Today, Afzal Khan MP can announce that funding has been secured by Greater Manchester’s Transport Commissioner for developing priority rail station accessibility improvements at Levenshulme Station. After years of lobbying and campaigning by Mr Khan, Levenshulme Councillors, and the Friends of Levenshulme Station, plans will be developed for step-free access at Levenshulme and seven other rail stations as part of this announcement.
The Comprehensive Spending Review announcements made today by the Chancellor will include £1.07bn in capital funding for transport infrastructure in Greater Manchester. This is the largest amount secured by any city-region and is the outcome of Greater Manchester’s City Region Sustainable Transport Fund (CRSTS) bid, submitted to Government in September, equating to approximately 90% of the GMCA’s full proposal.
The funding secured by Greater Manchester is for the five-year period 2022/2023 to 2026/2027 and will be invested in supporting the delivery of the vital transport infrastructure as laid out in the Five Year Transport Delivery Plan (2021-2026) and required to deliver the Bee Network, Greater Manchester’s vision for a fully-integrated ‘London-style’ public transport network.
With buses, trams, cycling and walking all joined together as one network by 2024, and commuter rail incorporated by 2030, the Bee Network is set to transform how people travel in Greater Manchester. By transforming our transport, we will also be able to improve our health, our air quality and, by offering people an attractive alternative to the car, help GM to be net zero by 2038.
Afzal Khan MP said: “I am delighted that funding has finally been secured for improving accessibility at Levenshulme Station. It is unacceptable that in the 21st century, less than 60% of Greater Manchester’s train stations have step free access. That’s why alongside raising this issue with Ministers in Parliament, I have been working closely with the Friends of Levenshulme Station, disability rights groups, Network Rail, Northern, local councillors, and other stakeholders, over a number of years, to make accessibility improvements at rail stations across Manchester Gorton.
“Levenshulme station has the highest number of passengers of rail stations with stepped access within Greater Manchester, excluding Manchester Oxford Road, and is one of the is one of the main feeder stations to Manchester Piccadilly. A huge number of people will benefit from Levenshulme Station becoming accessible, particularly people with disabilities and young children, and I look forward to seeing the benefits of this investment for years to come.”
Transport Commissioner, Chris Boardman, added: “London has benefitted from amazing public transport for decades; now it’s Greater Manchester’s time. For one sixth of the cost of Crossrail, we will deliver phase one of our Bee Network plans by 2026 and make public transport a much cheaper, easier and more attractive alternative to the car.
“It’s not being melodramatic to say that our future prosperity depends on these plans. Happily, our public transport ambitions mirror those of national government and the levelling up agenda so we’re confident that the vision we’re putting forward for government funding will be successful. These are very exciting times for Greater Manchester and we stand ready to put this vision into action.”