Monday, 27 June 2011

The Todmorden Curve is well on track, pardon the pun, for a scheduled opening around October 2013. All the local MP's have taken their turns to ensure the issue is kept alive with ministers on the floor of the commons. Last week it was the turn of Andrew Stephenson MP (Pendle).
Andrew Stephenson (Pendle) (Con): Will my right hon. Friend update the House on what progress has been made on the reopening of the Todmorden curve, which will provide a faster rail route between East Lancashire and Manchester?

Mrs Villiers: I am very much aware of the potential benefits of that project in helping to regenerate an area that is heavily dependent on public sector jobs. For precisely those reasons, it would be an impressive candidate for funding from the regional growth fund. I understand that the local authorities are working on that at the moment. I pay tribute to the work done by those in Burnley and on Lancashire county council on getting the project moving. My officials stand ready, and are indeed working with the local authorities, to see how we might be able to help to take things forward. This is primarily a local matter, but there is the real prospect of a successful RGF bid.
As your MP this is possibly the top priority. It has the potential to transform this area, Accrington town centre and the conservation area around the train station providing cheap handy quality accommodation for Manchester commuters. The Council must plan to take advantage and market this new opportunity. The journey time will be 42mins to Manchester Victoria which is to receive a major make over.