A borough MP has welcomed a “strong indication” that part of the controversial HS2 railway, which would run through his constituency, will be scrapped.
James Grundy, the Conservative MP for Leigh, has welcomed a statement by the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps which has cast doubt on the future of the Golborne Spur - a section of the HS2 network which will run through Lowton and Golborne.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Tuesday that the high-speed rail project would go ahead despite concerns about rocketing costs, environmental concerns, value for money and fears it could sap money from other transport projects.
The proposals have been criticised by local campaigners, particularly Mr Grundy, who said the spur would negatively affect thousands of his constituents, including his own family members.
He also called on the council to withdraw its support for what he called a “misconceived” project.
In response to questions from Mr Grundy and Andy Carter, the Conservative MP for Warrington South, both of whose constituencies are heavily affected by the Golborne Spur of HS2, Mr
Shapps said: “The Golborne Spur is currently projected to cost between two and three billion, but delivers very little for that sum. The writing is on the wall as far as the future of the Golborne Spur is concerned. We expect to make the final decision on it in months, not years.”
Mr Grundy responded: “I welcome the strong indication by Mr Shapps that the Golborne Spur of HS2 is to be cancelled. I have been campaigning against this poorly conceived idea for over seven years now, and it will come as a great relief to thousands of my constituents in both Golborne and Lowton, including members of my own family, that this saga is finally coming to a close, and people can again have certainty when it comes to investing in their homes and local businesses.”
He added: “It is now time for Labour-run Wigan Council to withdraw their support for the misconceived HS2 Golborne Spur, and end the uncertainty and blight they foolishly inflicted on local residents by supporting it in the first place.”
“We need instead to concentrate on re-opening local stations like Golborne and Kenyon Junction in order to reconnect Leigh back to the national rail network, and I fully intend that to be my next task.”
Wigan Council leader David Molyneux said: “We welcome the announcement today on the HS2 review. As long-term supporters of the high-speed rail route, we believe that it should be delivered as soon as possible to benefit Wigan and the whole of the North West.
“Wigan is one of only a small number of places nationally that will have a high speed rail station.”
“HS2’s arrival here would position us as a transport hub for rail travellers from Lancashire, Merseyside and Cheshire as well as Wigan. Significantly improved connections for the north will also go a long way to rebalancing our country’s economy.”
HS2 was initially projected to cost £32.7bn when it was announced in 2011, but was allocated £56bn in 2015. Around £8bn has been spent so far, and a widely leaked review recently found the project could cost up to £106bn by the time it is completed.