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Growth Track 360 calls for Union Connectivity Review

Growth Track 360 calls for Union Connectivity Review to recommend coordinated cross-border transport investment benefitting Wales and England.

Local authority leaders from North Wales, the Wirral and Cheshire West and Chester in the Growth Track 360 partnership have made a joint submission to the UK Government’s Union Connectivity Review being led by Sir Peter Hendy. 

The submission advocates investment in: 

  • The East – West North Wales Coastal Corridor embracing the North Wales Coast Mainline railway and the A55 and A494 roads which connect to the UK’s national networks at Chester; 
  • The North-South Corridor of the A483/A5 roads from Chester to Shrewsbury and the English Midlands and its associated railway - this corridor frequently crosses the border between England and Wales; and 
  • Local road and rail networks to enable a North Wales Metro based on rail hubs connected to employment and residential areas by integrated bus services and active travel corridors. 

Growth Track 360 supports the delivery of UK strategic rail schemes to connect the area’s communities in Wales and England to: 

  • HS2 at a Crewe Hub Station with a Crewe North Connection;
  • Northern Powerhouse Rail and HS2 at a Warrington Bank Quay interchange; and
  • Central Manchester and Manchester Airport. 

In addition, the submission argues for improved ferry links between both Holyhead and Birkenhead with Northern Ireland to bring about greater connectivity faster than a fixed link from Scotland. 

Growth Track 360 Chair, Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council and Vice Chair, Councillor Ian Roberts, Leader of Flintshire in November urged the Chancellor to “seize the opportunity to strengthen the Union, generate inclusive economic growth, promote sustainable transport and reduce carbon emissions” through investments in cross-border rail modernisation schemes in North Wales, the Wirral and Cheshire. 

Councillor Gittins said: “There is no time to lose in improving the connectivity of our cross-border powerhouse region with the rest of the UK if we are to see the fastest possible economic recovery from Covid-19 and to make the most of new international trading landscape.” 

Councillor Roberts said: “We are urging Sir Peter Hendy to recommend new and faster methods for delivering transport investment in our region which spans two of the four nations of the UK and whose transport infrastructure has fallen between too many separate processes.”

  1. The full Growth Track 360 submission to the Union Connectivity Review may be viewed here:  https://cogitamus.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/UCR.Response.V2.11Jan21.pdf
  2. Growth Track 360 is a public-private partnership established in 2016 uniting North Wales, the Wirral and Cheshire West and Chester. Its goal is improving cross-border transport connectivity with specific emphasis on rail.
  3. Growth Track 360 works closely with key stakeholders, their policies and objectives including the Welsh Government, Transport for the North, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, Mersey Dee Alliance, North Wales Economic Ambition Board, Transport for Wales, the West and Wales Transport Forum and the private sector.
  4. On 30 June 2020, the Prime Minister announced a review into Union connectivity, exploring ways to improve links between the 4 UK nations and bring forward funding to accelerate infrastructure projects. Terms of reference were announced by the UK Secretary of State for Transport in October here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/union-connectivity-review-terms-of-reference/union-connectivity-review-terms-of-reference.An interim report is expected this month with final recommendations in the summer.

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