Row over Wigan park and ride facility could go to court
Legal proceedings could be looming in a long-running battle to provide a busy borough railway station with an expanded park-and-ride facility.
Makerfield parliamentary representative recently called a meeting to discuss the lack of progress over creating a bigger car park at Hindley station and improving disabled access.
There is a possibility the whole matter will end up in court as the main stumbling block is a dispute over land ownership between Network Rail and a third party.
The slow pace of work on the scheme is causing intense frustration, with campaigners saying the car park in the former goods yard is desperately needed to ease the parking chaos in surrounding streets which is causing misery for residents.
Politicians, both those in Westminster and those at Wigan Council, have acknowledged the strong feelings locally and spoke optimistically following the latest meeting.
Ms Fovargue said she would also speak to Greater Manchester’s Mayor after campaigners blasted a proposal by Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) to mothball any further work on the car park until the issues were resolved as a “scandal”.
Network Rail, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), Hindley ward councillors and the Friends of Hindley Station group all met on March 23.
Ms Fovargue said: “I know that a great deal of frustration exists amongst rail users and the issue of land ownership continues to be a stumbling block. It would appear that this matter may well now be subject to legal proceedings.
“I will be writing to Andy Burnham to continue to press for the retention of funding to improve both car parking and disabled access.”
Coun Jim Talbot for Hindley ward said: “The meeting was very constructive and some understanding and common ground was found.
“Although we cannot comment on the legal issue at this moment, it does appear there has been some progress on the issue of the car park.”
The Friends of Hindley Station say the matter has been rumbling on for several years and it has floated an alternative solution which it says could break the current impasse.
Group chairman Jim Ellis said: “We have been trying to get that car park open now for four years. To be brutally frank, there has been no progress.
“TfGM and Network Rail have at least now acknowledged our alternative entry point for the car park.
“There are basically two proposals here. One is to have the entrance to the left of the existing gates, and ours is to have it to the right.
“I think eventually they are going to have to put a separate entrance in for the car park.
“What I would like to stress is that if we get this sorted out I, the rest of the people at the station and the local residents will be highly delighted. Currently the situation is horrendous.
“People are even parking right down in the centre of Hindley to use the station.”
Ms Fovargue has called another meeting for June to discuss progress.