THE route earmarked for the £34 billion HS2 high-speed railway line from London to Manchester would bulldoze its way through Lowton and over Leigh Golf Club course.
This week the Government announced its preferred route for the new railway line – where trains can reach 225mph – and left Lowton stunned.
Leigh MP Andy Burnham, below, described the news as ‘a total bombshell for Lowton’.
Yet Makerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue welcomed the news.
She said: “Faster journey times, job creation, economic benefits to Greater Manchester plus extra capacity on the rail network are a real boost for the north west and I welcome the announcement.”
Mr Burnham said: “For Wigan it is a very big thing but the disruption is at this end. Lowton is being carved up yet again getting all of the hassle and none of the benefits.
“At first sign the plan is unacceptable. As far as I can see the line goes over the golf course at Culcheth then over the Liverpool-Manchester railway at Kenyon.”
The route then follows the former Glazebrook-Wigan line under the East Lancashire Road and tunnels take it under Newton Road at the top of Pocket Nook Lane where the Lowton St Mary’s station used to be. The track re-emerges near Lowton Civic Hall, skirts Dover Lock at Abram and joins the West Coast Mainline at Bamfurlong then on to Wigan.
Mr Burnham added: “The first implication is that it leaves Wigan’s Core Strategy for development in tatters. As it stands it is fundamentally flawed.”
Leigh Golf Club members are understandably concerned about the HS2 route.
Speaking from the club’s base at Broseley Lane, Culcheth, club secretary Tony O’Neill said: “We are very concerned. The first impression is that it certainly affects two or three holes. The club council will be meeting to discuss the situation.”
Lowton East Clr James Cowley said: “I want to assure residents that I am going to be working with Andy Burnham on these proposals. I personally thought they would branch it on to the West Coast line further south.”
Clr Pam Gilligan added: “I will work with my colleagues locally and with Andy Burnham to mitigate the impact of the proposals for the people of Lowton.”
Plans show a rolling stock depot at Slag Lane which would provide a jobs boost which has been welcomed by Wigan Council leader Lord Peter Smith.