LEIGH'S MP has said he "strongly supports" the controversial decision to scrap the northern leg of HS2, which can instead be spent on "popular local transport projects".

As widely reported yesterday (October 4), Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that the new high speed railway line would end in Birmingham, rather than travelling through Manchester as was discussed for the best part of a decade.

As the HS2 project's cost had "more than doubled", Mr Sunak told the Conservative party conference that the government would instead reinvest "every single penny, £36 billion, in hundreds of new transport projects in the North and the Midlands, across the country".

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Leigh Journal: Rishi Sunak announced the decision at the Conservative Party Conference in ManchesterRishi Sunak announced the decision at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester (Image: PA)
With high speed rail aimed to improve connectivity across the country and free up space on the existing railway, Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said there was "frustration and anger" about the decision to scrap the northern leg of high speed rail.

Mr Burnham said: "It always seems that people here where I live and where I kind of represent can be treated as second class citizens when it comes to transport.

"It just proves there's still so many people in politics, many of them in the Tory party, that think they can treat the north of England differently to the way they treat other parts of the country it's just so wrong."

Leigh Journal: Andy Burnham had previously rallied with other metro mayors to try and save the northern legAndy Burnham had previously rallied with other metro mayors to try and save the northern leg (Image: PA)

However, Leigh's Conseravtive MP James Grundy said that he "strongly supports" the governments decision to scrap the "costly and unpopular" high speed rail plan.

He said that this will benefit local residents with funding for a Metrolink line to Leigh, a new bypass to Wigan, and improved rail services to Manchester and Liverpool.

Leigh Journal: James Grundy said he strongly supports the PM's decisionJames Grundy said he strongly supports the PM's decision (Image: James Grundy MP)

Mr Grundy said: "I strongly support the decision by the Prime Minister to scrap HS2 north of Birmingham, and that the money will be repurposed for new schemes such as bringing Metrolink to Leigh instead, which I called for in my very first speech to Parliament.

"This was the right decision, and Metrolink will bring huge benefits to our borough.

"I also strongly welcome the news that £12 billion will be invested in improving rail connections from Liverpool to Manchester and on to Leeds, and I will be reiterating my calls for Leigh to regain our railway station as part of that process, at Kenyon Junction immediately south of where the Atherleigh Way bypass currently ends, on the Manchester to Liverpool line.

"I also welcome funding for a new bypass between Leigh and Wigan, which will greatly reduce congestion in the north of the town of Leigh.

"HS2 was costly and unpopular, and delivered nothing for my constituents in Leigh, most of whom commute to Manchester and Liverpool and not London.

"Those who do commute to London mostly travel from Warrington, which would have seen services cut when HS2 was completed.

"Having personally experienced the disruption and economic uncertainty HS2 brought to communities affected by the proposed route, and having stood shoulder to shoulder with thousands of local residents who would have been affected in Lowton and Golborne over the last decade, the long nightmare of HS2 is finally over, and I thank local residents again for their unwavering support.

"I feel fully vindicated in my long standing opposition to the white elephant that was HS2, and I am delighted that the money will now be used to fund popular local transport projects instead."