No change to torch route

The Olympic Torch relay in Wigan and (below) Coun Don MacNaughton.
The Olympic Torch relay in Wigan and (below) Coun Don MacNaughton.
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TWO Fylde coast councillors have failed in a bid to see the Olympic torch route pass through their ward.

Bourne ward councillors Don MacNaughton and Julie Newsham were left furious when the torch relay was published earlier this year.

Coun Don MacNaughton

Coun Don MacNaughton

The proposed journey of the motorised torch convoy takes it down Amounderness Way from Norcross roundabout straight into Fleetwood – by-passing Thornton altogether.

And despite a plea to the British Olympic Committee to include the town in its route, any alterations have now been ruled out.

Coun MacNaughton said: “When this route was published in March we immediately contacted the British Olympic Committee to ask the torch to be re-directed from the Norcross roundabout through Thornton along Fleetwood Road South and Fleetwood Road North before rejoining the original route at the Eros roundabout.

“This minor adjustment would have given hundreds of local residents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the Olympic flame.

“We pointed out Amounderness Way was a purpose-built by-pass, offering safe viewing areas for pedestrians, and the proposed variation would entail no significant time changes.

“But the committee’s chief executive Paul Deighton says no alteration can be made to the published passage.

“We’ve been infested by heavy lorries who ought to be using Amounderness Way, but have been driving through Thornton.

“Now we desperately want the Olympic Torch to go through our village and we find it by-passing us.”

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Coun Newsham added: “There are five schools, hundreds of houses, and dozens of businesses along the route through Thornton.

“Shouldn’t all those people have a decent chance to see the Olympic Flame as it passes through our neighbourhood?”

The alteration to the route was supported by Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard and Ben Wallace, MP for Wyre and Preston.

Mr Maynard said: “I share the disappointment that the torch won’t pass through Thornton but from what I have seen of the relay so far and the excitement it has caused I hope as many people that are able travel to Cleveleys for this once in a lifetime opportunity.”

A spokeswoman for the Olympic organising committee said: “The Torch Relay is a complex logistical challenge.

“The route cannot be changed at this stage. Local transport and police planning is already taking place around the agreed route.

“The route has been devised after extensive consultation with representatives in each region.”

The London 2012 torch will start its journey across the Fylde coast in Wyre on Friday, June 22.

Travelling from Kendal, the torch will travel through Garstang, St Michaels, Fleetwood and Cleveleys before making its way into Blackpool.

The following day residents in Lytham, St Annes and Fairhaven will get a glimpse of the icon as it passes through continuing to Warton and Freckleton.

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