BOLTON will not be “left on the platform” by an ambitious £15 billion scheme put forward by the leaders of key northern cities, the town’s transport bosses have said.
Council leaders from Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle and Sheffield got together to present the One North report to Chancellor George Osborne, who has thrown his weight behind its recommendations.
The report, which looks to the next 15 years, asks for new rolling stock to be a priority and calls for more train services, as well as expanding the motorway network.
The leaders say that, if adopted, it will bring benefits “for the whole of the North of England”, increasing capacity on the motorways by 150 per cent and creating a faster rail network.
Cllr David Chadwick, the cabinet member in charge of transport at Bolton Council, said it would be fantastic news if the report is put into action — despite there being no reference to Bolton in the plans.
He said: “It should be complementary to what’s already going on, with the electrification of the line between Manchester to Preston, and access to more, quicker trains travelling from east and west.
“What I’m pleased about is that successive governments have never really had a short, medium or long term plan for the railways in the north — and this report looks out over 15 years.
“This is a good idea and the government should grasp it with both hands.
“It’s about cities and regions in the North getting together and saying ‘This is something we need to do to give the economy a boost’.”
Cllr Stuart Haslam, who is also a member of the Transport for Greater Manchester committee, said: “My concern is that our town is an integral part of these plans.
“I welcome any investment which will help with the regeneration of the whole area, but Bolton is a separate entity and needs to be linked in.
“With electrification there is the opportunity for that to happen — that will fuel regeneration of the area. Any investment is a good thing.”