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Railhub Archive
1996-09-26 DoT-001
Department of Transport


Watts announces planning approval for return of trams to Eccles

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Department of Transport

Watts announces planning approval for return of trams to Eccles

26 September 1996
source Department of Transport
type Press release

note 303

Local Transport Minister John Watts today announced planning approval
for an extension to the Manchester Metrolink from Salford Quays to
Eccles Town Centre. Construction of the extension will now depend on
funds becoming available.

The extension of the successful Metrolink system would provide direct
services between Eccles, Weaste, Salford Quays and central
Manchester, including a link to the proposed Lowry Centre for Visual
and Performing Arts.

The scheme was examined at a public inquiry last October and the
Secretary of State has accepted the Inspector's conclusion that the
extension to Eccles would bring significant regeneration,
environmental and public transport improvements. He has therefore
decided to make an Order under the Transport and Works Act 1992 to
authorise the scheme.

In welcoming this decision, John Watts said:

"The decision to give powers for the Eccles extension opens up
another opportunity for the public and private sectors to work
together under Government's Private Finance Initiative."


1. Part I of the Transport and Works Act 1992, which came into force
in January 1993, established a new system for considering and
approving railway, tramway and other development schemes that had
previously been subject to private Bill procedure. The new
procedures mean that such schemes can be authorised by an Order made
by the Secretary of State instead of by an Act of Parliament.

2. The existing Greater Manchester light rail system, known as
Metrolink, is 30.9 km (19.2 miles) long and runs between Bury to the
North and Altrincham to the South. The system is owned by Greater
Manchester Passenger Transport Executive (GMPTE) but is operated by
Greater Manchester Metro Limited, which is itself owned by a private
sector consortium, the GMA group, comprising GEC-Alsthom, Mowlem,
AMEC, Greater Manchester Roadcar Co. Ltd and the GMPTE.

3. The GMPTE applied to the Secretary of State in April 1995 for
powers to construct an extension to the Metrolink system from
Broadway at Salford Quays to Eccles Town Centre - a distance of 3.3
km (about two miles) - and a 0.5 km (about 0.3 miles) spur from
Broadway to the proposed Lowry Centre. (The link between Salford
Quays and the existing system was authorised by Parliament in 1990
but has not yet been built.) The project will involve the carrying
out of street works, the installation of overhead wires, the stopping
up of certain streets and other related works. The cost of the
extension from the existing system to Eccles is estimated at #110
million. The construction of the extension would take about two

4. The GMPTE's application was considered at a public inquiry from
24 October to 2 November 1995 conducted by an independent Inspector,
Mr R G Brown. None of those who had objected to the application
appeared or were represented at the inquiry. In his Report to the
Secretary of State, the Inspector concluded that the advantages of
providing the Eccles extension were so overwhelming that this Order
should be made. The Secretary of State has agreed with that

5. Following the issuing today of the Secretary of State's decision
letter, a notice of the decision will be published in the London
Gazette. The Order will be formally made shortly after that, at which
time a direction as to deemed planning permission will also be given
by the Secretary of State to the GMPTE.

6. The GMPTE intends to implement this scheme and the Salford Quays
extension as a single project under the Government's Private Finance
Initiative. Funding is being sought from a combination of private
sector contributions, an operator's concession payment and public
grant. With the decision to authorise the Eccles extension, the
GMPTE can now finalise its funding package and confirm its
application for a grant from the Department of Transport as part of
its 1997 Transport Policies and Programme bid. The decision on this
will be announced towards the end of the year.

7. A public inquiry into the proposed extension of the Metrolink
system from Trafford Bar to Manchester Airport, including a loop back
to Southmoor Road via Wythenshawe, also took place last year. The
Secretary of State is considering the Inspector's Report of that
inquiry and hopes to make his decision on that application in October
or November.

8. Further details of the Metrolink extension to Eccles can be
obtained from the GMPTE, 9 Portland Street, Piccadilly Gardens,
Manchester M60 1HX or their Parliamentary Agents, Messrs Dyson Bell
Martin, 1 Dean Farrar Street, Westminster, London SW1H 0DY.

# = pounds sterling

Railhub Archive ::: 1996-09-26 DoT-001


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