Chancellor urged to re-open Colne to Skipton railway

County Coun. Azhar Ali (s)
County Coun. Azhar Ali (s)
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A Pendle county councillor has written to the Chancellor urging him to consider re-opening a railway line which has been closed for decades.

County Coun. Azhar Ali has written to the Chancellor Of The Exchequer Philip Hammond MP asking him to invest in the Colne to Skipton line which has been closed since 1970.

Chancellor Philip Hammond. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Chancellor Philip Hammond. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Mr Hammond is due to deliver his first Autumn statement as Chancellor on Wednesday, November 23rd.

County Coun. Ali is hoping that an indication of increased investment in infrastructure by Theresa May’s government could signal new promise in reconnecting the Red Rose and White Rose counties by rail.

In the letter, he writes: “You have indicated that you will focus on investing in infrastructure rather than deliver balanced books by 2020.

“In the light of the government’s change in policy could I propose that your consider investing in the re-opening of the Colne to Skipton line.

“The trackbed has been protected by Lancashire County Council and neighbouring North Yorkshire County Council. The re-opening of this line would not only create thousands of jobs but would also allow the only direct connection to link Hull to Liverpool for freight.

“Furthermore, it would open up a new economic corridor linking Lancashire to Yorkshire and creating direct train journeys to Manchester and Merseyside.

“This scheme is estimated to cost around £150 million and has support of local authorities.

“If the Northern Powerhouse is to be more than a slogan it needs not only to connect Leeds to Manchester but enable areas like Lancashire and North Yorkshire cities like Leeds to be prioritised for infra-structure investment.”

County Coun. Ali said: “The Chancellor has stated many times that he will not balance the books by 2020 like his predecessor Osborne but will look to invest in infrastructure projects.

“The government needs to invest in projects like the re-opening of the Colne to Skipton line and improve rolling stock to ensure the Northern Powerhouse is more than a slogan and doesn’t become the Northern Workhouse.

“It’s about time this Conservative government shifted resources from London and the South East to infrastructure projects in to East Lancashire.

“The re-opening of Colne line would create thousands of jobs and help improve job security for local communities.

“All I am asking for is a fair deal for East Lancashire and our people.”