West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has welcomed the Government’s response to her call for funding for Skelmersdale Railway Station.
Following the General Election, during which the Prime Minister promised the funding, MP Rosie wrote directly to Boris Johnson asking for further detail on his announcement and how the Skelmersdale project can access the money it needs to come to fruition.
The Transport Minister Chris Heaton-Harris MP has replied on behalf of the Government to confirm that £500m has been pledged to start reopening lines closed following the Beeching report, reconnecting smaller towns, regenerating local economies and improving access to jobs, homes and education.
Mr Heaton Harris’ letter states:
“We anticipate that part of the £500m funding will be used to accelerate the development of schemes that are already being considered.”
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper commented:
“The Minister tells me that further details on the funding will be announced soon, and I continue to press him for the detail on when exactly this will be and when we can get on with the next stage of the project here in Skelmersdale. He has committed to speaking with Lancashire County Council once they are ready to present the business case and secure the money. I will meet Lancashire County Council this week to progress this further.
“I met with the Transport Secretary and Minister on Tuesday (4 February) where they reiterated that funding for stations would be made available, and that Burscough Curves would also be considered.
“I am clear that I will hold the Prime Minister to his promise.
“I have taken every opportunity to lobby Ministers, ask questions in Parliament and make the case for a railway station in Skelmersdale.
“Many Skelmersdale residents feel isolated and forgotten. They think the railway station would never be built – but with plans already well advanced and after the Prime Minister’s announcement it’s a lot closer!
“A railway station in the heart of Skelmersdale will open up a world of economic and social opportunities for the town and its residents.
“It is inconceivable that in the 21st Century, a town with a population of 38,000, is served only by infrequent buses and where residents who don’t own cars can’t easily go about their daily lives, work, shop or enjoy visits to theatres and cinemas in nearby towns such as Liverpool and Manchester. This railway station will mean that West Lancashire constituents will no longer be isolated from 21st Century Britain.”