BUSINESS people delivered a clear message to Leigh MP Andy Burnham that improved transport links are vital for the town’s future economic growth.

They met Mr Burnham at a Leigh Business Forum meeting organised by ProCo NW supported by the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce.

The importance of better transport connections for Leigh dominated the session, with businesses expressing reservations about the planned Leigh guided bus way, which some felt would simply add to traffic congestion on roads out of the town. Businesses brought up the question of reconsidering the idea of a train station for Leigh, highlighting how this would not only help to improve connectivity and attract businesses in to the town but also would benefit young people in the borough who are looking to take advantage of the employment opportunities in the Greater Manchester region.

Responding Mr Burnham said despite overwhelming public rejection of the guided bus way, plans were in place to pass this. He suggested that without having another suggestion in place, to reject the busway would be scandalous as it would be 15-20 years before anything else would take its place and asked for the group to make suggestions as to what Leigh could fight for within reason.

The overwhelming consensus from the meeting was that the town needs a train station and the group agreed to look at doing some research into potential costs and launching a campaign to canvas views of local residents and the business community.

Dr Brian Sloan, Head of Business and Economic Policy at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Leigh Business Forum event is a valuable opportunity for Chamber members to put the voice of business direct to their local MP.

"The Chamber enjoys a great relationship with Andy and together we have been keen to ensure the success of this forum to further promote economic development in the town. Together we will be taking forward the issues raised at this meeting, particularly in relation to transport to national policymakers.”

Anyone wanting to join this forum should contact Donna Hampshire at ProCo NW on 01942 488500 to register interest.