MP demands rethink over HS2 maintenance depot

An example of the high speed 'HS2' train
An example of the high speed 'HS2' train

A LOCAL MP is joining residents to demand the Government thinks again on plans for a major new train maintenance depot in the borough.

The proposals for the controversial High Speed Two (HS2) network include building a rolling stock engineering facility at Lowton Common, which could potentially provide a jobs boost for the area.

However, Leigh MP Andy Burnham has spoken of overwhelming public opposition to the depot plan following a public meeting in Golborne, with concerns over the disruption to local residents and its proximity to a site of special scientific interest (SSSI).

Mr Burnham will give residents in Lowton their chance to air their views on HS2 at a meeting this week, and is promising to submit every opinion to the Government.

Mr Burnham said: “Unhappiness with the location of the depot has come through loud and clear to me. People want to know what justifies this decision when there are clearly other places it could go.

“I know HS2 looked at alternative sites before choosing Golborne, and I’m going to ask for full transparency and provide details of all the options available. There must be far more debate and discussion about this.

“My view remains that the Government will not be laying new rail track in this area again this century, and the potential benefit to Leigh is enormous, but I will submit people’s opinions to ministers whether I agree with them or not.”

Mr Burnham also confirmed he would struggle to support HS2 due to the lack of benefit to Leigh constituents unless an interchange is built near the East Lancs Road, and suggested this could be a potential alternative site for the maintenance and servicing depot.

Executives from HS2 are also visiting Lowton this evening for a meeting at Lowton Social Club called by the Lowton East Neighbourhood Development Forum (LENDF), which begins at 7.30pm.

The HS2 public meeting led by Andy Burnham MP will take place on Thursday January 9 at Lowton Social Club, starting at 7pm.