Link maker

Labor MPs speak out against scrapping HS2 Golborne Link

Labor MPs have spoken out against removing the controversial Golborne Link from the HS2 Bill.

The scheme has drawn widespread anger from residents and councilors across east Warrington, particularly in Culcheth, Glazebury and Croft.

The Department for Transport had previously announced its intention to remove the spur, with the amendment having been confirmed in Parliament.

But the hearing saw Labor politicians speak out against its removal, including when questioned directly by Warrington South MP Andy Carter.

In an intervention with Shadow Transport Minister Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, Mr Carter said: “I am very grateful to the honorable member.

“I just want to be clear because I don’t think I quite got an answer the last time he just said again that Labor will build HS2 in full. Does this include the Golborne Spur?

In response, Mr Dhesi said: “Labour believes in the full delivery of HS2, and on the Golborne link we said we wanted that connection to happen.

“But the government has said there will be alternative proposals that they will come forward to make sure that connection is made, so that’s what we’re waiting for, those alternative proposals.”

Yvonne Fovargue, a former Warrington borough councilor for Fairfield and Howley, was one of the Labor MPs to “lambast” the removal of the Golborne Link.

Speaking in Parliament, the current MP for Makerfield, whose constituency covers South Wigan, said: ‘There is no cheaper alternative to the Golborne Link.

“There is no alternative that can be delivered with less disruption to passengers and freight on the West Coast Mainline than the Golborne Link.

“There is no alternative that can be delivered faster than the Golborne Link other than small scale isolated improvements.

HS2 has been described as an ‘environmentally damaging white elephant’ by campaigners (Image: PA)

“Wigan Council has identified a number of measures which could easily be incorporated into the Golborne Link and which would significantly reduce the negative impacts on local communities.

“The Government has insisted that any alternative to the Golborne Link should deliver the same benefits and results within the £96billion package allocated to the Integrated Rail Plan.

“There is no alternative to match the benefits at a similar cost. As concluded in all the independent analyzes that have taken place, the solution to all of this is the Golborne Link.

The Railway Industry Association, the Rail Freight Group and the High Speed ​​​​Rail Group said the termination of the link was a “hugely disappointing” decision which would “increase uncertainty for rail businesses and for people living in poverty”. along the line”.

They added: “The link is necessary to allow adequate capacity on the national rail network to fulfill its vital function of managing the national movement of passengers and goods over longer distances.

“Without this connection a bottleneck will be created north of Crewe on the West Coast Main Line which in turn will negatively impact passenger outcomes, decarbonisation and levelling.”

Warrington North Labor MP Charlotte Nichols was among those who welcomed the removal of the Golborne Link.

She previously commented: ‘After years of taking every opportunity to lobby against this disastrous proposal, including questions in the House to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Transport, written questions, meetings, briefings , letters, statements and the delivery of a petition signed by thousands of local residents, this is a hard fought victory for common sense and long overdue.

“I want to pay tribute to all those residents and activists who have continually helped keep the pressure on the government to do the right thing, and who have shown that we will not be ignored.

“As the holiday dawned, the Golborne Spur was still on the bill, and all the reassurances I had received over the past two years seemed hollow to me.

“I have kept my promise made when I was elected to campaign against the spur, and I am happy on this occasion that the government has finally kept its own.”