Liberal Democrats call for clarity on rail route

January 26, 2021 12:00 PM
By Cllr Graham Gowland

Local Liberal Democrats are calling for clarity on the Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) route through Warrington.

The Government is planning a new high speed rail link from Liverpool to Leeds. Part of the route runs from Bank Quay station to High Legh, where it joins a stretch of HS2.

Cllr Graham GowlandLocal campaigner Cllr Graham Gowland says: We have been trying to get clarity on the planned route. It is clear that it is going to run through south Warrington and into the town centre but no public consultation has taken place. I have contacted the Government transport body responsible [Transport for the North (TfN)] but they have refused to give details. While there is a lot of merit in NPR, its impact on individuals must be considered. The best local knowledge must be applied to finding the most acceptable route.

The public money already committed to the so-called 'passive junctions' at High Legh shows the route is essentially confirmed. It is shocking that no local consultation has yet taken place. Our local MP has been silent on this issue, and seems oblivious to the concerns that local residents have over the routing of a high speed rail line through the borough. Good transport links are important for a thriving economy, but local engagement is key, not routes centrally imposed by Government.

I have lodged an appeal against the refusal to release details. Residents concerned about the route are urged to contact the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps at shappsg@parliament.uk and ask him to clarify the route, and what noise and other mitigation measures are planned. It is a real shame that our local MP is not representing the concerns of local residents in relation to NPR and HS3. After all, these projects are centrally managed by the Conservative Government.

Graham Gowland is a Lymm Parish Councillor and Liberal Democrat campaigner.

Liberal Democrat policy on railways is to support High Speed 2, Northern Powerhouse Rail, East-West Rail and Crossrail 2, but ensure far tighter financial controls and increased accountability to ensure that these projects are value for money, and address problems with implementation to ensure that HS2 opens as early as possible to meet our decarbonisation goals while minimising the destruction of precious UK habitats and woodland: https://www.libdems.org.uk/a19-railways

NPR plans: https://transportforthenorth.com/wp-content/uploads/TFTN_-_NPR_At_a_Glance.pdf

High Legh passive junction confirmed: https://assets.hs2.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/10094542/In-Your-Area-MA03-Pickmere-to-Adgen-and-Hulesheath.pdf

Confirmation of Bank Quay super-hub plans (page 52): https://www.warrington.gov.uk/sites/default/files/2019-12/final_ltp4_parts_a_and_b.pdf

Refused FOI requests and appeal: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/proposed_route_from_the_hs2npr_j