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Councillors call for better rail connections

Lancashire Telegraph 7th April 2024

Councillors in Ribble Valley will be pushing for better rail connections amid a public transport windfall for Lancashire. The new Local Transport Fund is backed by £494m diverted from the aborted HS2 northern leg.

Talks have been held about improving valley train and bus travel, via the fund. Borough Tory leader Cllr Stephen Atkinson, said he met Westminster representatives earlier this year with Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans, where railways were discussed.

This included ideas to reinstate regular trains between Clitheroe and Hellifield, which would allow onward travel to places such as Skipton. Cllr Atkinson added: “Lancashire will get £494million for local transport connections. We will be pushing for Hellifield connections, for Colne to Manchester services every 30 minutes and more buses at times when we need them. Also school bus improvements to cater for all schools.”

Government minister Esther McVey visited Morecambe to highlight the new £494m Local Transport Fund allocation for the Lancashire County Council area, from reallocated HS2 cash. Whitehall sources say fund allocations for the north and Midlands are additional money to other rail. road or transport budgets. The allocations are based on populations and levelling-up needs in different areas.

Cash can be used to build new roads, improve road junctions, pavements or bus stations, install or expand tram lines, or improve railway stations. The fund is proposed to run from 2025 for seven years. Ms McVey said: “With the new transport fund, Lancashire is getting the biggest allocation. It’s important local leaders, MPs and councils decide what they want to support. This is the first time we have done something of this size. The HS2 high-speed project was just about a single railway line. We think it would be better if money was given to the north, to look at east-west links, for example, and getting all our towns and cities better-connected.”

Councils and MPs will be asked to submit proposals to the government by autumn. Funding announcements will come next year, she said. Elsewhere in Lancashire, there is a campaign to connect east Lancashire boroughs with Leeds and Bradford, via reinstating the Colne-Skipton link.

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Apparently, East Lancashire is bereft of investment, Burnley is now the place where homes are worthless, the cheapest house prices in the UK . It's nothing for the southserving government and all these MPs who are quite happy to accept 6 figure salaries while watching East Lancashire drown in the myer of economic neglect, while Yorkshire gets a brand new high speed electric upgraded railway, is SELRAP happy with this, that just 12 miles from Colne, all that prosperity going on ? It's just sad, so sad

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