supply of wood pegs and edgings. This was from George Harwood at a price 2d per linear foot fixed. This was accepted.

On the 2nd September it was resolved by the local council that Gas lamps were to be fixed on both sides of Lee Lane, the type of lamp being deferred until a report was received regarding a new type of lamp currently being experimented upon.

On October the 7th, The surveyor hired light petrol rollers for use on Lee Lane surfacing, from Accrington and Blackburn. The footpath from the Great Harwood boundary to Tottleworth road was to be billed to Great Harwood Urban District Council. Following an inspection of the street lamps on Lee Lane, there were 10 complete sets fitted on the South side of the road, and the 10 existing lamps on the north side were to be changed to the new type.

On the 2nd June 1938, The surveyor referred to the lighting conditions at Lee Lane corner, and submitted an estimate from Blackburn Corporation Electricity Undertaking of the costs of the removal of the existing street lamp to a new position and the provision of an additional lamp. Resolved that the surveyor be instructed to obtain an estimate from the gas undertaking for improving lighting conditions at Lee Lane corner on the lines indicated.

The surveyor presented an estimate from the Electricity Undertaking for the removing and re-erecting in a new position the existing lamp at Lee Lane corner and erection of an additional lamp between Lee Lane corner and Norden, together with an estimate from the Gas Undertaking for the supply and erection of a gas unit to replace the existing electric unit at Lee Lane corner and an additional unit between Lee Lane Corner and Norden. Resolved that the estimate from the gas under taking be accepted and the work placed in hand. This was on the 5th July 1938.

Lee Lane with new bike route in July 2001.

A letter was received from Great Harwood Urban District Council in April 1939, requesting that support should be given to an application to the County Council for them to consider the commencement of work at an early date on the proposed road from Lee Lane corner to the Arterial Road at Whitebirk. The council was of the opinion that the proposal was at present impractical.

Imagine the implications should this have happened! The road would have gone from the corner of Lee Lane at its junction with Wilpshire Road, running North of the Great Harwood Loop line.

It would certainly have cut through some beautiful countryside, but it would have also given rise to further housing in the district, and possibly some new industrial estates (especially in this day and age). There's a lot of reasonably flat land through there imagine the factories they could have built (Mullards etc) perhaps with direct access to one of the railways and the houses, services needed to support them.

The entire area of "Rishton North" would have been created!

During the Second World War oil drums were placed along the side of Lee Lane and lit on moonlit nights. This produced an evil smelling smoke, which covered the entire area and was burnt to disguise the Bristol aircraft factory at Clayton Le Moors.

The Council Surveyor reported that he had been informed by representatives of the Ministry of Works and Buildings and the Ministry of Home Security, on the 11th December 1941, that it was their intention to erect temporary wooden buildings on sites in Lee Lane and Blackburn Road respectively for use as sleeping quarters for the military.

The gaps in the thorn fence at Lee Lane were to be made good by new planting it was reported on the 8th April 1943.

The question of the removal of the wood fences at Lee Lane and the replacement of thorn bushes were discussed on the 9th September 1943 in a Council meeting, it was to be left to Councillor Leeming and the Surveyor with power to act accordingly. In the top photo on this page, the wood fencing can be seen in the background.

The damaged and spoiled trees on Lee Lane were removed on the 15th July 1944.

On the 10th August 1944, the proposed bus stops on Lee Lane, detailed below, were approved by Rishton Urban District Council:-

From Great Harwood.

 

To Great Harwood.

 

 

15 yards. West of Cemetery Hotel.

50 yards. East of Heap's Farm.

 

At Heap's Farm.

30 yards. East of junction with Wilpshire Road.

 

30 yards. West of junction with Wilpshire Road.

A communication had been received from the County Surveyor on the 14th March 1946, asking for Schemes of road improvement in this district which should be given priority. The following schemes were recommended for inclusion: The re-alignment of the Railway Bridge at Norden to remove the acute corner and the junction of Harwood Road and High Street.

On the 24th May 1951, Gas Lamps were removed and the spigots cleaned off and painted which were found to be in not bad condition, and the manufacturers were instructed to proceed with the making of the brackets and switch-boxes for new electricity lighting. The Gas Board and the Electricity Board were instructed to deal with the old and new services. The old lanterns and time clocks were offered for sale to the Great Harwood U.D.C., and they were  asked if they would undertake the maintenance of the gas lamps which remained on Lee Lane and Tottleworth on a time and material basis.

