Concern over impact of rail route on residents

January 28, 2021 10:00 AM
By Cllr Graham Gowland

Local Liberal Democrats remain concerned about the impact of a potential new railway from Liverpool to Leeds on the lives of residents alongside the route. The Warrington South MP has responded to these concerns but Liberal Democrat campaigners are not satisfied.

It was interesting to hear the MP's response, but we are still no closer to knowing the route that will be chosen. Will we have 125mph trains running along the Trans Pennine Trail into the heart of Warrington or will another route be found? I accept that he has commented on Northern Powerhouse Rail. Last June he put a story on his website and in January he tweeted that the priority should be on the East / West line. Having reviewed Hansard, I can see he has indeed asked for Warrington Bank Quay to be included in the route, but made no enquiries about the routing.

Transport for the North will make route recommendations, but it is the Tory Government, and not Warrington Borough Council, that will decide on how this project progresses. It is shocking that our MP has not clarified exactly how the route through Warrington will be implemented.

Residents in Warrington care deeply about their town and their environment. Whilst Northern Powerhouse Rail will bring benefits to the region, residents deserve to be involved in the process. Our MP says the consultation process will follow the route announcement, but the decisions on Bank Quay and the 'passive junctions' at High Legh have already been made. There has been no open consultation on fixing the likely route through Warrington.

We are not campaigning against this line, but we are campaigning for openness and local involvement, something our Government seems to avoid.

It has been suggested that using the Golborne Spur and a route via North Warrington may also be on the cards. Given his vocal opposition to this part of the HS2 route, which we share, he may face a difficult choice over the final choices for Northern Powerhouse Rail.

Graham Gowland is a Lymm Parish Councillor and Liberal Democrat campaigner

Graham with south Warrington backdrop