Re-opening of Heywood station part of ammended TIF proposals

Date published: 27 October 2008

The re-opening of Heywood train station on the East Lancashire line is part of the revised proposals for the transport improvements that will come as part of the Transport Innovation Fund bid, if it is passed in next month's referendum.

The revised proposals, which also include lower bus fares and the extension of the Metrolink into Rochdale town centre, are revealed in papers which will be presented to the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) on Friday this week.

The proposals are for a £3billion investment in Greater Manchester’s transport system, part funded by a weekday, peak time-only congestion charge., will be presented to Council leaders on Friday (31 October).

Lis Phelan, Chairman of The Yes Campaign, has welcomed the enhanced transport package.

She said: “Lower bus fares, an enhanced Metrolink proposal and the reopening of Heywood station is the news that commuters in Rochdale and Heywood have been waiting for.”

“The combination of the fares cap, simpler tickets and lower fares for low paid workers will be a huge benefit for bus passengers. This will make a real difference to the household budgets of many families in the borough.

“I am delighted to see that a Yes vote will also bring Heywood station back into use as a commuter station. This is a real boost to the town.”

However, Jim Dobbin, MP for Heywood and Middleton, remains critical of the TIF bid.

"There is nothing in it for Heywood and Middleton at all. If you look at the original map that the authorities drew up to show the proposals, Heywood does not even exist. I will be voting 'no' in the referendum and I want to get that across in Heywood and Middleton. There is nothing in it at all.

"If we accept the proposals the congestion charge will come in and motorists will not benefit one iota."

The leader of the Council, Councillor Alan Taylor, and Heywood Councillor Peter Rush say that their pressure to get Heywood Station included in the national rail network has paid off.

Councillor Taylor said: "Three weeks ago I wrote a strongly worded letter to Sir Howard Bernstein making it clear to him that my support for the TIF proposals depended on significant improvement in transport for the whole of our Borough, not just Rochdale. This included the linking up of Heywood Station to the national Rail network and I am delighted to see that the pressure paid off. We want to see the development of Heywood with new businesses and new jobs and I believe that major investment in our transport is the best way to do this."

Heywood North Councillor Rush said: "I am truly excited at the prospect of linking Heywood Station to the national rail network. I am delighted to see that the proposed connection would run from Rawtenstall through Heywood to Manchester as this can only benefit our town further. This is exactly what I was pushing for in Heywood as part of our proposals. I warned our leader, Alan Taylor, that my support for the TIF Proposals depended on this inclusion and I thank him for his hard work on securing this promise for Heywood."

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