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MP slams Government over HS2 “white elephant”

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WARRINGTON South MP Faisal Rashid has slammed the Government for pressing ahead with the “white elephant” HS2 Golborne rail link.
He was speaking after meeting Transport Minister Nusrat Ghani to raise concerns about the link.
Mr Rashid says many of his constituents have expressed 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, Mr Rashid has consistently opposed the link, arguing that it is based on a flawed business case which offers no benefit to Warrington.
The Golborne Link is a section of HS2 which is designed to leave the main HS2 route in the High Legh area, skirting Lymm and cutting through Culcheth to Golborne, and re-joining the West Coast Main Line South of Wigan. Changes to the original HS2 Phase 2 plans meant that a rolling stock depot in Golborne was deleted from the scheme and a new HS2 station hub at Crewe was included.
This could allow more HS2 services to use an upgraded West Coast Main Line through Warrington instead.
Mr Rashid said these changes meant the business case for the link was further weakened – yet it remained in the plans.
He called on the Transport Minister to urgently rethink the plans.
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.
Mr Rashid 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.
“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 – they are persisting with flawed business models and inaccurate spending plans.
“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.”

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  1. HS2’s dishonest costings for land acquisition was revealed by the BBC Panorama a couple of months ago. The company is in such a desperate state to deliver within budget (no chance, by the way) that it is cutting costs by grabbing land and property hugely under-value, ask anyone who has had their land taken. No different to Mugabe in Zimbabwe!

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