Report on Link Road Funding for Talgo Train Factory Fails to Tell the Full Story
On 18th October St Helens Star announced that Liverpool Combined Authority were close to approving £24M of funding for the Parkside Link Road on the basis it would help support a bid for a new train factory. What they omitted to highlight was that the proposed factory is the subject of a tender involving 5 other locations in the UK (see Railway Gazette article 9th October). The Gazette article provides an insight into others optimism for alternative locations. For example, ‘The Welsh government’s Cabinet Secretary for Economy & Transport Ken Skates said he was ‘hopeful’ that Talgo would choose Mostyn, adding that north-east Wales had a ‘huge amount’ to offer.’
In addition, it appears Talgo’s decision on whether to build a factory at all is dependent on a decision for HS2 Phase 1 rolling stock and we all know how well that project is going!
Our own view is that Talgo is just a means to an end for St Helens Council. Talgo provides a short-term solution to gaining funding approval in Liverpool and an attempt to gain public support.
The Link Road planning application itself has not progressed having inadequate traffic assessments that failed to show the true impacts on the local road network and air quality in the area. We believe that actually the Link Road is all about opening accessibility to the land around Parkside, including the open country side around Winwick close to the motorway that is just inside St Helen’s boundary. More big shed territory.
The Phase 1 Parkside planning application also yet to be approved has no provision for manufacturing at all.
The Star also failed to mention the additional £8M of public funding that is part of the Council’s business case for the Link Road. Remember that folks when you see the next round of cuts in Council services.
Warrington Objects to the Phase 1 Planning Application
On the 6th June the Phase 1 planning application came before Warrington Development Management Committee (DMC). PAG along with many of its members and other groups only became aware of the date of the meeting a few days before. Nevertheless, a strong response was mounted with several written statements submitted before the meeting, and people speaking at the meeting itself in objection to the proposal. We are pleased to say that the committee recognised the weight of public opinion and voted to object to the application.
Warrington traffic officers also raised concerns over the traffic assessment and associated air quality impacts which are areas that PAG also highlighted in their response. We know that this is only one victory in a larger campaign with many other challenges yet to come, but it certainly adds further weight for the overall scheme to be referred to the secretary of state.
For background to the Phase 1 and Link Road planning applications please see our supporting pages below.