If HS2 route goes through Lowton, Leigh must get a rail link
Updated 11:03am Tuesday 26th February 2013 in North West
IF Lowton is to be carved up by the multi-billion pound high speed train route plan the Leigh area should get a rail link as recompense.
Around 200 people attended a packed meeting at Lowton Social Club with many airing their views on the 225mph HS2 route plan that was revealed last month.
Now Leigh MP Andy Burnham, who called last Wednesday's meeting, is seeking an early audience with Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin after hearing people's concerns.
“While many people oppose HS2, I was pleased to find considerable support for exploring the idea of an interchange station linking us to Manchester, Merseyside and HS2. I will now put this proposal directly to the Secretary of State," he said.
Mr Burnham and Lowton East councillors James Grundy, Pam Gilligan and James Cowley held a question and answer session highlighting the route through Lowton and potential closure of Slag Lane.
A number of specific points were raised about the Government's plans, including:
• Route through Lowton and potential closure of Slag Lane
• The size and likely operation of the rolling stock depot earmarked for Slag Lane
• The social and economic benefits of HS2 to the community
• Limited access to HS2
• The potential opportunity that HS2 may provide impetus for a train station to connect Leigh with Manchester and Merseyside
• Compensation payments for those directly affected by the route
• Impact of route on the emerging Local Plan (Core Strategy).
Mr Burnham said: "If HS2 is to go ahead, I will work to get the best possible deal I can for Lowton, reflecting the concerns of local people.
"A whole series of crucial points were raised by residents which require a detailed response from the Government.
"In particular I will be calling for a more generous compensation scheme than that currently on offer.
“I believe that HS2 can be good for the Borough, but I don't want to see Lowton and Leigh get all the disruption and none of the benefits.
"It is essential that, as part of this investment, the Government opens up rail travel and re-connects communities like Leigh to the rail network.
Andy Burnham MP intends to hold a further meeting later this year for an update on the issues raised.
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