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Lancs signs were dumped at border

From the archive, first published Tuesday 15th Nov 2005.

ACTIVISTS who pulled down the county's Welcome to Lancashire signs have dumped them on the border with Yorkshire.

Members of CountyWatch, formed to combat the gradual destruction of England's county boundaries, visited Lancashire at the weekend and yesterday to take down signs in Blackburn, Blackpool, Skelmersdale and Southport.

Founder of CountyWatch, Essex-based solicitor Anthony Bennett, told the Evening Telegraph that the group intended to display the signs near Blacko, north of Colne, to show where "Lancashire's real boundary begins".

CountyWatch, which has 12 members across England and has previously removed signs in Lincolnshire and Somerset, said it has pulled down around 30 of the county council-erected Welcome to Lancashire signs.

In addition it said it had removed the larger brown-coloured motorway signs on the M6, M66 and M61 which read "Welcome to Lancashire the Red Rose County".

It had originally planned to lay them on the steps of County Hall, Preston, but Mr Bennett, 58, said: "Our current plans are to deposit all these signs on the Lancashire and Yorkshire border, just north of Burnley at Blacko.

"We will lay out all 30 or so signs and leave them for all the world to see where the Lancashire boundary really begins."

The Welcome to Lancashire signs were erected on the boundaries with Blackburn with Darwen and Blackpool unitary authorities by the county council in 2004 to show where its services begin.

But CountyWatch maintains that it has a legal right to remove signs under the section 131 of the Highways Act 1980 because "they misinform the public".

County Council leader Hazel Harding said it does intend to make a complaint to police and officers have indicated they will seek to arrest those responsible if that is the case.

A spokesman for the county council said they would be contacting the police about the matter.

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