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Mysterious call for home rule

A REAL-life Citizen Smith is calling on Hyndburn Council to give power back to the people of Oswaldtwistle.

ONE of the spray-painted slogans.
ONE of the spray-painted slogans.

A REAL-life Citizen Smith is calling on Hyndburn Council to give power back to the people of Oswaldtwistle.

Police have condemned the mystery artist for spray-painting the slogans Independence for Oswaldtwistle and Home Rule for Ossy on prominent sites along Union Road.

But not everyone is against the sentiments expressed in the handiwork, which has been the talk of the town since it appeared last week.

Jimmy Roberts, who was born and bred in the town and now lives in Havelock Street, said: "There's a lot of people who agree with it. I remember when we had our own urban district council and did things ourselves. Since it became Hyndburn Council, everything has gone down the pan."

Landlord of the Tinker and Budget pub, Alan Stables, said several of his customers supported the message behind the graffiti.

He said: "They said it was the best thing to happen in Oswaldtwistle for ages. The graffiti just appeared one day and was there for over a week before it was covered up. Someone just climbed up on the wall and did it. No-one knows who it was."

Council leader Peter Britcliffe, who represents St Andrew's ward in the town, said that while he does not condone graffiti he understands where the culprit is coming from.

He said: "During the budget meeting on Tuesday, we decided to give more money to the area councils to strengthen them over the next two years. We are looking at giving them powers to look after parks in their own areas, such as Rhyddings Park in Oswaldtwistle.''

Councillor Brian Walmsley, who also represents St Andrew's ward, also acknowledged the need for area councils.

He said: "I have always been for Oswaldtwistle. I didn't want to go into Hyndburn in the first place. But the area councils have helped give people in Oswaldtwistle a voice and a chance to air their grievances."

Sergeant Claire Holbrook, from Accrington Police, said: "Whatever the wording of the statement, it does not detract from the fact that this is criminal damage and an arrestable offence. Anyone identified deliberately causing graffiti in this manner can expect to be arrested and prosecuted by police."

  • Oswaldtwistle has always been the most fiercely independent of the townships of Hyndburn.

When districts merged into Hyndburn Council in 1974 there were calls to declare UDI.

And the late Councillor Clifford Walsh called for sandbags to be laid across Union Road to repel the "invaders''.


Stuart Pike
Deputy editor specialising in politics
Alex Bell
Bethany English
District reporter
Beth Abbit
Court reporter
Jon Macpherson
Kate Watkins
Reporter specialising in communities
Garth Dawson
Photographer and columnist