BUSINESSES and residents across Cheshire and Warrington are being urged to have their say on a new transport strategy for the region designed to boost economic growth over the next 20 years.
For the next 12 weeks Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is consulting on its draft Transport Strategy setting out how transport provision within the region should develop to help create a £50bn a year economy by 2040.
Working with Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester and Warrington councils, the LEP has identified the strategic transport priorities that will be essential for achieving Cheshire and Warrington’s growth plan.
Cheshire and Warrington is already well connected, sitting at the heart of the strategic road network and is well placed in relation to the strategic rail network. A number of key rail hubs, including Chester, Warrington and Crewe provide access to the West Coast Mainline linking the sub region with services to London and Scotland. The region also benefits from proximity to a number of key international gateways including Manchester and Liverpool Airports and the Port of Liverpool.
However, connectivity varies within the sub region, with lower levels of accessibility in some rural and intermediate areas, while it suffers from significant peak period congestion on the highway network and infrequent and slow local rail services.
The draft Transport Strategy identifies the transport investments needed to accommodate an increase in demand. The strategy also seeks to make the best use of existing networks with targeted improvements to:
- improve road access to key developments;
- tackle congestion pinch points;
- ensure frequent HS2 services call at Crewe;
- enhance regional rail services to maximise connectivity to HS2 and key rail hub stations;
- ensure enhanced connectivity through Northern Powerhouse Rail;
- and improve local transport including bus services.
Pete Waterman, chair of the Local Transport Body, said: “Ours is already an outstanding economy and we consistently punch above our weight, but we need to go further and faster to reach our true potential.
“Our Strategic Economic Plan (SEP), sets out an ambitious growth strategy building upon the existing strengths of the sub-region and the dynamic opportunities in key economic corridors and plans for future investment and development.
“The prize to be won is great, thousands of new jobs and homes, improved productivity, doubling the size of our economy and enhancing Cheshire and Warrington as an attractive, aspirational and successful place.
“Most people in the region already believe that transport is a key issue. A good transport system enables businesses to reach markets and access skills and talent and it allows residents to reach jobs, education, shops and services. I’d like to encourage everyone to look at the strategy, tell us what they think to ensure that together we deliver what our communities and businesses need.”
The draft strategy also supports Transport for the North’s wider plans to transform economic growth and support increased transport demands across the North of England and North Wales. It has recently concluded the consultation on its draft Strategic Transport Plan for the North, with the West and Wales Strategic Development Corridor a key priority for investment.
The consultation closes on Monday 6 August and people can share their views with the consultation by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Draft Transport Strategy can be found at: http://www.871candwep.co.uk/resources/draft-transport-strategy/