A former councillor is calling for the creation of a new park and ride to tackle what he claims is a severe shortage of parking for rail passengers.
Norman Bradbury, who formerly represented Atherton in the council chamber and now chairs a local community centre, says a large field at the back of Hag Fold railway station should be pressed into service.
The spare land to the rear of the station is publicly owned and at the moment it is basically derelict, it’s just standing there empty.Norman Bradbury
Mr Bradbury says there is urgent need for more car parking spaces for people wanting to use the trains from Atherton station and the guided busway.
He suggests a park and ride, coupled with increasing the number of trains stopping at Hag Fold to two an hour, would have huge benefits for the community.
Mr Bradbury said: “The only real long-term solution to meet the demand for parking spaces would be to upgrade Hag Fold station to a park and ride.
“The spare land to the rear of the station is publicly owned and at the moment it is basically derelict, it’s just standing there empty.
“I can’t understand why no-one’s come up with this before, especially as the authorities already own the land so it would cost them next to nothing.
“Giving Hag Fold station two trains an hour, which would only add one minute to the overall journey time, would not only alleviate the problems of parking at Atherton station but help the residents of Hag Fold estate commute to Manchester and Wigan to take up job opportunities which they have found difficult due to the poor rail service.”
Mr Bradbury says the land he is proposing for the new facility was previously where garages and flats stood but these were demolished as part of major renovation work on the estate.
He says the changes would also help make businesses and community facilities on Hag Fold a more attractive destination for commuters and passengers and would draw visitors to events there.
There are currently three park and rides for the guided busway at East Bond Street in Leigh, Astley Street in Tyldesley and where the East Lancs Road meets the M60.