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 Merseytram Statement - October 2013

Merseytram Statement - October 2013

Published on 25/10/2013
The Merseytram project has been formally closed down at this week’s meeting of the Merseyside Integrated Transport Authority.

Members of the Authority had already agreed in August to remove the project as one of Merseytravel’s policy aspirations, on the basis that it was no longer viable.

However, the Members had asked that city region organisations and businesses should be consulted on the decision. Consultation has now taken place, and no objections were received to the proposed close-down.

Final steps will now be taken to remove references to the project from the Local Transport Plan.

A report earlier this year said there was no realistic prospect of Government funding being available to complete the project, which started in 2002, when the Department for Transport indicated £170m would be available for the £402m tram scheme, which featured a proposed line running from Liverpool to Kirkby. The offer of funding was withdrawn in 2005.

Cllr Liam Robinson, Chair of Merseytravel, said: “This brings the project to a formal close, and – while it’s disappointing that Merseytram is no longer viable - I’m sure that other projects in the pipeline will bring real benefits to the City Region. One project which will benefit the Kirkby area in particular is the redesign of the town’s bus station – scheduled for next year. In addition, the Liverpool City Region have just been successful with a DfT “Better Bus Area” bid worth £2.6m, elements of which will be delivered in Kirkby.”

Track

The tonnage of steel bought was equivalent to approximately 18.5km of single line rail or approximately 9.25km of twin line track. We’ll be doing a condition check on it which will help inform any subsequent valuation, and ultimately what we do with it. Whatever decision we take will be the one that best serves the public purse. We aren’t incurring any costs for its storage.

Compensation

For compensation claims to progress there has to be evidence that the property has been ‘blighted’ by a Notice to Treat. To date there have only been a handful of cases that have progressed and been settled on this basis- settlements that total in the thousands not the millions.

As part of the formal legal process we’ve contacted all property owners potentially affected by the CPO process and await any further claims and evidence that come in. Any compensation awarded will be on a case by case basis and take into account such factors as impact on the property and any losses incurred.

NB: Power to possess land under the order lapsed on 10 Feb 2013- three years after the serving of the NTTs as no further steps were taken to acquire the land and those rights prior to that date. This effectively ended all realistic chance of Line 1 being implemented. NTTS were the first step in the compulsory acquisition of land and rights, so that scheme could be implemented should funding become available in future.

The future

While we’re looking to improve local bus provision for Knowsley to help improve on the connectivity that the tram may have brought, there are also wider city region projects that should look to benefit all areas.

Triggered by the transformation HS2 could bring, we’re looking to develop a rail strategy to ensure that the overarching vision for improved capacity and connectivity in the Liverpool City Region is shared across all rail projects such as HS2, Rail in the North devolution and modernised rolling stock for Merseyrail. A strategy for rail and road freight will also be part of this.

In relation to bus travel we’re looking at the wider network and such elements as how to make it more affordable, particularly for young people.