Wigan residents express delight as controversial £3bn HS2 link is set to be axed

Residents and MPs have expressed their delight following the announcement that the HS2 link through the borough is set to be axed.

A letter from the transport minister Andrew Stephenson announced the plans for the Golborne spur would be removed and alternatives will be sought.

Residents’ group Lowton East Neighbourhood Development Forum (LENDF) and Lowton West Residents’ Group were concerned about the loss of green space and leisure facilities it would bring, as well as the loss of wildlife habitats.

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Irene Thomson, from Lowton Hedgehog Rescue and chairman of LENDF, said: “It is brilliant news. It has been something we’ve been campaigning for, for a number of years.

Irene Thomson from Lowton Hedgehog Rescue and chair of LENDF

"We are so pleased that it has been recognised as not a useful addition to HS2.

"All the residents are delighted.”

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Controversial multi-billion pound Wigan HS2 link to be scrapped

Leigh MP James Grundy has also expressed his joy at the news.

What HS2 trains could look like.

He said: “I am very pleased to announce that the Government has decided to scrap the Golborne spur of HS2, after a decade-long campaign by local residents, businesses and your local Conservative representatives.

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“This project affected thousands of families in Lowton and Golborne, including my own, and for the last decade caused huge suffering and uncertainty to the families and businesses affected as well as massive damage to the local area.

“The spur would have affected the Kings Avenue estate, Pocket Nook Lane, the Oaklands and Meadows estate, residents on Sandy Lane and Newton Road, the Garton Drive/Braithwaite Road estate, the Scott Road estate and residents on Slag Lane.

"It would have also destroyed the Enterprise Way business park in Lowton, costing hundreds of jobs, and would have destroyed Byrom Wood and Lowton Civic Field, much-loved green spaces and recreation areas.

Leigh MP James Grundy
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“I'd like to thank the thousands of local residents in Lowton, Golborne and beyond, who supported the campaign to scrap the spur over the last decade, including councillors Kath and Edward Houlton and Coun Marie Cooper from Lowton East, LENDF, Lowton West Residents, Golborne Voice, Lane Head Residents, and especially, Linda Graham and the late, great, Ted Thwaite, who sadly died six months before this incredible victory for local residents.

“I always said we needed Golborne station, not the Golborne spur of HS2, and I am very proud to have delivered on both of those promises.”

Meanwhile, rail firms dub the decision as “hugely disappointing.”

The decision to axe the link will lead to a “bottleneck”, according to a joint statement from the Railway Industry Association, Rail Freight Group and High Speed Rail Group.

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In their joint statement, the three railway industry bodies said: “It is hugely disappointing to discover that, on a day when much political attention was focused elsewhere, the Government confirmed that the Golborne Link is to be removed from the HS2 project.

“Only six months ago, the Golborne Link was included in the Integrated Rail Plan, as well as the HS2 Phase 2b Bill.

“The link has been provided for in the budget for HS2 and is needed to allow adequate capacity on the national rail network to fulfil its vital function of handling the nation’s longer distance movements of both passengers and freight.

“Without this connection, a bottleneck will be created north of Crewe on the West Coast Main Line, which in turn will negatively impact outcomes for passengers, decarbonisation and levelling up.”