On the 12th July 1951, The Council Clerk reported that the Great Harwood U. D. C, were prepared to maintain the gas street lamps on Lee Lane and Tottleworth on a labour and materials basis plus 20 per cent. establishment charge. A letter of thanks was forwarded to the Great Harwood U. D. C, for their offer.

Repairs were carried out to certain fencing, and correspondence was passed between the County Council and the Surveyor with respect to the abundance of weeds in the hedge. It was Resolved on the 17th July 1952, That the Surveyor was to instruct two men to clear the weeds as quickly as possible.

On the 15th October 1953 the Urban District Council applied to Lancashire County Council for a further 10,000 for the road to widened between the canal bridge and the railway bridge, in the hope of removing the dangerous bend in the road.

The view from Lee Lane is quite astonishing as it lies in the Norden Valley, but on most days Accrington, Burnley, and Blackburn are easily visible.

AN accident in which a bus shelter was demolished on the Friday 24th April 1998, fuelled residents' fears about the speed of traffic. More than 80 people had already signed a petition calling for measures, including a speed camera, to put the brake on cars and lorries going past their homes, on Blackburn Road. Keith Edmundson, who lived in Blackburn Road, Great Harwood, expressed renewed concern following the weekend accident, when a car crashed into a bus shelter near the Lidgett pub.

The driver and passenger were both taken to hospital with minor injuries. Mr Edmundson said: " It's a good job there wasn't anyone standing there. The police got the council to remove the shelter, it was that bad."

The accident, which happened during rain on Sunday, involved a car travelling towards Rishton from Great Harwood town centre. Police said as the car began to go round a right-hand bend, near the Lidgett pub, it went out of control and collided with the shelter on the left-hand side. Inspector Bob Ford, of Great Harwood police, said inquiries into the accident and whether speed was a factor were continuing. He added: "We are concerned about the speed of some vehicles using Blackburn Road and will be looking to tackle that." Inspector Ford said the use of hand-held speed detectors and other targeting measures were being considered.

Mr. J. P. Duckworth of Bostons responded with the following letter, printed on Tuesday 12 May 1998:

A bizarre traffic-calming scheme for Lee Lane, Rishton, was put forward for consultation in mid-January - the end aim to be a reduction in the speed limit to 40mph. Unfortunately, the standard procedure of creating a need for these measures - residents' complaints - could not be elicited from the sheep in the adjoining fields. Some time after this, Keith Edmundson and Paul Dunn started receiving publicity about their campaign and petition.

Mr Dunn is a leading light of Prospects, an organisation which I applaud in its efforts to improve the lot of local people and their environment. But I also recall that it is in part-funded by and is a pet project of Hyndburn Council. Thus, we have you reporting council leader George Slynn's effusive gratitude for a 160-signature petition to give him a mandate for more flawed traffic-calming - all good stuff days before the local elections.

Everything is not what it seems though. Through another pair of eyes, the campaigners' worries can be laid firmly at the feet to the man accepting their petition. It should be noted that Blackburn Road has had the benefit of traffic-calming for the past couple of years or so. As I told Councillor Slynn at the time of its inception, and in print later, the design of this scheme was dangerous and was likely to lead to the demolition of the bus shelter and minor accidents at other points. The width restrictions imposed by the planners, on a road which reduces from four car widths to three, coupled with a few of the residents insisting on double parking, must mean at the very least damaged wing mirrors. It should be noted that the parking restrictions on this road have not been revoked, but just, for some reason, not enforced. I bet George didn't tell the campaigners that just before the local elections!

I would be interested to see the campaigners' survey figures to back up the claims of increased HGV use and 80 mph cars. My observations suggest that since the completion of the M65 and the end of the motorway construction traffic from Clitheroe, HGV usage has dropped dramatically. Might I suggest the planners and their masters rethink and correct their earlier schemes before rushing off to spend more of our money, on new flights of fancy. J P DUCKWORTH, Bostons, Great Harwood.

References

Urban District Council Minutes

Lancashire Evening Telegraph, Friday 24th April 1998, Tuesday 12 May 1998.