Labour Group's call for cross-party support to reopen Leyland, Chorley, and Fleetwood railway stations

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A cross-party call has been issued to reopen major Chorley, Leyland, and Fleetwood railway hubs.

The Lancashire County Council Labour Group is calling for Coppull railway station to be reopened, as well as Midge Hall in Leyland and Fleetwood, as part of calls to expand the county’s rail network.

Lancashire County Coun Kim Snape and campaigner Lucienne Jackson

Lancashire County Coun Kim Snape and campaigner Lucienne Jackson

County Coun Kim Snape said: “This is important for the people’s future, economically and environmentally, which all makes sense.”

At the county council budget meeting's two weeks ago, Coun Snape tabled a defeated amendment to commission feasibility studies into reopening all three stations.

Coun Snape said: “Despite the fact that the Conservatives voted this down I got the feeling that everyone in the Chamber supported the development of Midge Hall Station, Back on Track in Fleetwood and Coppull Station. These projects take years to develop and politicians will come and go but our communities we serve are here to stay.”

While nothing was explicitly said at the meeting regarding Coppull, it was noted that a Midge Hall feasibility study had already been commissioned last year and that a cost analysis for one at Fleetwood would be undertaken.

Lancashire County Couns Keith Iddon and Michael Green along with South Ribble Coun Mary Green

Lancashire County Couns Keith Iddon and Michael Green along with South Ribble Coun Mary Green

Coun Snape added: “At next week’s full council meeting I will be asking the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport to work with us to develop the Midge Hall Train Station to begin cross party work to enable Lancashire to become a council that delivers for the people we all serve.

“This will hopefully be the start of a cooperation that will build on our agreements and not divide us over the differences. Not only for Midge Hall but also Back on Track in Fleetwood and Coppull Railway Station.”

Conservative County Coun Michael Green, who represents Moss Side and Farington in Leyland, said reopening Midge Hall would benefit “thousands of residents”.

Coun Green added: “I have been campaigning for 16 years to get the station at Midge Hall re-opened.

“I have therefore lobbied hard with South Ribble Council, potential developers on the nearby former test track site and with Lancashire County Council for the re-opening of the station to be considered properly.”

A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: “A study is currently being carried out to explore the feasibility of reopening Midge Hall Railway Station and we will consider the next steps once we receive the report in a few weeks’ time.

“A feasibility study for Coppull Railway Station was completed in 2015, which concluded that there would be significant challenges to delivering a station within the current track configuration.

“A third track would be needed to avoid disruption to services on the busy West Coast Main Line, so a scheme focused solely on reopening the station would be prohibitively expensive.”

Leader of the county council, Coun Geoff Driver, said: “It is a great pity that some county councillors seem more intent on promoting their own interests rather than those of the residents they were elected to serve and I am sure the people of South Ribble will recognise that County Coun Snape is simply trying to claim credit for something that was underway long before she became involved.”