#Roads & Transport
Lord Peter Smith, Leader of Wigan Council
United Kingdom

It is a well known fact that Leigh became one of the largest towns in Europe without a Railway Station when the old lines where removed decades ago. A community organisation called Transport for Leigh (www.transportforleigh.org.uk) who are made up of a mix of volunteers from Leigh intend to change this and need your support to make it happen.

Over the past decade Wigan Council has considered various options to enhance the chronic state of transport infrastructure in Leigh. The current poor level of accessibility and connectivity has been holding back the economic regeneration of the town greatly and limiting opportunities for people in Leigh. Wigan Council have currently settled on supporting a £76 million scheme called the Leigh – Salford – Manchester Guided Busway as their next big thing and it looks like this could be going ahead.

TFL believe that what the town actually wants is to see a Rail Link brought back to Leigh and to actually get cars off the road. TFL are therefore in the process of gauging the level of support for a full investigation into and development of a Rail initiative to take place that will enable submissions to occur to secure future rounds of transport funding within Greater Manchester for pedestrian rail in Leigh. On the back of this TFL in late 2010 asked Stobbart Rail, who install railway infrastructure, to price up a railway station in Leigh out of interest – it came in at only £52million which was far less than the £130million quoted by Wigan Council and GMPTE historically.

At TFL’s first major public meeting in February 2011 over 200 people packed into a small room to hear more about TFL and what we have been doing. With little marketing this huge turnout was impressive and demonstrated the huge determination from the town to speak out on this issue. Unsurprisingly all were in favour of developing a Railway project aimed at getting Leigh back on the national rail network and easing the huge level of car congestion on local roads, the main commuter routes into Manchester and beyond whilst also unlocking future regeneration in Leigh and helping local businesses grow. For clarity this is not an initiative aimed at moving any industrial heavy goods into or out of Leigh. It is aimed at a rail solution solely for commuters and leisure travellers to connect them directly to the Manchester - Liverpool rail line and beyond.

The intention of running a petition is to demonstrate to Wigan Council, GMPTE, Local Councillors and Leigh MP Andy Burnham exactly what the town wants for its future on the topic of transport investment and importantly to do it with one voice. Many people feel that historically the Council have not undertaken this type of real public engagement and have gone along unchecked. If the whole town speaks out jointly the Council will need to work with TFL and the community to make this happen.

We the undersigned call on Wigan Council to fully investigate, support, and progress Railway options for Leigh in conjunction with Transport for Leigh.

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The Reconnect Leigh To The National Railway Network petition to Lord Peter Smith, Leader of Wigan Council was written by Transport for Leigh and is in the category Roads & Transport at GoPetition.