Lancashire Liberal Democrat peer Lord Tony Greaves has lambasted the new Strategic Transport Plan for the North of England for being too city-centric and for ignoring the county's smaller settlements.
Having criticised it for being “based on the seven or eight largest cities in the north," Lord Greaves went on to query the Government on their support for the plan, to which the junior transport Minister in the Lords, Baroness Sugg, said that the Government have committed up to £260 million for TfN to establish itself, to develop the business case for Northern Powerhouse Rail, and to implement smart ticketing across the north of England.
Despite Lord Greaves insisting that "it has very little to say about what I would call the areas at the edges and the places in between, smaller towns, and rural areas,” the Conservative Minister added that the plan “actually includes strategic development corridors that cover the whole of the north and the central Pennines area.”
Speaking following a recent meeting with officials from Transport for the North, Lord Greaves added: "[Transport for the North] believe their proposals will cost around £70 billion at today’s prices. I think this is a real underestimation and I fear there will as usual be nothing left for areas like much of Lancashire and Cumbria once the main new intercity railways and roads have been built between Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester, and Liverpool.”
The Strategic Plan is open for consultation between now and mid April.