Faisal Rashid, MP for Warrington South, recently met Transport Minister Nusrat Ghani to raise concerns over HS2’s proposed Golborne Link.
Many of Faisal’s constituents have contacted him to express their concerns that the plans, which include proposals for a substantial viaduct over the Manchester Ship Canal, will severely affect areas of high-grade farm land, rural and suburban communities.
Since his election in 2017, Faisal has consistently opposed the link, arguing that it is based on a flawed business case which offers no benefit to the town.
The Golborne Link is a section of HS2 which is designed to leave the main HS2 route from Crewe to Manchester line at High Legh, cutting across to Golborne, and re-joining the West Coast Main Line South of Wigan. Changes to the original HS2 Phase 2 plans meant that the rolling stock depot in Golborne was removed and a new HS2 station hub at Crewe was included, which could allow more HS2 services to use an upgraded West Coast Main Line through Warrington instead. These changes mean that the business case for this Link is further weakened, yet it remains in the plans.
Faisal took these concerns to the Department for Transport and called on the Transport Minister to urgently rethink the plans. In response, the Minister made it clear that there were no plans to scrap the Golborne Link but that the Government would be consulting with affected areas closely throughout the implementation of Phase 2B of HS2.
Faisal has criticised the Minister’s response and has pledged to keep up the pressure on the Government on this issue.
Faisal Rashid MP said:
“I support the principle of High-Speed Rail as the most logical solution to the capacity crisis emerging on Britain’s rail network and as a way of improving connectivity to the north west. Commuter and freight services are being squeezed off the network due to a lack of capacity on our North-South main lines. Investment is vital to unblocking the capacity constraints that are undermining punctuality and that have led to calls for more expensive peak-time tickets to be introduced.
“However, I do not support the Golborne Link. This link is not needed to provide a vital connection from London to Manchester.
“During my meeting with the Transport Minister I called for this costly white elephant to be scrapped. I made it clear that the business case for the Link is deeply flawed. It offers Warrington South no economic benefits and it will adversely impact the local landscape, severely damaging the Green Belt.
“Unfortunately, despite raising these concerns, the Department for Transport has chosen to press ahead with the inclusion of the Golborne Link. I am extremely disappointed that the Minister has failed to act on this issue – choosing to ignore my constituents’ concerns.
“Just this week, Transport Ministers delayed funding for the next phase of HS2. Despite its initial promise, the Government is losing control of this project. The Golborne link is a good example of why this is the case – they are persisting with flawed business models and inaccurate spending plans.
“As the process develops, I will be working closely with residents affected by the plans and I will continue to campaign alongside my constituents for the ill-conceived Golborne Link to be scrapped.”