I've talked many times about how good quality transport is essential to our area, and in this Roundup I have three significant projects to update you on.
Firstly, just a few weeks ago the Longdendale councillors and I hosted a visit by Transport Minister Andrew Jones MP to Hollingworth to discuss the Longdendale Bypass. I was very grateful for all the local residents who turned out to put our case firmly but fairly too. The present situation is that the Mottram leg of the Bypass has been approved, and work should start in 2018/2019. The formal route consultation is set to begin in 2017, but I have requested it commence this year. In addition, I wanted to show the Minister the need for the Bypass to also cover Hollingworth, and ask when will a decision on this part be made? I am looking forward to the Minister's formal response, but I think he enjoyed his visit.
Secondly, my long-term aspiration to see a new tunnel built under the Pennines received a major boost this week when it became a key proposal in Transport for the North's plans. Frankly, people used to think I was joking when I said we should explore this. But a major tunnel under the Pennines connecting Greater Manchester with South Yorkshire would be an incredible stimulus to our area. Yes it’s ambitious - but I say we're worthy of that ambition. London and the South East get this kind of funding, and so should we.
Finally, I have just finished a stint on the Public Bill Committee for the first phase of HS2. The first phase connects London and Birmingham, then it will be extended to Crewe, before the final stage ps of the 'Y axis' is built to Manchester Airport and Manchester City Centre (on our side). HS2 is about providing sufficient capacity on our railways (not shorter journey times, though that's a plus), and I am convinced it is essential. For once in the UK, we are actually sorting out an infrastructure problem before it becomes acute. I see a future whereby HS2 in Manchester intersects with a High speed rail line running from Liverpool to Hull, through Tameside and under our new tunnel to then connect with HS2 in South Yorkshire.
Tameside would then be at the heart of an incredible transport network - just where we belong.