A Greater Manchester MP has claimed he has been given “assurances” by the transport secretary that a planned HS2 link line is to be scrapped.
Altrincham and Sale West MP Sir Graham Brady said Grant Shapps had told him the Golborne Link would be dropped, the Guardian reports. The 12.km track would leave the HS2 route between Crewe to Manchester and cut through Sir Graham’s constituency before joining the West Coast Main Line south of Wigan.
The part of HS2 that would affect Trafford was due to feature an airport station in Hale Barns while a section of the Golborne Spur would pass over the River Bollin, through Warburton and Partington. However, the £3bn project has been roundly criticised by councillors, MPs and people who live in the area while Mr Shapps has previously cast serious doubt on it by saying it would not be value for money.
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The Department For Transport said no decision had been made and it could not comment on a “private conversation”. According to The Guardian, Sir Graham wrote to a constituent last week and told them Mr Shapps had given him “categorical verbal assurances” that the line – also known as the Golborne Spur – would be removed from the HS2 bill currently going through parliament.
Despite the appearance of the Golborne link in legislation published in February, Brady is reported to have told his constituent it would soon be removed from the bill by the Department for Transport, claiming it was only in there to prevent delays in its publication.
In his letter, the senior Tory backbencher said: “I have received categorical, verbal assurances from the secretary of state that the government will table an amendment as part of the second reading of the bill. This will remove the Golborne spur from the legislation. This is expected to take place in the summertime. The only reason that the bill was introduced with the spur still in place is that a revised environmental impact assessment would have delayed the introduction of legislation.”
The government introduced the ‘High Speed Rail (Crewe-Manchester) Bill’ to the House of Commons earlier this year. If backed, the government said the extension would allow travel from London to Manchester to be cut by around 55 minutes and Birmingham to Manchester by up to 45 minutes.
New ‘High Speed stations’ will also be built at Manchester Piccadilly and the airport, making way for new lines to Leeds and Liverpool, as part of Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR). Passengers across the North West have been promised faster, greener and more reliable train services as a result of the structure.
But Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has slammed the new plans saying they are ‘wrong’ for the future of the North.
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