News Article

Local authorities push for cross-border rail funding

18 February 2021

Local authorities have redoubled efforts to convince Chancellor Rishi Sunak to support projects such as a new Deeside Parkway station and the modernisation of Chester’s station in the Budget Statement on 3rd March.

Prior to the Spending Review in November, local authority leaders from North Wales, the Wirral and Cheshire West & Chester in the public-private Growth Track 360 partnership had urged Chancellor Rishi Sunak for a £20m development fund to enable progress across key projects.

One of these projects is Chester’s overhaul, fitting in with the development of the Chester City Gateway plans being advanced by CWAC in partnership with Network Rail and London Continental Railways.

Growth Track 360 intends to apply through the Levelling Up Fund announced by Sunak, which will provide seed-corn local infrastructure investment for England in £20m lots; but due to its cross-border asks, said it believes direct intervention by Sunak is the best way to advance its projects.

CWAC leader Cllr Louise Gittins, who chairs Growth Track 360, said: “Cheshire and the Wirral are situated at the western periphery of the North of England with important economic ties to North Wales.

“This means that the Mersey-Dee region can be overlooked in transport planning for the North of England which centres on the trans-Pennine corridor.

“We already make a big contribution to the UK economy and can do even more with the right investment now.”

Growth Track 360 vice chair Cllr Ian Roberts, leader of Flintshire Council, added: “The Mersey-Dee region is a high priority area for rail improvement by the Welsh Government.

“However, rail infrastructure investment is still a UK Government responsibility.  This means we need the Chancellor to take the lead in empowering infrastructure investment on both sides of the border.”

(via Place North West)