Town is forgotten by HS2

HS2

A town in the borough is fast becoming “forgotten" by HS2, according to its MP.

The high-speed rail link, designed to slash north-south journey times, cuts a swathe through the area, crossing the East Lancs before running through Lowton to Abram.


But MP Jo Platt believes Leigh is getting a raw deal when it comes to infrastructure improvements stemming from the multi-billion pound programme.


She has also tabled a series of questions in the House of Commons - which has confirmed the issue of connectivity has not been considered in Leigh’s case.


The town, behind Gosport, Washington and Newcastle-under-Lyme, is said to be the fourth largest in the UK without direct access to a railway station.


Speaking after a transport debate in Parliament, Ms Platt said: “In the past Leigh has been promised enormous regional investment - HS2 is due to run directly through the middle of the constituency.


“Yet there are no plans that I am aware of to connect Leigh with any connecting station, leaving residents miles from their nearest station.


“The Government are equally unwilling to assist our town, admitting in a written answer to me that the Department for Transport has not even assessed the feasibility or cost of rail connectivity in Leigh or ways to reduce journey times between Leigh and HS2.


“The ever-emerging picture is of a town forgotten by this Government left to deal with the impact of HS2 without reaping any of the much-needed benefits.”


Plans to install park and ride style stations over the Leigh-Warrington border at Kenyon have been suggested but not materially progressed so far.


The only other workable suggestion has been the reopening of Golborne station, which was closed in 1952 but is still positioned on the West Coast Main Line.


Ms Platt added: “Our local economy, businesses and skills base are all being held back by the lack of connectivity.


“Therefore I have made it clear that when future regional investment decisions are made, northern towns such as Leigh must be consulted, with a full published impact assessment, to ensure that our economy is supported and our town gets its fair share of investment opportunities.”


The MP says Labour is committed to a ‘Crossrail for the North’, echoing the huge undertaking approved for London and the south-east, which could see branch lines reopened, to the likes of Leigh, if an economic case can be mustered.

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